In 2015, when approximately 35,369 “unaccompanied minors” came to Sweden, 66% of them were from Afghanistan. This was a staggering number. (In 2016 and 2017, only 3,533 unaccompanied minors came to Sweden.) In 2015, the high proportion of Afghans among the unaccompanied minors made the migrant group “unaccompanied minors” virtually synonymous with Afghani youth. During the last ten years, approximately 33,000 unaccompanied minors arrived in Sweden from Afghanistan.
In mid-August 2017, some young Afghan migrants, many of whose asylum applications had been rejected, started a series of demonstrations in central parts of Stockholm. The young migrants were demanding that the Swedish Migration Agency stop deporting them back to Afghanistan. Behind the demonstrations was a network calling itself “Young in Sweden”. It did not take long before the Swedish media hailed the spokesperson of these demonstrations, Fatemeh Khavari, as a heroine. Six weeks after the demonstrations began, Aftonbladet, Sweden’s largest newspaper, wrote:
“The image of a girl with supernatural powers appears. In two years she has learned Swedish. The sit-ins she leads have spread across the country. Her goal is to become Prime Minister. In another time she would have been praised as a heroine. One who gets medals of honor from the king and is compared to historic human rights activists. Her movement would have been described as a generation of kids and youths who fought for life at any price.”