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Witness from civil society

Blogginlägg   •   Sep 22, 2019 10:21 CEST

#ourstories

Today, the last residence permit application has been submitted for F. What a trip this is has been. For 5 years now I have been battling with tooth and nail for unaccompanied young refugees (under 18 years old). My whole family has been involved and we have been living in a state of emergency. Our confidence that the Swedish Authorities will make the right decisions has been eroded. Our belief in the political parties we have supported since ancient times has completely crashed. We are without political representation, each election is a torment, the only choice being to vote strategically but without conviction.

Then why do we do this? Why haven't we just invested in ourselves?

It is not because these young people are smarter than other young people, it is not because they are better than other young people. They are just like all young people, they make fools of themselves, they know best themselves, some are sometimes unpleasant, they think they are the center of the universe, sometimes completely hopeless. But like all young people they are in the process of growing up. What they go through will affect the rest of their lives. Turning your back on a youngster could in the long run create a war, or similar violence . We adults have a responsibility to ensure that young people retain hope, that they feel they are valuable regardless of their origin.

We do this just as much for our own sakes, as a Sweden with a growing shadow society is not a country that we want our children to take responsibility for in the future.. It is bad enough that they have to take over our trashed environment.

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#ourstories

Our family member has been sent back and forth between the Migration authority and Migration court. Until today, they have given him 4 different birth dates. But still not started the interview process after 4 years in Sweden.

Important years in a young person's life. Third year of high school and going into adulthood. How could Afghanistan be an alternative? A country he hasn’t been to since he was two years old.

We, his new family would go under in despair, if we were separated. He is a part of our hearts.

Let him give back to society by paying taxes next summer when he graduates and he starts the job he has been offered.

Sweden has nothing to lose if he is allowed to stay. To turn away will cause a lost young life and a family in Sweden in despair.

/ a family in Sweden

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# ourstories

At the beginning of 2018, I got in contact with a completely lonely youth who had been moved from his residence to the very large adult asylum residence Resta farm on the day Migration Board decided would be his 18th birthday. He was terrified and desperate. Now, much later, I have seen that the social service officer and his school wrote certificates that the younger age he stated felt true. The manager of the accommodation, who for some reason did not like the youth, thought he was 18 years old. The social service wrote that he still needed support, but he did not get any. So he was moved to adult housing and lost all contacts and all feeling of safety . What scary stories I have heard from the young people who ended up in adult housing.

This youth fled on to France, then realized that he was covered by the new high school law. Then he tried to come back to Sweden, but got stuck in Denmark and suddenly disappeared. It took several days for us to get in touch again and before that I was sick with worry. He was detained in Denmark. After that he was transported to Sweden and then placed in a detention center in Sweden.

So it happened that I had to visit a detention center and it was terribly uncomfortable the first time. So much sadness, anxiety and despair.

Prison-like buildings, bedbugs and scabies.

In fact, it's hard to imagine that it's Sweden.

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#ourstories

M came to Sweden long before 20151124. His brother had lived here since a few years earlier. The brother studied in high school and worked part time. The Swedish Migration Board considered that the brother had such strong grounds for asylum, that in 2012 he received a Permanent Residence Permit in less than 2 months after he arrived here.

However the Swedish Migration Board was very doubtful as to whether they were actually brothers? According to them if they were brothers, it was M who was the older brother. Even M’s Tazkira (Afghan identity document) did not cause his case officer at the Migration Board to change his mind. Such rudimentary identity documents cannot be taken seriously, they claimed. Not even a DNA analysis, which showed that a 99.9% certainty they were brothers, caused the Migration Agency to change its decision, as they ruled that the asylum process was already over. During this process his age and identity had already been tested and it could not be tested again. M also studied at the high school, had fantastic testimonials from his internships and should be covered by the new high school law. However, as the Swedish Migration Board changed its decision regarding M in the court just three days before his real 18th birthday. Thus he fell into the gap between and the new high school law did not apply to him.

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# ourstories

Met an unaccompanied youth who the Migration Board had given a new older age(older than 18 years), and pang bom the teenager lost his guardian & his right to accommodation.

They were kind at the accommodation and let him stay in secret, after a month or two, he moved home to me and my family. What a journey this has been and as much as I have seen of my country that I did not know. The meetings with the Swedish Migration Board were almost shocking from the beginning. A Swedish authority that worked in this way? Was it even possible? Now a few years later, I can smile at my naive attitude.

He lived with us for almost two years before getting his temporary residence permit with the help of the new high school law. Now he goes on a vocational training on high school and is going to be a baker.

For me, the hardest part has been how politicians deliberately made, all of us who supported the unaccompanied youth, invisible. We have been mocked and reduced.

I am very grateful for the support I have received from everyone within the #vistårinteut network.

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#ourstories

We have been a voluntary family home for about 2,5 years. A 17-year old whose age was changed to 18. He then lost his legal guardian and was not allowed to stay in his housing. The alternative for him was to be sent to a Swedish Migration Authority’s accommodation for adults in another part of the country. That would mean he would be forced to leave his school and friends. We opened our home. And our hearts. Moreover we have been enriched with a new family member. Our daughters got a younger brother, who is diligent, wise, soft and caring, coping perfectly with school, speaks Swedish very well. He even works part-time on weekends. He doesn’t receiving any benefits from the state. He pays his taxes and studies in high school. What a great contributor he is for all of us in this country. How is it even possible to think of deporting this youngster to Afghanistan? Shame on Sweden!

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#ourstories

For me, it has been so meaningful to be able to lead young people to various activities and groups that exist, but which they did not know existed.

It has been everything from The Door in the Old Town where there are lots of free activities for groups like Newcomers Youth for LGBTQ + people, homework help and friends groups.

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#ourstories

I have helped a few young boys with their asylum processes. Not as much as some other people do but it still gives me an insight into how badly the Swedish Migration Authority is handling their job. I have written several applications to stop the enforcement of the rejection decisions, all of which have been denied. I do not think the Swedish Migration Authority even read what I had written. I have been present at so called ‘return’ meetings with unpleasant and lying officials. I have been to the Swedish Migration Appeal Court where the asylum seeker is treated like a criminal. If all adult Swedes came along to this Migration Court I think their opinions would change, it was a horrific experience.

We have had a young boy living in our home, and he was forced to flee again from here, this time to France. And I have helped and supported a 16-year old, who fled from here to Italy. The latter became an extra son of mine. I have spent many a sleepless night during the past 3,5 years, but at the same time I receive and have received so much back.

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#ourstories

In the summer of 2015, M came to Sweden. His parents were born in Afghanistan, but he was born without a residence permit in Iran. The first year in Sweden everything worked, he lived at HVB-home, went to school, was waiting for the Migration Board's decision. He was often at home with us, his friend lived with us. The rejection came from Migration Board and they gave him a new age so he became older then 18 years. No one helped the 16-year-old anymore. He got to go to school but felt the hopelessness and pointlessness of going there. He who had never really gone to school had no study technique. The new high school law came, but he fell outside it by a few days. The Agape help agency lined up with sleeping space. Rejection again. Expulsion decision to a country he has never been to. One late evening he chose to leave the country, and took the train down to Europe. Waiting for asylum message in a new foreign country. Talk to him sometimes. He lives in a tent on the street with two others he doesn't know. #ourstories - for this is happening today in my Sweden. We all wanted to help in 2015 and when you stretch out a hand you can't pull it back. If you put children in a boat, you get to row them ashore.

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#ourstories

I´ve worked 5 yrs, helping and supporting young kids who arrived here alone. 5 yrs of joy, sorrow and many tears.

I´ve witnessed how the Swedish Migration Board and the Swedish Government have abused young people in different ways. But

I´ve also met som fantastic young kids who have spread love and a fighting spirit. I will never surrender in this fight, and I will never forget what Sweden has done to them...

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#ourstories

We have been a so called voluntary family home to a boy during a little more than two years. He has a temporary residence permit for studies in high school.

He is on medication for depression and sleep disorder. It is not easy to cope with school all the time. But we are still here for him. He has schoolmates and other friends who are homeless. To be close to these young people means I get new perspectives on life. My greatest sorrow is that our society today does not care. Where is the humanity among the ones who rule our country? Many of us make life bearable for some of these kids but more are needed. Many of us loose our ”children” and I do not even dare to imagine the grief that comes with that.

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#ourstories

I´ve met so much fear, seen so many tears fall. Terrified young kids feeling worse and worse all the time. The ones who had to flee again. The ones who came one week too late to be able to apply for the permit for high school studies. You don´t need perfect Swedish in Kabul!!

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#ourstories

Z, M and J arrived after 24th November 2015. All three of them got their age adjusted upwards, and all three now have three rejections of their applications. 2 of them have been baptised in the Church of Sweden. Z has no family left except his older brother who has a permanent residence permit in Sweden. J has gone into hiding somewhere in Sweden, I don´t know where. M is making plans to seek refuge in another country. Three young ambitious, nice youngsters with everything going for them. Yet Sweden wants to send them to the most lethal country in the world. I don´t want that!

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#ourstories

One teenager calls crying from the Travel Center and another sleeps rolled up in a fetal position upon a small pillow. One calls whispering at night when the neighbors escape and later again when the police come. One shakes with anxiety, one vomits after the meeting at the Migration Agency and one publishes another picture of the cuts on his arms. One writes on messenger that he went out into the forest to die.

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#ourstories

In my job at Child Psychiatry Service I have met so many young kids who arrived here alone. So many traumatised, scared youngsters. Most of all scared out of their wits when facing the uncertainty of the future. So scared of being sent back to the hardships they once escaped. All they ever wished for was a chance of a new start in a country at peace.

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# ourstories

Imagine your sibling being told that he, with violence if necessary, will be taken from your family to be deported to the world's most dangerous country. That is what is going on right now in Sweden, and it is the darkest reality I have come in contact with during my 21-year life.

A fifteen-year-old with no family fled Afghanistan in July 2015. He arrived in Sweden as a unaccompanied refugee in December 2015.

Today, almost four years later, he is a member of my family. He always shares everything, he is a fantastic hairdresser, he is very poor at yoga, he prepares wonderful eggplant stew, he dreams of becoming a police officer, he speaks perfect Swedish, he loves TV-series, the Bonus family and Solsidan, he has taught me hundreds of words in dari and he always uses up all the hot water when he showers. He is my brother.

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#ourstories

Outside the detention centre I meet a young boy. His friend is in there, they have had several booked appointments that have been cancelled at the last minute. He is hoping to see his friend to say goodbye. Of course he is refused yet again….he is so disappointed!

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#ourstories

I have been at the Migration Court several times and it was an extremely unpleasant experience. It felt like a criminal case where the Migration Board process leader did everything to get the "accused" convicted. Finding mistakes and getting the youth off balance in different ways. To win the case simply. Really scary

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#ourstories

One boy, whose age was adjusted upward with 2 years so that he suddenly ‘turned’ 18, sent to adult asylum accommodation with 9 males in each room. Some very heavyset adults with tattoos all over their arms. Full of fear, the boy felt forced to sleep outside only under a windshield in the middle of winter, with nothing to sleep on and no sleeping bag.

Thanks to helpful private individuals he found a proper home eventually. Where else would he be now? Homeless and surrounded by drug takers?

