In August 2014, thirty Palestinian refugees in Sweden, mostly young men from the West Bank and Gaza, began a hunger strike to demand asylum from the Swedish government. As Åsa Jansson reports for Electronic Intifada, this hunger strike has taken a toll on these young refugees, but in coordination with local activists, they have persisted and managed to catch the government’s attention.
At the time of Jannson’s report, thirteen protesters had been hospitalized due to the hunger strike. Some of the hunger strikers have also refused water. Jansson reports that refugees from other countries, including Syria, have already been given asylum. An attorney and former employee of Sweden’s Board of Migration, Birgitta Elfström, observed that Sweden’s rejection of the stateless Palestinians’ asylum claims violates the United Nation’s 1951 Refugee Convention, a cornerstone of international human rights law.
In the eyes of international media, only the Electronic Intifada has fully touched on this specific hunger strike in Sweden. The story has received some attention from smaller European-based news organizations, though mostly in response to the coverage by Electronic Intifada. Corporate media, such as the BBC and CNN, mention the influx of Middle Eastern refugees, but have not covered the Palestinian refugees’ hunger strike in Sweden.
Source: Åsa Jansson, “Palestinian refugees in Sweden hunger strike to demand asylum, The Electronic Intifada, August 19, 2014, http://electronicintifada.net/content/palestinian-refugees-sweden-hunger-strike-demand-asylum/13777.
Student Researcher: Benjamin Chapman (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Nicole Wolfe (Sonoma State University)