You are waving flags while LGBTQI refugees are deported

Sweden deports LGBTQI people to countries where they face both incarceration and the death penalty at the same time as a Pride Parade is marching through the streets of Stockholm. We expect legislation that safeguards the right of asylum for the LGBTQI people who flee for their lives.

July 31 2019

RFSL is working to ensure that LGBTQI people who flee from persecution have the right to asylum in Sweden. The development in asylum and migration policy in Sweden and the rest of the EU doesn’t meet the demands of humanity and legal certainty we have come to expect of Sweden.  

Sweden portrays itself as a pioneering country when it comes to human rights. When we look at the development of Swedish asylum policy and its treatment of LGBTQI refugees and others in need of protection, the paradox becomes apparent. On the one hand, Sweden advocates human rights and LGBTQI people’s rights, while on the other, we see Sweden deport LGBTQI refugees and others in need of protection to countries where they risk being subjected to persecution.

According to the UN’s Universal Declaration, article 14, all people have the right to seek and be granted asylum from persecution in another country. Over the past few years, the Swedish government has made decisions that in many ways impede LGBTQI people’s possibility to seek protection from oppression, persecution, violence or threat.

Today, Sweden has a feminist government and a four-party deal between S, MP, L, C. Through the deal, the four parties indicate that they won’t allow a nationalistic influence in Swedish politics. The indication is, however, not consistent when it comes to asylum policy.

RFSL has been in dialogue with all parties in parliament except the Swedish Democrats regarding the appointment of a parliamentary committee to investigate Swedish migration policy. What we are seeing is a setback for the Swedish asylum policy. All efforts are directed at streamlining the migration policy, controlling the influx of migrants and reducing the societal costs of migration instead of securing the quality of the asylum process and assuring the right to asylum. We are conditioning family reunification and connecting it with achievement instead of with the right to protection.

Sweden is deporting LGBTQI people to countries that practice incarceration and the death penalty for same-sex relationships at the same time as there’s a Pride Parade walking through the streets of Stockholm. The everyday life of LGBTQI refugees and asylum seekers isn’t rainbow coloured glitter, it’s a struggle for the right to basic human rights. What we expect from politics isn’t just flag-waving in the parade, but legislation that upholds a humane asylum policy and protects the right to asylum for those LGBTQI people who flee for their lives. 

We ask you not only to march beside us once a year but to walk side by side with us working for a more legally certain and humane asylum policy.

RFSL demands that:

  • Sweden should stand up for a humane asylum policy where permanent residence permits are the norm,
  • Sweden’s present and future migration legislation should meet the demands of humanity and legal certainty in accordance with international conventions,
  • Sweden should stop deporting LGBTQI people to countries where LGBTQI people are being persecuted,
  • the Migration Agency should desist from making the legally uncertain, non-unitary assessments LGBTQI asylum-seekers still have to endure based on stereotypical and subjective credibility assessments, and that
  • the migration courts and the Migration Agency should follow the European Court’s practice regarding the assessment of LGBTQI asylum claims.

Deidre Palacios, vice national president of RFSL
Jêran Rostam, national president of RFSL Ungdom
Aino Gröndahl, asylum lawyer at RFSL
Jasminé Mehho, advisor in asylum issues at RFSL
Alexandra Politidis Palm, asylum lawyer at RFSL Ungdom

The opinion article was published in Expressen July 31 2019