30 August 2017

Severe security situation in Afghanistan continues

According to a new judicial position taken by the Swedish Migration Agency, the security situation in Afghanistan is still considered serious. However, there are differences in the levels of conflict in Afghanistan's 34 provinces, and some areas are considered safer than others. The conflict in Afghanistan has thus not reached a level that would entitle all people from Afghanistan to receive a residence permit in Sweden.

– Our assessment is that the conflict has not reached a level where it affects everyone throughout the country, which is the level that current legislation requires for all citizens of Afghanistan to be entitled to stay. It is still possible to return to several regions, and therefore it will remain necessary to review each case individually, says Fredrik Beijer, Director of Legal Affairs at the Migration Agency.

Indiscriminate violence in two provinces

In the most recent judicial position,* from December 2016, the Swedish Migration Agency determined that violence was so serious in one province (Helmand) that everyone was at risk of being affected by the violence. The violence in Helmand has now spread to the neighbouring province of Uruzgan. Struggles between government forces and the Taliban have hit the civilian population hard and led to a large number of injured and dead. Therefore, the Swedish Migration Agency will not expel asylum seekers who come from the provinces of Helmand or Uruzgan, unless they are able to seek protection in other parts of Afghanistan – so-called internal displacement.**

More groups considered particularly vulnerable

Other news from the Swedish Migration Agency’s latest judicial position includes the identification of additional so-called risk groups: persons with physical or mental disabilities, people with mental illness and women at risk of being subjected to violence, such as domestic violence. When their asylum cases are being examined, the Swedish Migration Agency shall give particular consideration to their vulnerable situation.

In their new judicial position, the Swedish Migration Agency has also taken into account the Migration Court of Appeal’s judgement from the spring of 2017, according to which Afghan children without networks, parents or other relatives who can protect and help them are deemed to be particularly vulnerable to violence and serious abuse. These children are therefore persons eligible for subsidiary protection, which means that they can receive a temporary residence permit for 13 months.

Minorities

In the same judgement, the Migration Court of Appeal held that Shiite Hazaras generally do not risk being exposed to persecution if they return to Afghanistan. On the basis of this and the available country information, the Migration Agency’s position is that it is not enough for a person to belong to a vulnerable minority group to receive protection in Sweden. Individual reasons are still required in order to receive asylum.

Read more in ‘Questions and answers about Afghanistan’ (only in Swedish)

Explanations of terms:

* A judicial position is an analysis of e.g. the security situation in a given country, which serves as legal support for Case Officers and Decision Making Officers at the Swedish Migration Agency.

** Internal displacement: When the Migration Agency determines that an asylum seeker cannot return to his/her home, we try to determine whether the person can settle in another part of the same country. Because there is variation in Afghanistan’s security situation, and the threat that a person faces may be limited to a certain region, internal displacement may become a relevant option in some cases. This means that the asylum seeker is viewed as being able to seek protection in another part of Afghanistan. The Migration Agency does not view internal displacement as an option for women, people with special needs, unaccompanied minors or children in families, if they do not have support and protection from their families or a functioning male network.