A Swedish immigration court of appeals has ruled that the suspension of family unification for those who are granted subsidiary protection status violates Sweden's obligation to respect human rights. The ruling was issued because, under a temporary law that can be implemented from June 2016 until June 2019, Sweden has not allowed people who are granted subsidiary protection the possibility of reuniting with family members. The suspension is not applied to those with refugee status.
The case that led to the sentence
As reported in a statement by the European Asylum on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), the ruling concerns the case of the parents and brother of an eight-year-old Syrian who has subsidiary protection status, with the support of the Swedish Refugee Advice Centre. They appealed the decision of an immigration appeals court to refuse their request to join the boy on the grounds that it violated family law under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and articles 3, 9 and 10 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, among other things.
Best interests of minors
The Swedish appeals court said that the refusal to let family members join the minor is disproportionate in terms of the right to family life, considering the best interest of the family and of Sweden in reducing the number of refugee arrivals. The court stressed that further delays in family unification would go against the superior interest of the minor. According to the Swedish agency for migration, the sentence will likely have an impact on many cases and should be carefully examined. The agency had expressed concern for the suspension of family unifications even before the temporary legislation was adopted.