The Swedish Migration Agency has decided to keep the locations of refugee housing facilities secret, following 21 being torched since March.
Yesterday, the municipality of Danderyd, a town located north of Stockholm, announced that a new residence for 70 asylum seekers will be opened in November, in facilities that previously belonged to a public school. But around 2AM this morning (28 October), the building was set alight.
On Tuesday (27 October), a building that was meant to be used for refugee accommodations in Färingtofta, in southern Sweden, was likewise destroyed in an arson attack.
In order to prevent more fires, the Migration Agency has decided to make it harder for the public to locate the addresses of planned homes for asylum seekers. This means that 66,000 residences will be kept a secret.
“The level of security has deteriorated and it’s worrying with all these fires. We will keep the residences a secret so that they won’t become common knowledge,” said Willis Åberg, operations manager at the Migration Agency, according to Radio Sweden.
“We want to be a transparent authority, but in this case we believe it’s better not to be so open in order to limit the risks,” he continued.
Germany and Sweden are the two countries in the EU that have witnessed the most attacks on refugee sheltersin 2015. They also accepted the most asylum seekers in the EU this year.
In Sweden, close to 100,000 people have asked for asylum so far this year. The Migration Agency says the number could double in the near future.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has repeatedly condemned the arson attacks, saying, “This is not the Sweden I know and want to see.”
After having had an open approach to immigration for decades, a majority of Swedish parliamentarians passed stiffer rules for migration last week .
The rules include the introduction of a temporary residence permit, for three years, for adults who arrive in Sweden without children.
The temporary residence permit can only be extended if a refugee still needs protection, or has found a job.
The European Union has agreed on a plan, resisted by Hungary and several other ex-communist members of the bloc, to share out 120,000 refugees among its members, a small proportion of the 700,000 refugees the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates will reach Europe's borders from the Middle East, Africa and Asia this year.
The EU is also courting Turkey with the promise of money, visa-free travel, and new accession talks if Ankara tries to stem the flow of refugees across its territory.
- 2016/2017: New, tighter, migration rules in Sweden to enter into force.
- Sweden's Radio: Now all centres for asylum seekers will be secret [In Swedish]