106yo Afghan woman avoids deportation from Sweden
The world’s oldest refugee, who faced deportation from Sweden, will stay in the country after the court ruled the 106-year-old woman was unfit to travel back to Afghanistan.
On Wednesday, the Migration Court of Appeal ruled that Bibihal Uzbeki was in “a very bad state of health, which may deteriorate drastically,” overriding an earlier decision made by the Swedish Migration Agency.
"From a humanitarian perspective, it would be shocking to require her to travel to her home country," the judge said.
The woman was given “a time-limited residence permit for 13 months,” expiring on July 19, 2019, after which she can apply for an extension, her grandson, Mohammed Uzbeki, told AP.
Although the Swedish migration agency’s policy is that age is irrelevant when deciding asylum, the court decided that special consideration must be given in this case, where the plaintiff is extremely old and is in such poor health.
Uzbeki fled her home in Afghanistan in fear of the advancing Taliban terrorist group militants in 2015, with her journey later making headlines in international media.
The woman made her way across Iran, Turkey, Greece and Croatia before ending up in Skaraborg, Sweden.
Since she found it hard to walk, her son and grandson had to carry Uzbeki much of the way before they were eventually given a wheelchair.
Her bid for asylum in Sweden was rejected in June, with the authorities considering sending the 106-year-old back to Afghanistan.
Once one of the most welcoming countries for asylum seekers and refugees, Sweden tightened up its immigration laws in 2016 to ease the pressure on its infrastructure, amid the anger of right-wing parties.
As a result, the Nordic country received over 160,000 asylum applications in 2015, but only 30,000 in 2016.
Despite the ongoing Taliban insurgency, the Swedish migration agency doesn’t consider arrivals from Afghanistan to be at the highest levels of risk.