Sweden to deport 106-year-old refugee to Afghanistan

Av | 17 augusti 2017

Bibikhal Uzbeki from Afghanistan is reputed to be the world’s oldest refugee. Under difficult circumstances, she and her family escaped the Taliban’s invasion of the city of Kunduz to Sweden. Blankspot can now reveal that she is to be deported.

At 106 years old, Bibikhal Uzbeki became a global news item when the international press met her in a refugee camp in Croatia in 2015. She was reputed at that time to be the world’s oldest refugee. Several months later, she and her family arrived in Lundsbrunn in Skaraborg, Sweden, where they sought asylum.

But in June her application was rejected and she is now under threat of expulsion. According to the decision by the Swedish Migration Agency, she is to travel back to Afghanistan, or any other country that is prepared to accept her.

Bibikahl’s legal representative has appealed the decision by the migration agency, but the case has yet to come before the courts.

Together with her family, Bibkahl fled from the northern Afghan city of Kunduz in 2015 after a Taliban invasion. The journey through Iran, Turkey and Greece took several months, and as Bibikahl cannot walk by herself, her son and grandchildren took turns in carrying her on their backs.

“It was a difficult journey for the whole family. We carried her until we got to Germany, where a doctor finally gave us a wheelchair,” her son Mohammadhulla told the local newspaper Skaraborgs Läns Tidning in 2015.

The elderly woman was very relieved after her tough journey to Sweden.

Bibihal Uzbeki rests in Croatia’s main refugee camp at Opatovac, Croatia, near the border with Serbia, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015.  (AP Photo/Marjan Vucetic)

“I am happy because my children and grandchildren are here and they are safe. That is the most important thing,” she said as she arrived at the refugee center.

For generations, her family has made a living on their own farm, but they cannot return due to the battles that have taken place in Kunduz and that have seen at least 840 civilians killed.

“Day and night we long for home, but there is no future there any more,” her grandson Mohammad told, Skaraborgs Läns Tidning, in 2016.

See also: The 106 year old women is suffering from a stroke, after being informed about the negative asylum decision. (Swedish)

Blankspot is a Swedish digital platform for journalism, reported from around the world. Our goal is to tell the stories that do not get told. Read more. 

Translation: Philip O´Connor

Av | 17 augusti 2017

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