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#ourstories

I was present in a court proceeding held in the Migration Appeal Court. While the youngster told of torture, being jailed and having to escape, one of the jurymen fell asleep. She snored so loudly that the judge had to give her a hard nudge. The kid received a negative decision - application rejected. We tried to force the court re do the proceedings due to the sleeping juryman. But the judge was of the opinion that she had only slept a short while and that it wasn´t necessary to have a new proceeding. That’s the supposed ‘rule of law’ in Sweden 2019.

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#ourstories

A young person lived here for a while.

Without uttering a word he packed his little backpack and disappeared early one morning. I later found out he aimed to get to Germany. Since then there has not been a single trace of him.

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#ourstories

Memories from the summer of 2017

A teenager calls me on the phone while she’s crying at the Central station, and another one is sleeping in fetal position on a tiny pillow. Yet another one calls whispering at night as the neighbours flee and later as the police arrives. Another one is shaking with angst, and another one is vomiting after the meeting at the Migrationsverket. Another one is posting yet a new picture of her cut bleeding arm on Instagram. And another one sends a message telling me he has gone out into the woods to die.

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#ourstories

So far I have saved a life with psychological and practical help!

He was born by refugees in Iran and fled as a child via Afghanistan to Sweden so as not to become a Fatemiyun soldier! Already in Turkey he was considering leaving Islam. He is baptized and has tattooed Christian symbols as he dared to show everyone that he left Islam! Migration Board has decided that he will be deported!

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#ourstories

In 2016 I had to start telling the youngsters about the rejections of their applications. I had to tell young people who had found safety to put their armour back on and stand on their own two feet again. Comfort them, hold them, talk about the options at hand and the options that weren´t there.

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#ourstories

Last spring this nice, ambitious och shy boy had to flee from Sweden out into Europe. Imagine that today people need to flee from Sweden in order not to be deported to one of the most dangerous countries in the world. How did this come about?

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#ourstories

E came to us as a very sad and partially traumatized guy who was realy missing his family and had no idea where the smugglers had brought him. Many times rolled into a small ball in an attempt to close out the world. The schooling up in the mountains had consisted of a couple of hours of reading the Koran in the mosque every day. He knew nothing about the rest of his country, about other countries, history, etc. and was extremely honest.

To follow him to the asylum interviews was a shock. The copy of the tazkiran did not count as proof of anything. The young investigators we had at the Migration Board seemed to know nothing about other cultures and the questions were in many cases absurd. We struggled, my husband and I, to find the few world events he had in memory, memories that could strengthen the belif in his age, and we succeeded. But soon I realized that the investigators' mission was not to put two and two together, but to find the smallest question mark where they could stick the knife.

Three refusals, four years later and the classic age write-up, and we have a boy with self-harm, suicidal thoughts, daily medication, increased PTSD and a big rage inside against Sweden's betrayal.

How can any responsible politician be proud of how we destroy young people's lives? #amnestinu #vistårinteut #ourstories

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#ourstories

A family is fleeing from Kabul because the mother, who works as a lawyer, is subjected to a murder trial. On the border with Turkey, the family comes apart. Then the three underage guys arrive in Sweden. The youngest born in 2005. The second youngest born in 2002. The year is 2015.

After a tough and lengthy asylum process with medical age assessments for the two older brothers, they become twins !!

They are denied their asylum applications on the grounds that they are adult men and can therefore also act as an organized reception in Kabul to their youngest brother. All can therefore be expelled to Kabul. Furthermore, the fact that there is a threat to the family is only hearsay since there is no such written thing. In addition, it is not credible that the mother worked as a lawyer. Not even pictures of her lawyer's credentials and damages can change the Migration Board's attorneys.

The fact that the Forensic Medicines researcher say that the medical age assessments are a legal scandal is also not something that is taken into account in the asylum investigation. Not even then the probabilities of the older brothers' age being the absolute lowest on the scale. They are stubbornly maintained that they are twins over the age of 18.

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#ourstories

They display warmth, joy, strength. We have welcomed them and we have supported each other in everyday life. We share work, meals and we tell them about our country Sweden. We introduce them to the country in which we they will be allowed to stay. But behind our stories there is another truth. We are feel uncomfortable that Sweden now is unwilling to fully embrace human rights. We don´t know what to tell our children and the young boys who in 2015 were prepared to risk their lives to get to safety.

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#ourstories

Met so many

Listened to so much

Beautiful people who never chose to be born in Iran by Afghan refugees

Escaping for survival

God bless you all and thank you for everything you have taught me.

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# ourstories

I found a lonely, scared, hungry and tired youth on a park bench in a smaller town. I let him sleep over at my house for a few nights.

Scared as he was, he wanted a friend with him the first night ... Who did he dare to trust?

Some nights have been turned into two years. He had nothing ... no money, no accommodation and was wanted by the police. Living in hiding is not easy. I shared my pension with him (he shouldn't have to steal) and tried to give him safety and some meaningful employment. The help he received during the asylum investigation was equal to zero. No help from either lawyer or guardian. He not only has a bed space but also a place in my heart.

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#ourstories

Work in a housing place in the daytime. Spend time on ”We can´t stand it” in evenings and at the nighttime. Sleep once a week at a volontary housing place for the kids. Watch human beings fighting for their lives. Watch staff withering away. Write, protest, arrange conferences. Try to find ways to impact politicians. Try to find legal ways. Cry every day. Finally giving up. Closing the housing , saying good-bye. Watch young people travel to Europe and some of them remaining in different ways.

Today I meet up with some of the kids at times. With or without residence permits. We talk. I think that maybe that will also help a little bit.

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#ourstories

He called me an autumn evening 2 years ago. ”Eva help me. The police are coming here soon to look for me”. I only needed to think 10 seconds ”Of course I´ll help you”. A week later I had placed him in hiding where he stayed hidden for 1,5 years.

