September 4, 2017
A 106-year-old woman thought to be the world’s oldest refugee is set to be deported after being denied asylum in Sweden.
Bibihal Uzbeki’s son and grandson carried her on their backs as they fled from Kunduz in northeastern Afghanistan via Iran and Turkey in the hopes of finding haven in Europe.
Their journey made headlines in 2015, when they were part of a huge influx of people who came to Europe from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries. They traveled by foot and on trains through the Balkans before reaching Sweden.
Two years later, she and her 11 family members are living in the small village of Hova, in central Sweden.
Her family says Uzbeki has suffered a stroke since her application was rejected. They say traveling back to Afghanistan is out of the question for the bed-bound centenarian who is unable to see, speak or walk.
The family is appealing the decision.
The Swedish Migration Agency confirmed in a statement to the Associated Press they had “taken a decision regarding an expulsion in the case,” adding “generally speaking, high age does not in itself provide grounds for asylum.”
People whose applications are rejected are allowed up to three appeals, a time-consuming process. The applications of other family members are in various stages of appeal.