Conflict & Justice

Iraqi refugees in Sweden

This former police officer arrived here two years ago, and he now lives in a tiny seaside town in Sweden. He was already in Sweden waiting permission to bring his family when a gang in Baghdad stormed his home and grabbed his wife and sons at gunpoint. Shortly after the kidnapping, Sweden granted his asylum. As a Sunni Muslim and a police officer, he was a constant target of death threats. He says he can never go home. He tries to console his children with promises of a better life in Sweden. Sweden has drawn nearly 20,000 asylum seekers a year. This year the courts tightened the immigration laws and now each applicant has a higher burden of proof that they face dangers at home. This development is cumulative with a better security situation in Iraq. That's left thousands waiting in limbo on their asylum seeker status. But Sweden's compassion doesn't end with its slammed doors, and it offers up to $8,000 to help resettle asylum seekers within their own country.

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