In the beginning it was awful. He was tormented by anxiety and plagued by nightmares. He had panic attacks and made cuts on his arms. We had to go to the psychiatric emergency ward.

Nobody, who has not had these experiences, can imagine the constant worry, present 24-7. Also the fear that the police could take him into custody at anytime. Awful.

We grew very close and he became the dearest person in my life and I loved him like my own son.

Slowly he returned to life, started exercising, eating properly, gaining about 12 kilos. The joy of life returned, he was feeling good and could quit the antidepressants.

Today he feels dandy. His asylum application will be reconsidered by the Migration Court, where ‘a stay of execution’ application (VUT) has been submitted. He still lives in my home and he is my kid. He is going to stay, there’s no question. I will be destroyed if we are forced to part from each other.

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#ourstories

In the fall of 2015 a young boy came to seek asylum in a country he thought would accept him. He called me Mamma. The Swedish Migration Authority didn´t believe his story and he had to go into hiding.

Then a year ago he was deported back to what he had once fled from.

6 months ago he disappeared. I don´t think he is alive anymore.

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#ourstories

Z came to Sweden before November 24, 2015. Was written up in age by the Migration Board's official who thought he looked older. Z had no identity papers with him since he had to flee from his village because the Kuchi people had taken controll of the village, when he was watching the village sheep in the mountains. That his mother had told him his age, and what year he was born did not matter whatsoever. Z did not look a day older than the mother said. Z was 15 years old. When the municipality he lived in was told that Z was now of legal age (18 years according Migration Board), he no longer had anywere to live. Instead, he was moved to an adult residence in another town. Here he had to share rooms with several others. At the same time Z also had to change Good man and lawyer. His reason for asylum, which he told both the first Good man and the lawyer, therefore never came up during the asylum process. When it was interwiewed by the Migration Board in a notification of enforcement impediment, the Migration Board responded that Z himself should have contacted the administrator and told them. Consequently, the Board thought, there was no valid excuse for asylum reason not arriving in due time. Z loved the school, had good grades and had been self-evident to the New High school law. Since he actually received his rejection too quickly, he did not qualify for the new law.

With that, Sweden has lost an amazing young person because Swedish politician stubbornly is holding on to its locked thinking pattern, just to send out signals to the world, regarding migration politics.

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# ourstories

One time I was asked if I could go out to the Swedish detention center and hand over some small things. A, who was already deported wanted his friend K, who was going to be deported, to bring some things to Kabul. I went to Märsta and met the 19-year-old who was deported four days later. He had felt very bad in Sweden, but had not received any qualified care in the small town where he was placed. After his third refusal, he fled to Germany where he received specialist care and was enrolled in a clinic for 3 months. A turning point for his mental health, but when he was healthy enough he was extradited and returned to the detention center in Sweden.

He has no one and is completely alone, he left his family even before he fled to Sweden because of threats from the Taliban who had already killed his father and older brother. The Taliban have found him twice, handed over death threats and he has escaped and lives completely isolated and hidden.

Since he was deported, he has been supported by my family.

In various ways, we have managed to help him get his much needed medicine and even arranged with tazkira when he did not get his original back from Migration authority, during the deportation.

I hope that one day I will meet him again. We have daily contact with each other.

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#ourstories

I have got to know quite a few Afghans in my new hometown. The two,who called me Mamma, have been deported, more or less voluntarily this spring. I have met many at church events and a few more who have lived with me and my daughter. The latter I know a little bit better.

All this involvement has meant that I have taken several trips to the Swedish Migration Authority and to the Embassy of Afghanistan in Stockholm. I have helped with homework, listened, talked and of course also had the opportunity of getting to know another culture, different food, amusing conversations, also warmth and caring directed towards me. I have a good life and I do a lot for the community and for integration.

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#ourstories

I EXPERIENCE. YOU SURVIVE. WE LIVE

I searched for the words.

The words that would describe what I saw.

The eyes that regained life.

Hope.

The eyes that Sweden killed.

The eyes laughing.

Rays.

Which shows joy.

That shows what a warm person you are.

Which reveals that there is playfulness in there.

The eyes that showed happy surprise when you realized that you were speaking French.

Your new language.

I didn't find them - I didn't find the right words.

No words do it justice.

At first it disappointed me.

Now it makes me happy.

I get to experience something that can't be said.

I experience.

You survive.

We live.

By: Malin Fahlborg

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#ourstories

Erik is 15 years old when he flees over half the globe. He flees FROM more than he flees to. He escapes from war and he escapes from death, from fear of not surviving the day. He escapes from the risk of fighting as a soldier, living like child laborer or slave. The risk is so great that I, his mother, would rather let go of him with the hope that he will survive somewhere else. I know that when I let go, I will most likely never see him again, let alone feel his hand in mine, hug him or just still watch his wonderful face as he sleeps. My beloved Erik. The person I love most of all, so it hurts in my body! But I want him to live. I'd rather he live somewhere else than die with me. So I let go and I die inside! Erik is lucky and comes to a good country that he did not even know when the escape started.

A country where no bombs fall, where the kids go to school, where people buy new TVs and phones on treadmills. He is received with beautiful words and promises. He misses me so it hurts and the anxiety is so huge that it almost breaks his chest, but Erik gets a little glimpse of a future and a life. He finds friends, starts school and learns the language. The horrors of war can be disconnected for short moments, although they are always present. So one day, the unthinkable happens. The country where no bombs fall, where all children go to school, where people buy new TVs and telephones on treadmills, cannot afford Erik. Not everyone can stay there they say !!! But please, only Erik !! Let him stay! No, unfortunately, the country says and sends Erik to a life of war, to death, to a life as a soldier or child laborer.

