France 24, September 3, 2013
Sweden on Tuesday became the first European Union country to announce it will give asylum to all Syrian refugees who apply.
“All Syrian asylum seekers who apply for asylum in Sweden will get it,” Annie Hoernblad, the spokeswoman for Sweden’s migration agency, told AFP.
“The agency made this decision now because it believes the violence in Syria will not end in the near future.”
The decision, which will give refugees permanent resident status, is valid until further notice, added Hoernblad.
Those granted permanent status will also be allowed to bring their families to Sweden.
The move came as the United Nations said the number of refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria had passed two million, which the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, called “the great tragedy of this century.”
Since 2012, Sweden has taken in some 14,700 asylum seekers from Syria.
In 2012, Sweden received a total of 44,000 asylum requests, a 48-percent increase and the highest number since 1992, at the time of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia.