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Swedish Authorities Expel Romani family to Serbia

22 July 2005

According to information provided to the ERRC by the Swedish Red Cross (SRC), on May 31, 2005, Swedish authorities forcibly expelled a Romani family to Serbia. On January 17, 2005, the Swedish Aliens Appeals Board rejected the second appeal against a negative asylum decision by the Swedish Migration Board of Mr Mehmed Limoni, age 43, his wife, 39-year-old Ms Nizajeta Limoni, and their six children – Senad, 17, Samir, 15, Sultijan, 10, Sedat, 9, Sultijana, 5, and 1-year-old Sunita who was born in Sweden – a Romani family from Berivojce, Kosovo. The family was originally intended to be expelled on February 1.The SRC informed the ERRC that on the basis of the family's health information below, a representative of that office, Ms. Ingrid Schioler, submitted yet another application to the Aliens Appeals Board on January 31, 2005, and requested a stay on the expulsion of the Limoni family. On February 1, the Aliens Appeals Board reportedly issued a negative decision regarding the stay on expulsion. A new date for the expulsion of the Limoni family to Belgrade was set for February 21. However, on February 20, Senad attempted suicide and remained in hospital so the expulsion did not take place.

According to the SRC, following the disappearance of their 5-year-old daughter Senada in 2000, Ms Limoni, Sultijan, Sedat and Sultijana arrived in Sweden in May 2001 after fleeing Kosovo to Serbia. Upon arrival in Sweden, Ms Limoni, Sultijan, Sedat and Sultijana immediately applied for asylum and Ms Limoni was hospitalised for treatment of her heart condition. During this time, Sultijan, Sedat and Sultijana stayed with their grandparents who live in Sweden with regular residence permits. Upon her release from hospital, Ms Limoni also moved in with her relatives. Mr Limoni, Senad and Samir lived in a camp run by Russian K-for soldiers in Kosovo until August 2002 when they fled to Sweden directly from Kosovo and immediately applied for asylum.

The SRC reports that with the exception of Sunita all members of the Limoni family suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In addition, Ms Limoni requires constant treatment for her heart condition and Senad reportedly tried to commit suicide at the beginning of February 2005. Samir has recently undergone surgery to remove a cyst from his right ear. He currently reportedly cannot hear from this ear and another operation is planned to ensure that the entire cyst was removed and to rebuild the bone. Sedat is reportedly extremely traumatised, and Sultijana experiences extremely slow physical development. Given the present situation in Kosovo, it is unlikely that the family members will have access to adequate health care to treat their illnesses.

According to the SRC, all members of the Limoni family with the exception of the Ms Limoni and Senad were returned to Serbia on May 31. Ms Limoni was left behind to assist in the search for her son Senad who went missing previous to deportation.

To view the full text of the ERRC letter of concern sent to Barbro Holmberg, Sweden's Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy, please visit the ERRC website at: cms/upload/media/01/3E/m0000013E.doc.

(SRC)

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The ERRC is a public interest law organisation that defends the human rights of Roma throughout Europe and serves as a legal resource centre for advocates working in this field since 1996. The ERRC pursues its objectives by engaging in legal representation, research, monitoring and reporting, human rights education and international advocacy. The ERRC operations are primarily funded by strictly regulated donations, requiring timely and detailed reporting and control.  

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