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#ourstories

In November 2016, the first rejection for asylum came in my presence. I worked that night, he came to the youth Center and we were told. Everyone got very sad and was in a state of shock. He who everyone thought would get permission to stay in Sweden. He who everyone knew was 16 years suddenly became 18 years old. He had decided, he would not appeal. He could not wait anymore ... what if it took a year to get the next message.

None of us knew what was going to happen now.

When he came home from school the next day, they had packed his things, he was getting thrown out. After all, he was suddenly 18 years old and would be moved to the Migration Board's residence in a city far away. The last weeks in Sweden, he was scared and depressed, he knew he would be forced to move to a new place with new people. He took his bag and left. When I found out and got a hold of him on the phone, he had been walking around for a whole night in the snow.

He moved home to us for the five weeks he had left in Sweden. Confident in people he knew, close to his friends, part of a family.

I read his rejection decision ... I who thought that a no is a no ... I who believed that in Sweden you can trust the authorities ... I began to doubt!

He went to Afghanistan, a country he had never been to. Alone and scared ... waiting to receive his monetary establishment support. Money he would use to pay smugglers to take him back to the country where he grew up as a refugee. There he is now, still a refugee, still afraid. Wife and children but still scared, for bombs that have taken people in his family and friends. He sometimes writes. He calls me mom.

After him came more, sad, scared, suicidal ...

many calls, many nights with the phone close to the bed. What do you say to comfort when you have no hope of giving, not knowing if it will get better?

There was also laughter, warmth, tea, sitting on drafty floor in the asylum accommodation , long happy dinners with new exciting food with my children and many people from other countries. We got rich in love!

The youth has now lived with us for almost 2 years. After 6 refusals, a paperless period and a torture injury investigation, he got a temporary residence permit for 3 years due to conversion. Happiness!

Summer jobs, school, practice driving ... a life ...

A no is not a no when it is not based on facts, when it is not based in the law.

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#ourstories

The struggle for the young unaccompanied minors has now lasted for several years. For me, it began in the beginning of the fall of 2016 when one of my students, A, made me understand that the situation for the asylum seekers from Afghanistan often ended with deportation decisions. A was the one who got me commited to help this group.

In the fall of 2017, I experienced how a large part of the Afghan students stopped coming to school. They were too depressed / burnt out to get to school. What is the meaning of learning Swedish when you still know that you will get an rejection from the Migration Board? I started visiting the Migration Board's asylum residences in the municipality to try to motivate the young people to come to school. I tried to give them some future faith by showing that there were people who cared about them.

I felt very lonely in an increasingly hopeless struggle for the youth in the municipality, which resulted in me being part-time sick with exhaustion symptoms.

Just before Christmas, A was written up in age and would be moved to another town. It was a quick decision that he should move in with me and my husband.

In January 2018, all Migration Board housing was closed in the municipality. In conjunction with this, a network was formed to help the guys who went to high school in the area and who we thought were covered by the upcoming new high school law. I walked around the homes with the message that we in the network would try to help them if they start comming the school. We thought there would be about 25 guys we would help. It got close to 50.

In February, I met M, who was hiding after receiving his third refusal. I would write an enforcement order for him. He ended up moving in with us after two short meetings. The school where I work agreed to enroll him, even though he was hidden. In May, his friend B, who was also forced to hide, moved in with us.

Today, most of "our guys" in the network have gone TUT for high school studies, but three have moved on to Paris (one convert and one that was not registered by the Migration Board when he came to Sweden on November 23, 2015). I will always mourn these fine young people who did not experience the security they truly deserved.

The struggle for the young people who remain is continuing. They are now in vocational training, but their existence is still very uncertain. Should they complete the education even though in many cases they still feel very poor and have difficulty sleeping? Should the training lead to the permanent jobs that will enable them to stay in Sweden?

The struggle is not over - neither for the young people nor for us who decided to fight with them. I have changed a lot as a person and gained new perspectives on life. I basically gave up my own life and invested entirely in the young people. It has meant that, for good and for bad, I have become the safety of many of them. The young people have given so much, but at the same time it has been extremely difficult to see how badly they feel. I have never cried as much as in my last years in my life. Today I am tired, so incredibly tired, but not broken. The fight goes on because I (like many others) refuse to give up. We will continue to fight until the youth have gained their security. # vistårkvar

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# ourstories

My faith in the country I was born, in the country my daughter grew up, in the country my mother worked all her life, has completely disappeared. We now understand that our ‘old’ Sweden does not exist anymore. The Sweden we were proud of and the land others looked up to!

The boy wore clothes with sizes for 10-11 year olds when he arrived. At the age of 14, he had witnessed the Talibans’ brutal executions of family members, Hazaras like him. He experiences flashbacks when talking about the little inflatable boat, crowded with people who could not swim. He has described how he saw people die during his flight. Then he lost contact with the rest of his family, over four years ago.

Yet he is called "economic migrant".

The director of the Swedish Migration Board did not consider the boy's story as credible - he did not know how long it took to reach Kabul and to various other places around it? No, because he had never been there and time does not have the same meaning for a child in rural Afghanistan as it does here.

"But when you saw your father being shot, how much water did you have with you in the car? Where exactly were the water containers?"

The only ‘help’ he was given was from a perfunctory public representative and a legal guardian who did not even show up at important meetings. The Heads of the government department’s have mocked him on their return calls, their case officers firmly claiming that the whole of Afghanistan is safe and the sooner he leaves, the better!

This youngster has been forced to cancel his studies, due to an ocular age write-up of three years. (He happened to achieve the best results in his school class and has a girlfriend. He has been offered several jobs, but is not permitted to work. So he has worked for free, volunteering with sports for children.)

