05:55 GMT16 January 2021
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    Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe (162)

    Swedish Justice and Migration Minister Morgan Johansson has landed in hot water after posting an unflattering picture of himself surrounded by grown-ups he claimed to be "unaccompanied refugee children," all of whom appeared to be taller than the minister. Ironically, Johansson's boss Stefan Löfven has already treaded these hot waters before.

    Morgan Johansson, who in recent weeks emerged as a staunch defender of Sweden's immigration policies against US President Donald Trump, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage and a plethora of anti-migrant politicians on the home front, has landed in trouble over a dubious tweet.

    "Met yesterday with unaccompanied [refugee] youths who shared their experience of being a refugee and going through the asylum process. Very educational!" Morgan Johansson's tweet read, supplemented with a self-describing image.

    ​However, this seemingly harmless post, in which the Swedish Minister appeared to be the shortest one, triggered a storm of caustic comments from users who ventured that some of the so-called "refugee children" did not look like children at all.

    A police car is seen as several cars were set on fire during a riot, according to local media, in Rinkeby suburb, outside Stockholm, Sweden February 20, 2017.
    © REUTERS / TT News Agency/Christine Olsson
    "So the kids are taller than the minister, huh?" a user commented.

    "How does it feel to be the smallest and the youngest in the class?" a third one inquired, challenging Johansson's description of the "unaccompanied youths."

    "Good thing you found a girl also, that's neat and tidy. By the way, what kindergarten were you in?" another user jested, mocking the perennial efforts from Sweden's government, which considers itself "feminist," to achieve gender equality at all levels.

    Yet another user turned to an automatic age-identification app to determine how old the Minister's new friends were. Remarkably, the "youths" on the picture were guesstimated to be between the ages of 22 and 44, almost as old as 46-year-old Johansson himself.

    ​Ironically, a similar picture of Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in the company of "refugee children" that he described as an "extremely motivated gang" lit up Swedish social media as a model example of a publicity stunt gone wrong. Löfven's image of borderline adults triggered an endless spate of sarcastic comments. Many users noted dryly that they saw no children in the picture, whereas others derisively inquired if Löfven had brought the "kids" toys to play.

    Previously, numerous reports revealed widespread age fraud, identifying single instances of adults aged 30 and over posing as teens. The Swedish age-verification system, which has hitherto mostly relied on interviews, was repeatedly criticized as "naïve."

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    Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe (162)


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    refugee children, asylum seekers, migrant crisis, Stefan Löfven, Morgan Johansson, Scandinavia, Sweden
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