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World’s oldest refugee refused asylum

1 September 20170 comments

A 106-year-old refugee – said to be the world’s eldest – is set to be sent back to Afghanistan by Sweden’s immigration authorities,

According to media reports, centenarian Bibihal Uzbeki made her way through Europe in 2015, mostly on foot, with her family as they escaped the Taliban.

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 at times 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 a local Swedish newspaper in 2015.

Bibkhal told local media she was very relieved after her tough journey to Sweden.

”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 a refugee centre.

For generations, her family has made a living on their own farm, but they said they could not return home because of  the battles that have taken place in Kunduz and that have seen at least 840 civilians killed.

But in June her application for asylum 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 lawyer has appealed the decision by the migration agency, but the case has yet to come before the courts.

In 2016, almost 70,000 people were given protection in Sweden after seeking asylum, with 1,889 additional refugees granted permits to enter the country under the annual refugee quota.


Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist