Saturday, 7 October 2017

Sweden grants temporary asylum to 106-year-old Afghan woman

106-year-old woman who climbed mountains to flee war-torn home finally granted asylum

A 106-year-old Afghan woman has finally been granted temporary shelter in Sweden. Bibihal Uzbeki, who is disabled and can barely speak, was told last month that she would not be able to claim asylum, despite her age and the perilous journey she went through to get to the country.

The refugee’s 67-year-old son and 19-year-old grandson helped their elderly relative cross mountains, deserts and forests – often carrying her on their backs – to escape their war-torn home country. Despite the Swedish Migration Agency saying age doesn’t provide grounds for asylum, the Migration Court of Appeal said on Wednesday it has reversed the decision to deport Ms Uzbeki. The court said she was in ‘a very bad state of health (which) may deteriorate drastically,’ adding that an expulsion ‘could be considered inhuman and degrading treatment.’

It conceded that ‘particular consideration’ had been given to ‘the extremely high age of the woman’ and ‘her very bad state of health.’ That countered the agency’s view that age doesn’t by itself provide grounds for asylum.

Her grandson Mohammed Uzbeki said the ruling meant she was given ‘a time-limited residence permit for 13 months’ which ends July 19, 2019. He said: ‘She is really sick.’ Uzbeki’s journey through Europe made headlines in 2015, when they were part of a huge influx of people who came from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries, through the Balkans before finally reaching Sweden.

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