Asylum Seeker Suicides On the Rise in Sweden

VANERSBORG, SWEDEN - FEBRUARY 12: A refugee walks on the hallway of his building of the Sweden's largest temporary camp for refugges at the former psychiatric hospital Restad Gard on February 12, 2016 in Vanersborg, Sweden. Last year Sweden received 162,877 asylum applications, more than any European country proportionate to …
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Several asylum seekers in Sweden have killed themselves in recent weeks, and the government has held a crisis meeting to find the cause and deal with the issue.

Five asylum seekers have taken their lives in Sweden, three of them in the last two weeks alone. The migrants have two things in common, all were young Afghan asylum seekers, and they were all scheduled to be deported. The problem is especially prevalent among young asylum seekers who even encourage others to kill themselves online Deutschlandfunk reports.

Psychologist Julia Tiberg works with young migrants at Vi står inte ut, an organisation dedicated to helping young asylum seekers in Sweden. Tilberg said, “We observe young asylum seekers in closed internet forums encouraging each other to commit suicide,” adding, “suicide is also considered moral by the group and is for the sake of others, to affect the current policy.”

Ombudsman Fredrik Malmberg has backed up the claims saying, “I have been informed by the social authority that there are seemingly organised suicidal thoughts among asylum seekers without families, which is extremely worrying because several of them have actually committed suicide.”

In the past year around 3,000 underage Afghan migrants have arrived in Sweden and 600 of them have been rejected for asylum status. Of those rejected, many have been allowed to stay in Sweden because they claim not to have any family back in their native country. 

Musse Hossein is an asylum seeker from Afghanistan who tries to help his fellow countrymen. He said of the underage migrants he has met, “they feel lonely, have mental problems, and when their asylum petition is rejected, the situation is, of course, serious.”

Over the past year, Sweden has also had problems with abuse in underage migrant homes. In February of last year, a 15-year-old Afghan migrant boy who had recently arrived in Sweden was tricked into going to a field near his asylum home by several other underage asylum seekers who proceeded to beat him and rape him

A few months later in April, another underage migrant was sexually abused. In that case, the victim was a 15-year-old girl, and her attacker was another Afghan migrant who claimed to be underage, though authorities discovered that he was lying about his age and had only been in Sweden for two days before the attack.  

Another boy was sexually abused by Afghan migrants in December in the Swedish city of Uppsala. The boy, who is said to have been under 15, was lured by five underage Afghans to a wooded area where the boys sexually abused him, beat him and filmed the ordeal on their mobile phones. 

 Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at


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