Statement From RFSL’s Congress May 8, 2016

RFSL’s Congress 2016RFSLPhoto: Eveline Johnsson

Every year a lot of LGBTQ individuals are forced to flee from their native countries because of persecution by authorities or because their native countries’ authorities don’t offer them sufficient protection from persecution. An asylum policy and asylum practice that respects human rights and a well functioning reception and good possibilities for newly arrived LGBTQ individuals are important issues for RFSL. Unfortunately, over the past few years we have seen a development both in Sweden and in the rest of Europe that moves in the wrong direction. Racist opinions have more often been winning approval and fewer secure and legal opportunities are offered for people who seek shelter from persecution.

The new strict rules for refugees that step by step have been implemented in Sweden since the fall of 2015 risk affecting LGBTQ refugees extra hard. LGBTQ individuals’ chances of getting a residence permit in Sweden is deteriorating since asylum seeking LGBTQ individuals sometimes end up in the category “others in need of protection”. In the government’s proposition about tightening the asylum policy, that was presented on April 28th, it is proposed that this group should not be able to get a residence permit. The proposition has been massively criticized, especially from heavy consultation bodies that claim that the proposition violates international conventions; something that has dire consequences for people who flee their countries. Should the proposition be accepted it also undermines Sweden’s work for global development, as well as the ambitions of a feminist foreign policy.

Sweden should be a country that welcomes the one who seeks protection. The additional walls in the form of temporary identification controls to enter the country that have been put in place must be abolished. At the same time the proposed changes of the Aliens Act that are planned, that undermine the right to asylum and family reuniting, must be rejected. The orientation towards temporary residence permits must be reconsidered. Temporary residence permits create worry in the people affected, at the same time as people with temporary residence permits are prevented from partaking in society through work, studies and the like.

RFSL’s congress therefore requests the members of parliament to vote against the proposal and in turn vote for an asylum policy that respects the human rights.