Being a woman from Afghanistan is enough to get protection

The situation for women in Afghanistan has gradually deteriorated since the Taliban movement took power in the country. The Swedish Migration Agency is now tightening up the assessment of cases involving Afghan women.
“Being a woman from Afghanistan is in itself considered to be a sufficient basis for obtaining protection in Sweden,” says Carl Bexelius, Director of Legal Affairs at the Swedish Migration Agency.

Since taking power in Afghanistan, the Taliban movement has imposed numerous rules and regulations that limit the rights of women and girls. The difficult situation has also been reflected in the Swedish Migration Agency’s decisions. Over the past year, approximately 90 percent of the Afghan women who have sought protection in Sweden, and whose cases have been examined on their merits, have been granted a residence permit. Yet until now, the situation has not been such that all women in Afghanistan have been assessed to be at risk of persecution because of their sex.

Women’s rights have been further restricted

Recently, women’s rights and freedom of movement have been further restricted. Among other things, women are now excluded from studying a range of subjects at state universities and from visiting parks, gyms and public bathhouses. In mid-November, the supreme leader of the Afghanistan’s Taliban movement also called for the country’s judges to fully apply Sharia law.

“Women’s and girls’ freedom of movement and other rights have been significantly restricted in Afghanistan, and the situation has recently grown even worse. Today, we see a significant impact on their ability to support themselves, access care and education, and seek protection from violence,” says Carl Bexelius.

Stricter assess­ment for Afghan women

As a result of the deteriorating situation, the Swedish Migration Agency is tightening up its assessment of asylum cases involving Afghan women. This is being done via a revised judicial position published today.

“We believe that the situation for women in Afghanistan entails a violation of their basic human rights, to the point that it must be considered persecution. Thus, Afghan women should be assessed as refugees and granted a residence permit, regardless of other circumstances,” says Carl Bexelius.

The Swedish Migration Agency’s stricter assessment means that women from Afghanistan who have had their asylum application rejected can apply for and receive a new examination of their case.

New country report for Afgha­nistan

In conjunction with the revised judicial position, the Swedish Migration Agency is publishing a country report for Afghanistan with a focus on the situation for girls and women. This shows that the conservative and hard-line forces within the Taliban movement have a decisive influence on the country’s development, and there is no sign that this will change anytime soon. The information situation also remains challenging, due in part to censorship and limited media coverage.

The European Asylum Agency EUAA is also working on a new “Country Guidance for Afghanistan”, which will be published early next year. The EUAA’s guides are part of the Swedish Migration Agency’s legal guidance.

Read more

Judicial position. Prövning av skyddsbehov m.m. för medborgare från Afghanistan External link, opens in new window. (Examination of the need for protection, etc. for citizens from Afghanistan; text in Swedish)

Country report: Afghanistan: MR-utvecklingen under 2022 med fokus på situationen för kvinnor och flickor samt de facto-statens rättskipning External link, opens in new window. (Human rights development in 2022 with a focus on the situation for women and girls and the de facto state’s administration of justice; text in Swedish)

Facts: Asylum cases involving women from Afghanistan

From August 2021 to November 2022, the Swedish Migration Agency has taken decisions in 451 asylum applications (first-time applications) concerning women from Afghanistan. 402 people, or 89 percent, have had their applications approved. 49 applications have been rejected.