Åke Ericson – Beyond Afghanistan – The struggle of the refugees

The photo book Afghani Struggle is a photo-essay about the unaccompanied young refugees from Afghanistan and their struggle to create a life in Sweden.

For two months in the late summer and autumn of 2017, there was a sit-down protest against Sweden’s deportations. Photojournalist Åke Ericson got to know many of those who participated and has since followed the fates of several lives through the asylum process.

Some were granted residence permits, while others had their applications rejected and are in hiding or have fled to other places in Europe, so as to avoid forced deportation to Kabul.

Åke Ericson has followed the young Afghans in their everyday lives after receiving their deportation orders, on the train while fleeing to France and in the tent camps under the bridges of Paris. He has also met many who are locked-up in the Swedish Migration Agency’s detention centre, where they sit, often for many months, waiting to be deported to Afghanistan.

Their individual stories are an important part of the story of a society in change, when humanitarian principles were laid aside and Sweden carried out a dramatic tightening of its refugee policy.

For 58 days, in late summer and autumn 2017, unaccompanied young people from Afghanistan are protesting against how they are treated by Swedish authorities. Since the vast majority of them came to the country in the autumn of 2015, Swedish refugee policy has changed and more have been deported. The young Afghans are alleged to be lying about their age, collective mass deportations are becoming more common.

During the 2017 protests, Åke Ericson begins his documentation of the young refugees’ situation. In collaboration with the journalist and author Thord Eriksson, he has visited them in the Migration Board’s detention center, during the continued flight when the hope of a future in Sweden has run out, to the tent cities in the outskirts of Paris where many are forced to seek refugee.

The project has been exhibited in Sweden.

The exhibition in 31 framed pictures:
5 photos: 40x60cm
20 photos: 50x75cm
6 photos: 70×105 cm