Iraqi Refugees in Sweden: A Yazidi Activist Speaks

Since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, minority communities, some of whom have lived in the country for more than two millennia, have faced targeted persecution including kidnapping, rape, murder and destruction of homes and businesses, because of their ethnic and religious identities. They form a disproportionate amount of those who have fled to neighbouring countries in Jordan and Syria, and those who have sought refuge further afield. Their very presence as communities in Iraq is now under threat and as they are spread thin across the globe, they face fresh challenges of keeping their families together and their ancient communities, traditions and languages, alive.

The small town of Sodertalje, Sweden has taken more Iraqi refugees than the whole of the USA and Canada combined. But the persecution they face in Iraq is not proving enough to win them safety in Sweden. A combination of forced return and incentives from the Iraqi and Swedish governments to promote voluntary return, as well as thorough knowledge of the specific problems minorities face, mean some are being refused asylum. All of those interviewed here however believe that return would be impossible.

This film is one of five hard-hitting short films featuring interviews with Iraqi asylum seekers and refugees from minority communities including Mandaeans, Yazidis and Assyrian Christians, made by independent filmmaker Ben Crowe ( and MRG in Sweden, August 2008.

The films were shot in conjunction with research interviews that took place for the MRG report "Uncertain Refuge, Dangerous Return: Iraq's Uprooted Minorities" (launched 24th September 2009).

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Date: 31/07/2009




Religion/Religious minorities

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