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Swedish Liberals and far-right clash over school’s duty to report illegal children

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An argument broke out between the ruling Liberals and their ally far-right party, Sweden Democrats, over the obligation for schools to report children from undocumented families on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD) reportedly demanded that the Liberal Party’s education spokesman, Fredrik Malm, not be allowed to attend a planned press conference over the disagreement.

Less than a year ago, the Liberals joined the Moderates and the Christian Democrats in a coalition backed by the eurosceptic Sweden Democrats, who have no ministry but have been granted the application of their immigration policy in exchange for their support for the government.

The Liberal Party has been heavily criticised both at home and abroad since it joined the far-right-backed coalition and has lost ground in the polls as such an alliance is seen by many as contrary to its core values and previous promises, as the current dispute with the SD shows.

In this case, the controversial obligation to report people without a residence permit caused a stir in Sweden, and last summer the government and the SD agreed on guidelines for investigations.

The controversial reporting obligation refers to the fact that municipalities and authorities are obliged to report persons residing illegally in Sweden to the police and the Migration Board.

But in recent days a rift has appeared between the coalition parties, with the Liberals and the SD having different views on the issue, namely when it comes to schools, which are part of the country’s public administration.

On Monday, Fredrik Malm wrote a debate article in Expressen in which he stated that school staff should not be subject to the reporting obligation, with reference to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“The Convention on the Rights of the Child has the same status as Swedish law, and it establishes the right of all children to education. We therefore envisage that exceptions will be made for employees in schools and healthcare, among other things”, Malm wrote on Monday.

He was countered by Ludvig Aspling, the SD’s spokesman on migration policy.

“The right to education is not affected by the duty to inform, because these children can go to school in their home country. What affects the right to education in this situation are parents who ignore laws and administrative decisions,” Aspling told Radio Ekot on Tuesday.

Now, the far-right SD party is demanding that Malm be replaced by another member of the Liberal Party, otherwise, the press conference risks being cancelled in order to avoid an “open conflict” between the two signatories of the coalition parties,

(Charles Szumski EURACTIV.com)

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