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Sweden joined the European Union (EU) in 1995 and the Schengen area in 2001. In 1954, Sweden ratified the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and acceded to its Protocol in 1967. Sweden ratified the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons in 1965, and acceded to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness in 1969. Sweden is a member of UNHCR’s Executive Committee (ExCom).

The Swedish authorities are responsible for decisions concerning the determination of refugee status. UNHCR has a supervisory role and is not directly involved in Sweden’s national refugee status determination process. The Regional Representation supports the Swedish authorities and other stakeholders in the implementation of the 1951 Refugee Convention, and in meeting European and international standards.

Sweden cooperates extensively with UNHCR on a national, regional, and global level. Sweden is a significant donor as well as a strong supporter of the UNHCR Resettlement Program, receiving the highest number of resettled refugees in Europe.

UNHCR has been present in Sweden since 1986, when what is now UNHCR’s Regional Representation for Northern Europe was opened in Stockholm. In Sweden, UNHCR’s main activities include:  

  • Promoting integration,
  • Raising awareness of issues that affect people who fall under UNHCR’s mandate, and
  • Reducing statelessness. 
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