Sweden is preparing to send back nearly half of all the asylum seekers that entered the country last year, and is ready to charter planes to take rejected applicants back home.
Up to 80,000 people could be involved in an operation the interior minister is calling a “very big challenge”.
“We’re not planning to deport anyone, but we’re planning that those people that don’t get their asylum approved should return to their country of origin,” said Swedish Interior Minister Anders Ygeman.
Currently 45 percent of asylum applications are rejected. In 2015 Sweden took in 163,000 people. Do the maths and it is clear many refugees will be leaving Sweden.
“I don’t think it is real, because they say that 80,000 people will go back to their countries. But which people, which country? I don’t know. I think it is only talk,” said an Iraqi Kurd.
“We have left our country to come to Europe, a place of human rights, women’s rights, children’s rights. This decision from the Swedish government does not help us,” said an Iraqi man.
On Monday a 22-year-old female caretaker was stabbed to death by a 15-year-old in an asylum seekers’ teenage centre. This and similar incidents have led some Swedes to harden their hearts, and Stockholm to end its previous open doors policy. It has introduced border controls and much stricter document and identity checks.