Despite clearly contradicting Swedish law, underage immigrant wives have been repeatedly allowed to stay with their husbands by Sweden’s local municipalities, which defend their decisions by citing humanitarian issues. An immigrant crisis of unprecedented proportions has brought with it problems which Sweden hadn’t known previously, such as polygamy and underage brides. Recently, two juvenile immigrant girls in Karlskrona were reported to be staying with their husbands. Neither of the girls was separated from their adult men, even though minors are not allowed to tie the knot in Sweden.
One of the cases involves an underage wife who came to Karlskrona with her husband and a small child.
In the other case, the girl was pregnant upon arrival. Despite these obvious violations of Swedish law, Karlskrona Social Committee chairperson Ingrid Hermansson of the Center Party defended the municipality’s decision. The rule of the thumb in such cases, the community acts “for the child’s best” interest.
“We do not accept or condone child marriages, but the law also states that individual trials should be conducted in each case. Our assessment was that the girls could live with their men during the asylum process,” Ingrid Hermansson said during the debate with the regional council, as quoted by the local newspaper Blekinge Läns Tidning. This approach, however, was not shared by Camilla Brunsberg of the Conservative Party, who contended that the couples should have been dissolved.
According to Brunsberg, the girls should have instead been placed in a residential care home for children and young persons, whereas their spouses should have been referred to the Migration Board’s asylum residence. Brunsberg argued that there was no other alternative, as all other solutions implied that Sweden was backtracking in its acceptance of child marriage.