Not only we, his nonprofit family home but the paediatricians, psychologists, teachers, specialised interpreters, sports leaders and lawyers’ evidence and reports have either been ignored or disbelieved by the Swedish Migration Board and they too are despairing, feeling abandoned and shocked.

This is how we treat children in this country ... "The New Sweden"! But unfortunately this boy's childhood is already over.

****

#ourstories

I have sat at many kitchen tables, in many different homes, but the feeling of humanity has always been present. I have received frequent emergency calls. These have been from unaccompanied youth refugees who have just turned 18, or rather, most of them have been given a new date of birth made up by the Swedish Migration Board. When this happens, they were not allowed to stay in their family placement homes or HVB (unaccompanied youngsters’)homes. No, they had to leave! At the same time, they have received their first refusal for asylum from the Migration Board. This has also meant that on the same day they have lost their social worker contact person and their official legal guardian. This is how an emergency call I got sounded like:

‘Help me I don't know where to sleep tonight! Help me I am sleeping in the subway. Help me!’

I frantically searched on Facebook for volunteer homes. In the beginning things went pretty well and youngster by youngster was given a new home by generous people. But then things grew slower and the available volunteer homes became fewer. I therefore wrote desperate ads and eventually had a whole instagram account with photos of young people in need of a home. One day I saw a TV show about homeless cats searching for homes. Then I realised it was easier to find a home for a homeless cat than these young people. So I started adding pictures with young people holding a cat in their lap. The absurd thing was that the likes for these Facebook posts then started to increase.

The emergency calls have changed over time, but we are still here.

****

My dad survived the Holocaust. I know how Sweden and many other countries acted when there still was a chance for Jews to flee. They closed the borders. When refugees reached Sweden in 2015, I saw exhausted, fleeing people on television. I became depressed and felt powerless. One evening I packed clothes and sweets in my backpack and went to Stockholm Central Station. I had to do something. There and then, powerlessness and grief turned into hard work. I took care of refugees at the station and volunteered at refugee camps. I felt that people would not have to endure what my father and his family had been through. That no one should be treated as less worthy and unwanted. My own trauma made sense. I could understand the people I met on a deeper level than many others. I knew intuitively what they needed practically and emotionally. Several times people said that I helped give them back their human dignity. The nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. Later, I got to know a teenager who had fled alone from Afghanistan. He was not allowed to stay in the home of a family where he had been placed by social service and risked having to live on the streets if he did not agree to move to a refugee camp far away. Fortunately, a friend of mine opened her home for him in December 2017. Since then, we are an odd little family. We have struggled with his asylum application together. Struggled for him who had a lawyer, who did nothing more than claim payment for his "work". Now finally, he was allowed to change lawyer and now gets the legal support he is entitled to. We hope it helps. Despite the threat of the death penalty in his home country and conversion, the Migration Board believes that he should be sent back. It does not matter how much evidence we present. The Migration Board dismisses everything. He studies the children and youth program in high school. Is wonderful with children and old people. Was offered a job after completing his studies after his first internship week. Had summer jobs as a children's theater course assistant and as a children's summer camp leader. The kids love him. He goes to school, has learned Swedish very well, plays theatre, is a very good volleyball player and wants to start a volleyball team for young people where he lives because there is none there. Most of all, he would like to become a police. He's the child I never had. The Holocaust wiped out most of my family on Dad's side. Now Sweden wants to send this teenager to an almost certain death in Afghanistan.

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#ourstories

The boy who grew up in a broken home in Iran with abuse and mental illness was several times taken by Iranian police and sent to "training camp". They brutally abused him and pressed him to join Fatemiyoun, the Afghan battalion deployed in combat in Syria by Iran. Many who are sent out will not return. They are allowed to serve as living shields and are buried in unmarked graves. The parents managed to pay to get the boy out and decided that he had to leave for Europe to survive. Once in Sweden he came to a home for youth in fine surroundings but the physical and mental wounds remained. Many visits to doctors to make the body and the soul work. In the end, he had a whole bag of medication that didn't help. The night's sleep did not work, far to go to school, deadly tired. But the hope of staying and eventually getting to work with the profession he dreams of was still there. Then: Migration age-adjusted him first with a few months, then a single day. Suddenly he was 18 years of age, got rejection from Migration Board no accommodation, no money. Lived in the woods, borrowed money from friends for food. He made a suicide attempt and was saved at the last moment. Where he lives, winter is long and cold. He is housed on sofas and in closets. Still, he never misses worship and Bible school. There is still some hope. The box of medicine is discarded. Fighting by himself and trying to cure himself when the black thoughts and panic attacks come. What hurts me the most is that he takes for granted that so much of what has happened is his fault. How can the child help the parents beatings and failures? How can the boy do anything when a cynical regime want to sacrifice him in war? How can the teen be to blaim when the brain is in chaos after all the traumatic memories? How can the young adult he is now be to blame that Swedish authorities who first received now shove him off? But he still wants to ask for forgiveness. Because he is so scared. Because he forgets. Because he is being a bother. Because he's in the way. It should be the other way around. I hope he can forgive us.

