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Executive Summary for June 22nd

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including Sweden tightening its asylum laws, Hungarian police being investigated over a migrant drowning and Jordan sealing its last entry point for Syrian refugees.

Published on June 22, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Sweden Tightens Asylum Laws

Sweden has passed new measures to tighten its asylum and family reunification regulations. The legislation, which was passed by an overwhelming majority of Swedish lawmakers, makes the country’s regulations among the most restrictive in Europe.

Sweden, which received a record 163,000 asylum seekers last year, will apply the new rules to all applications received since November 2015. The Scandinavian country has taken in more refugees than any European country other than Germany, and has granted asylum to more people proportionate to its population.

Under the new framework, asylum seekers who were previously granted permanent residence will now get only temporary status, which will restrict their ability to bring family members to live with them in the Nordic country.

The temporary measures have been passed for an initial three-year period, despite strong criticism from organizations including Save the Children, which said the regulations were “inhumane.”

Hungarian Police Investigated Over Drowned Syrian

The drowning of a Syrian man in a river has prompted the first investigation of the Hungarian police for possible abuse of migrants.

Prosecutors have been called in to examine the death of Farhan al-Hwaish, 22, in the Tisza river as he attempted to cross from Serbia to Hungary.

His brother, who was in the water with him, says police on the Hungarian side sprayed them with gas and unleashed police dogs to prevent them climbing out of the river. Police have denied any wrongdoing.

“We will examine what happened, and whether any of the police who were on duty on the given stretch of the border can be held criminally responsible,” a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office told Reuters.

Jordan Closes Last Remaining Entry Point for Syrians

Jordan has declared a “militarized zone” in its northeastern desert where it borders Syria and Iraq, in response to a suicide bombing on June 21.

The order closes the last remaining entry point for Syrian refugees and apparently cuts off aid workers from tens of thousands of Syrians camped in the border area.

Six Jordanian border guards were killed when an attacker drove a car bomb into a military post. The attack has since been claimed by ISIS. It follows a June 6 incident in the capital Amman in which five people, including three Jordanian intelligence officers, were killed.

Jordan, which has already accepted more than 600,000 Syrian refugees, closed its other border points with its troubled neighbor in 2013. The Kingdom has been urged by aid organizations to admit the estimated 50,000 Syrians camped at Rakban in the now militarized border area. It has so far resisted these calls.

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