Tag Archives: Sweden

Interregional Feature | Refugees with Mental Illness

The Spiraling Mental Health of Syrian Refugees

“Is it because these refugees are coming from somewhere where they’ve seen their families butchered and suffered some kind of trauma? […] Or is it because as refugees they had to wander across half of Africa for a couple years before they ever got to Europe? Or is it because that when they got to Europe and eventually Sweden, they lived in fear of being kicked out of the country?”

As refugees find themselves piling up at closed borders, stuck indefinitely in overcrowded camps, and resettled in countries they may have had little to no connection to, reports are indicating an increasing prevalence of mental health problems and risk of long-term illness. The stresses of war, upended lives, separated families, life-threatening travel, and an uncertain future have caught up to a growing number of refugees, causing severe degradation of their mental health relative to other non-refugee migrant groups.

Humanitarian workers have observed that deteriorating mental health conditions with little access to appropriate healthcare have contributed to violence and vulnerability to radicalization. While refugees tell stories of loss, desperation, and disillusionment, field psychologists report increases in or risk of PTSD, panic disorders, depression, anxiety, and a range of psychotic conditions among refugee populations, further compounding their already marginalized status and setting the stage for potentially lifelong psychological battles.

Read more:
Refugees Suffer a Higher Rate of Psychotic Disorders” (Scientific American)
Lebanon struggles to help Syrian refugees with mental health problems” (Reuters)
Idomeni’s refugees suffer mental anguish” (Deutsche Welle)
Psychological toll on Syrian refugees alarming, many suffer from mental illnesses” (The Daily Sabah)
Syrian Refugees In Canada Face Ongoing Health Challenges: Study” (The Huffington Post)

(Image Credit: D. Tosidis/Deutsche Welle)

Sweden News | Indigenous Peoples

Judge rules in favor of exclusive land rights for indigenous group in northern Sweden
  • A district court ruled that the Sami, an ethnic group indigenous to northern Scandanavia and northwest Russia, should have exclusive rights to control hunting and fishing in the Arctic village of Girjas.
  • The legal battle began in the early 1990s, when the Swedish government stripped land rights to the village from the Sami, Sweden’s only officially recognized indigenous group who trace their lineage in the region back thousands of years.
  • The victory comes as the Church of Sweden has released a two-volume report detailing the history of its treatment of the Sami, including the segregated schools it ran for from the 1910s to the 1960s.

Read more:
Sweden’s indigenous Sami people win rights battle against state” (The Guardian)
Sami minority wins symbolic court victory over Sweden” (The Local)
Swedish church admits it ran ‘racist’ Sami schools” (The Local)

(Image Credit: Alamy/The Guardian)

Europe News | Child Refugees

At least 10,000 refugee children reported missing after arriving in Europe
  • The EU’s criminal intelligence agency has reported that the child refugees went missing after registering with state authorities, including 5,000 in Italy and 1,000 in Sweden.
  • Authorities fear the children may have fallen into the hands of human traffickers, who, according to intelligence, have begun linking their slavery networks to migrant-smuggling networks.
  • Unaccompanied minors have become a source of serious concern in the migration crisis, with the U.K. having recently pledged to accept an additional but limited number of unaccompanied children from conflict-ridden regions of North Africa and the Middle East.

Read more:
10,000 refugee children are missing, says Europol” (The Guardian)
UK to give sanctuary to unaccompanied refugee children” (BBC)
Ministers offer unaccompanied child refugees in Europe limited UK help” (The Guardian)

(Image Credit: Darko Vojinovic/AP, via The Guardian)

Sweden News | Immigrants & Minorities

Deadly attack on Swedish school being treated as hate crime
  • The chief of police in Trollhättan reported that the man who killed a student and teacher and left two others critically injured chose his victims by skin color, attacking dark-skinned individuals.
  • Police disclosed that the assailant had no ties to official far-right groups but had neo-Nazi sympathies, posting Nazi-sympathist videos to social media.
  • Trollhättan has a history of predominant segregation and hate crimes, and the Kronan school, with its high proportion of students of immigrant background, was a vulnerable target.

Read more:
Sweden school attack: police treat killing of pupil and teacher as racist hate crime” (The Guardian)
Police in Sweden: Deadly school attack a racist hate crime” (AP via Yahoo! News)
Sweden school killings: Attacker ‘had racist motives’” (BBC)

(Image Credit: EPA, via BBC)

Sweden News | Refugees

Sweden sees rash of arson attacks against refugee facilities
  • A fire at a retirement home in Oderljunga marked as a potential site for refugee accommodation was the latest in a string of arson attacks across the country.
  • More than a dozen such fires have been reported across the country over the last seven months, with police indicating all have been arson.
  • The attacks come as Sweden prepares to accept up to 190,000 asylum seekers, second only to Germany in Europe.

Read more:
Fresh arson fears as refugee home burns” (The Local)
Arson Attacks at Asylum Homes Raise Fears in Tolerant Sweden” (AP via ABC News)
Arsonists attack another migrant centre in Sweden” (AFP via Yahoo! News)

(Image Credit: Adam Ihse/AFP, via Yahoo! News)

Sweden News | Black Swedes

UN report finds increasing “Afrophobia” and discrimination against African-Swedes
  • A new UN report countered Sweden’s diversity-friendly image with data on discrimination faced by African-Swedes, who make up 2% of Sweden’s 9.6 million people.
  • In addition to discrimination in housing and employment, a national crime study found that hate crimes against people of African descent increased by more than 40% between 2008 and 2014, with a fifth of last year’s incidents involving violence.
  • Sweden has come under fire for several measures anti-racism advocates argue undermine their work, including removing the word “race” from the country’s Discrimination Act and the country’s failure to own up to its role in the transatlantic slave trade.

Read more:
Sweden’s liberal reputation tarnished as race attacks rise” (The Guardian)
Sweden’s liberal image is a mirage that hides a very ugly problem” (Quartz)
Afrophobic hate crimes on the rise in Sweden” (The Local)

(Image Credit: Anders Wiklund/AFP/Getty Images, via The Guardian)

Sweden News | European Migrants

E.U. migrants in Sweden threatened by growing anti-immigrant sentiment
  • In addition to the more than 30,000 migrants of non-E.U. origin granted asylum in Sweden last year, the E.U.’s open migration policy has brought many Southern and Eastern Europeans to the country, including the highly vulnerable ethnic Roma.
  • Police estimate there are around 4,000 people begging on the street in Sweden, among whom at least 77 violent attacks have occurred in the last 18 months according to one charity group.
  • Many Roma live in tents outside major cities while saving money from begging and bottle-collecting, lacking access to adequate health care and basic living resources.

“The response has not been convincing from Sweden’s political leaders. … They have been hoping the problem will go away by itself — and it won’t.”

Read the full story at the New York Times.

(Image Credit: Moa Karlberg/The New York Times )