****

#ourstories

2015, four years ago and just at this time, the volleyball season started as usual. My beloved volleyball that has occupied half my life since I was 11 years old. As a player, leader and chairman of a fantastic association. The start-up 2015 was special. Lots of refugees had come to Sweden and especially to my municipality. A town that previously refused to accept refugees, but now was forced to do so. Of course, as an association we wanted to get involved! Sport creates cohesion and integration! A few weeks later I stood there with about 40 strange people. I was scared, really scared. How would this go? We do not speak the same language? Do not share the same culture? My concern was unjustified. Sport unites. Instructions and emotions are displayed in body language. Such joy, such energy from the young people who participated! And then when time passed, on the contrary, faith in the future changed to misery, powerlessness and sadness. The Swedish government reversed. From open arms and no walls to terrible legislation and rhetoric. The Afghans were last placed in the queue at the Migration board. Their cases were said to be "complicated". Those from Syria first! Simple cases - everyone gets asylum. But what should we do with the Afghans? They said 80,000 are going to be thrown out? Yes, but then we decide that there is no war in Afghanistan! We ignore the UN, UNHCR and all other human rights organizations. The legal director at the Swedish Migration Agency can decide for himself that escape is possible inside Afghanistan and that young people and families can be expelled. Super! And so we go on with terrible, populist rhetoric. Especially against unaccompanied youth.

So we get voters. Thought the Social Democrats and Morgan Johansson. The Swedish Democrat Party voters will be back! We mimic their rhetoric. We add unscientific age estimates so we can show that everyone has been lying. The media followed.

So here we are 4 years later. With our lives in complete chaos. Burned out. A human who just wanted to do good. Wanted to make an effort as usual. As you do when you are a generous person. As it has been done always for young people. Swedish young people then. There was apparently a difference? Got to learn everything about migration laws, the social services law and now also the school law. A fight. Every day. To stand up for humanity. A matter of course to me. But apparently not for The Swedish Democrat Party?

So incredibly disappointed. In grieving. Exhausted. Burned out. This I never thought about Sweden. Never! Never ever.

****

#ourstories

I woke up again in the dead of night.

In the fall of 2015 I opened my heart. Partly to help a refugee child, partly because I wanted to be part of something greater, that I could be proud of it in the days to come. To take on a responsibility when needed. Not to have to ponder afterwards if I could have made a difference.

I chose to become a legal guardian for a boy from Afghanistan. I thought it would just be an administrative and less private task.The kids from there often had a good reputation as they really tried hard to become integrated. Also they often got a permanent residence permit due to the situation in Afghanistan. Other Swedish people chose to become a family home, but I felt that neither my family situation nor my personal orientation was fit for that.

It started out as I had imagined, contacts with the Swedish Migration Authority, schools, social services, healthcare facilities and so on. The boy’s roommate needed a guardian, and a friend of theirs needed to exchange his unengaged legal guardian, so in a short while I had three boys to take care of. It was sheer pleasure to get to know them and to help them assimilate into this society. They had two main concerns at the time, apart from traumatic memories and missing their families and homeland; they wanted to have their asylum interview with the Migration Authority over with and they wanted to start school and learn more Swedish.

Now everything is different, new laws and regulations. The security situation in Afghanistan has become worse, but Sweden continues to reject more asylum seekers.

One of the boys has had his third rejection of his asylum application (the third rejection means you cannot appeal any further). The Swedish Migration Authority claims he is over 18 years old, that is two years older than his actual age. The Swedish Migration Court recognises that he is threatened in his hometown, due to a death sentence from the Mullahs which the local society has embraced. But the court ruled that that the boy can be deported to Kabul and start a new life there as an ”adult male”as they came to the conclusion that he could flee to another area to find safety and security, so-called internal flight. The boy however is convinced that he would be at great risk that someone from his own community would find him in Kabul and betray him.

I have saved him twice from being transferred to adult asylum accommodation 200 km away. This is to ensure that he can continue to follow his preparatory studies in the same class at his present high school and thus maintain his network. Soon he will be forced to move again. The boy has a so called ”repatriation visit” scheduled with the Swedish Migration Authority when he will be informed of how his deportation will take place. He is 16 years old and the Swedish Government wants to fly him out to Kabul where he knows not a single soul. They offer him money so that he ”can start his own business” in case he does not manage to get a job in a country where the unemployment rate is close to 50% and he has no contacts....

The other two boys are scheduled for their asylum interviews during the summer. They have lost all hope because they have heard about the many rejection notifications , but I try to give them support and hope.

Two of the three boys have pronounced suicidal tendencies. One of them has been hospitalised due to physical seizures and mental loss of contact/apathy.

****

#ourstories

It started in the summer of 2017 when we heard that a guy was sleeping outdoors. During a manifestation, we formed a crisis group to arrange a roof over the heads of those who, since they turned 18 had been forced to leave their homes. "We have one more" "Next week will be three without a place to stay" oh my, we wrote, we talked and shared posts in social media. "Can anyone give a roof for a night or a week?" It was not easy, someone was sleeping on the couch for 1 or 2 nights. I have no extra room or bed. Asked my son and he lends out his room when he is with his dad. Since 1.5 years A has two addresses and lives here every two weeks and with a nice neighbor the other. As “shared custody” and it works great.

****

#ourstories

S came to Sweden on 15/9 2015 according to the Migration authority. If he came 14/9 2015 instead he could stay according to the new high school law. He has nothing to return to, came via Iran, does not remember his village in Wardak. Migration authority changed his age to over 18 years. He is going to be deported. 

****

# ourstories

We have become a bigger family, we got a son, a big brother who after years of struggling was allowed to stay. While his best friend, however, was deported 10/9 2019 without network, money or passport

Internal migration is not an option. 

****

#ourstories

Visited a youth yesterday, asked how his family were fairing - There's explosions everyday in Kabul. They're afraid and hides away in their houses evey waking moment. If someone goes outside, the family won't know if they'll ever see each other again.

Youth with NGL.

It started the summer 2017 when we learned one boy was sleeping outside. During a manifestation our crisis group was formed to arrange roofs over the heads of those who turned 18 and had to leave their homes. "We have another one." "Three more will be without a home next week." Oh dear, oh dear. We wrote, talked, shared posts to find someone who could share a living space for one night, maybe even a week. It wasn't easy. There was youths sleeping on the sofa 1-2 nights at a time. I have no beds, or rooms left over. I asked my son and he gave up his own bedroom every time he's with his dad. Since 1,5 years back two youths lives here every other week, and with a kind neighbour inbetweeen. It's like a shared custody and it works wonderfuly. 

****

#ourstories

SOS, in a lot of pain, can you acquire a prescription? A quick checkup, with routine questions: How much pain? How often? How many times? Oh dear, we need a doctor. Writes a request to three different GPS. No, they don't have the courage, I finally find one doctor without borders who's open. We get there. The youth (22 years old) is urinating blood, and has to heat himself up in the shower before he can go pee. Yes, it's been going on for two years. Earlier checkups ended abrouptly because of circumstances. He has no idea what the x-rays showed, the ones they did almost two years ago. Won't get any prescription for pain relief, they don't dare to print prescriptions without a adequate examination. They clearly state: You have to return for more tests. The only thing he wants to do is to cuddle up in his temporary night-camp and hope that the bedbugs has finally been taken care of, so he can sleep instead of chasing flees.

****

#ourstories

I have a baby sister. She's a slave, stateless, illiterate and the proudest person in the world. Her two sons managed to escape from the shed outside Teheran where she survives graciously with two daughters and a severely handicapped younger son. The oldest son calles me khala. He'll finish college this spring, as a cnc operator. He refuses to speak 'smalandska' so we try to practice the Stockholm dialect and all the sje-sounds. And we snicker. His mother is 14 years younger than me and looks like a starving old refuge-lady. She is a refugee and is starving, but surviving. We have listened to each others voices once. We cried, then.

****

#ourstories

A week ago he has a spark in his eyes. A week ago he had hope. A week ago you could hear the happiness in his steps, and see the strength in his body. Today it all went away, the spark fizzled out. Once refusal struck, the one Sweden gave. A no is a no is a no.

****

#ourstories

Quoting my 8-year-old nephew about his bonus brother: "How can they send someone away after they've lived years in Sweden? Are they completely stupid?".

****

#ourstories

I often hang in T-centralen in Stockholm, there's always someone there who needs to talk, needs a hug, a smile and a familiar adult face who only wants them well. Someone who get happy when they meet them. So even today. I meet someone who's came out of the repository a few days ago. Paperless and sat on the repository for six months. Coming outwith a residence permit! A no is not always a no!!

#ourstories

I have been a caregiver for seven unaccompanied from Afghanistan, two being girls. Luckily, every single one has atleast a temporary residence permit. One of them decided to travel back to Herat, he had problems with drugs, but he managed - with a goal in mind - to quit before he returned to his mother who he dearly missed. I still keep contact with all of them, because they're still not done. They're above the age of twenty now.

****

#ourstories

He arrived autumn 2015, he was 13 years old, skinny little guy with a spark in his eyes. 2016 passed and he grew like a tree. The spark vanished and he got more and more upset. He grew 10cm in the summer of 2017, dad called him the 'basketball player'. He got his interview with the migration Authority the very same summer. Tears poured down his face in silence when he had to repeat himself for the forth time: "No, I don't remember my home village, I was only 2.5 years old." Dad was shaking for days after that, it was the worst thing he had gone through in his 75 years, he said. How could they sit there and cross interrogate a kid in that way? He said. The boy still haven't regained the spark in his eyes, 2019.

****

#ourstories

A came to Sweden at the age of 14 and I was lucky to become his caregiver. A wonderful, scared little boy who after a year started to feel safe. But this changed after his first interview. He was rewritten as an 18 year old and stamped with expulsion. The appeal with certificates from the social officer, 42 teachers from the school and his swedish family home, even from me was turned down. He then tried to take his life but was saved in the last second. After his third rejection he left for Germany where he was interviewed at once, and they decided he was a child and was going to stay. What luck, and what a loss for Sweden.

Now I'm fighting for M who was 13 when he came to Sweden, he's turning 17 soon and is going to be kicked out of sweden because the Migration office doesn't believe him when he says he's lost contact with his family, which means he has someone picking him up. Now he has to find proof that his family doesn't exist in Afghanistan. A very difficult task for a child.

****

#ourstories

We fight for the Afghan refugees, every one with the best we got. At first I felt powerless over the fact that our government and the Migration Office doesn't give a shit about what we Swedish citizens want. Now this feeling of powerlessness has turned into rage!! It is a better driving power. I am going to fight til the day I draw my last breath against this inhumane attitude, and the progress of fascism. I REFUSE TO ACCEPT THIS! We shall never forget the politicians fighting with us! I'm ashamed of Sweden's action on the refugee issue. We are many who is. In no other country where you've received refugees have they been behaving with so inhumane as Sweden. A huge THANK YOU to you who's been fighting for these amazing refugees. If the new spirit is to be spread in Sweden I'll have a feeling that the difference of opinion may lead to civil war. We who stand against the facist is never going to give in.

****

#ourstories

They decided he was going to move to Kiruna. Lose the rights for a spot in school, he was visiting his friend who lived with us when he got his very first epileptic seizure. He spent 2 days anesthetized at Sodersjukhuset, we learned that he had a brain tumor the size of an egg. Operation and treatment was going to start as soon as possible. When he was discharged from the hospital he had no where to go, so he took the train home to us. Neither the social service or the Migration office felt that this was something that fell on their table, the boy could live on a park bench between the treatments because the 2100 SEK he received from the Migration Office wasn't enough to take a train down from Kiruna.

He lived with us throughout his treatments, about six months, and after the last few treatments he received a 6 month residence permit due to illness. He's today studying at the construction program and has a temporary residence permit. The cancer is still there, but not growing, the stress and worry about the future is still the same.

He's more afraid of the Migration Office than his own cancer.

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