(Migrants’ Rights Network) The Calais Jungle – a beacon for the fight against refugee injustice


Don Flynn

Näyttökuva 2015-5-3 kello 12.52.32

The Jungle camp in Calais has challenged the indifference of official Europe to the plight of refugees for close on two decades. It has survived previous attempts at demolition. As long as the grievances that gave rise to remain it will come back to haunt the conscience of the continent.

Family reunification in Finland can easily cost a migrant thousands of euros


Affluent Nordic countries like Finland are making it legally near-difficult never mind costly to reunite families of migrants thanks to the tightening of family reunification guidelines that came into force in July.  How much would it cost for an asylum seeker who got a residence permit before July and applied to get his wife and three children aged 9, 7 and 4 to Finland?

Is your answer 1,000 euros or over 10,000 euros?

The Finnish government places a price tag on migrant families. No money, no family. Source: Arab News.

If the figure is a four-digit number, where are these people, who are former asylum seekers, going to raise thousands of euros if many have lost everything to come to Europe?

Why would a country like Finland, which claims to abide by Nordic values such as social equality and respect for family life, want to separate families indefinitely?

Zygmunt Bauman is one of the best-known social thinkers of our time. He believes that asylum seekers who come to Europe instill fear in some of us for a very basic reason.

“[They are] people who yesterday were proud of their homes, were proud of their position in society, were very often very well educated, very well-off and so on,” Bauman is quoted as saying in Al-Jazeera. “But they are refugees now…Refugees, ’embody all our fears’ of losing everything. Yesterday they were very powerful back in their country, like we are here [in Europe] today.”

In order to answer voters’ uncertainty and their fear of losing everything, populist anti-immigration politicians tell us a big lie:  Vote for me and I will give you security. We will take these refugees and hide them from your sight. We won’t allow their families to come here so they cannot reporduce here and upset our white society. If we don’t see these people, they won’t remind us  – as Bauman stated – that we may be one day in the same boat as they.

Without going into a deep discussion about the fear of losing our standing in society, the Finnish government tightened family reunification guidelines in June. The new guidelines came into force in July.

If you are lucky to have received your residence permit before July, you won’t have to make 2,600 euros after taxes in order to bring your spouse and two children to Finland.

But let’s go back to the original question: How much would it cost a former asylum seeker who got a residence permit to bring his wife and three children to Finland?

According to the Iraqi who got a residence permit before July, the total cost to bring his family would be over 10,000 euros. There is no guarantee as well that the Finnish Immigration Service will grant his family a visa to live in Finland even if he raises such a sum of cash.


Pitajänuutiset: “Etstimme turvaa Suomesta”


Pertunmaan pakolaisnuoret huolissaan kiristyneestä turvapaikkapolitiikasta. 

Pertunmaalla entisessä Nipulin koulun tiloissa toimiva vastaanottokeskus nuorille pakolaisille on ollut toiminnassa kohta vuoden.

16 alaikäistä turvapaikanhakijan ovat kiitoksia suomalaisille saamastaan turvasta, mutta he ovat myös huolissaan Suomen kiristyneestä turvapaikkapolitiikasta.

Mahdi ja Zarif haluavatkin lähettää terveisiä ulkoministeri Timo Soinille.

– Miksi meitä halutaan pois Suomesta? Ymmärrätkö, että tulimme sodan keskeltä? Haluamme opiskella ja rakentaa elämää Suomessa, parivaljakko tähdentää.

Samaa korostaa Irakin Kurdistanista kotoisin olevan Ahmed, jolle kaksi tärkeä asiaa ovat turva ja ihmisoikeudet.


Pertunmaan nuorista turvapaikanhakijoista osa on löytänyt opiskelupaikan Otavan Opistosta. Yksi heistä on Mostafa.


Migrant Tales’ hindsight column: Two stories that are supposed to wither away


Migrant Tales launches a new column called “hindsight.” The aim of the column is to look at stories in the media and how the authorities shrug their shoulders hoping that a particular story, which may cause some em embarrassment or put them in an awkward position will be be forgotten for good. The column aims as well to ask why the media doesn’t ask serious questions about cases involving migrants and why important stories are forgotten by the media.  


Two stories published by Migrant Tales revealed how the Keuruu asylum reception center prohibited religious and cultural celebrations. Both of the reception centers are run by the Red Cross. 

The story published in Migrant Tales, which was mentioned in Jyväskylä-based daily Keskisuomalainenquotes the Keuruu center’s manager, Rasul Azizan, as saying that religion is “a personal matter” and therefore asylum seekers cannot practice their faith at the camp.

Let’s go back again and see what Keskisuomalainen actually quoted Azizian as saying:

 “The asylum seekers at the reception center cannot practice their own religion [at the center] but following one’s faith is a personal matter and nobody can infringe on such a right.”

Does this statement published in Keskisuomalainen make sense?

There appear to be two important questions here:

1) shall a center be obliged to have a place of worship within its facilities for religious practices;
2) Do applicants have the right the express their faith in this premise?

Even if there is no law that requires an asylum center to set aside a room where a certain faith can be practiced, it’s clear that such facilities encourage integration and make such a center more governable. This discourages internal conflicts.

Concerning the second question, do asylum seekers have the right to express their faith in the reception center, the answer is a clear yes. The right to practice one faith cannot be undermined and it is an inalienable human and civil right.

So what to do? Azizan and the Red Cross want the story to die. They don’t consider the issue of practicing one’s religion at the center to be an issue even if it is, in my opinion, and infringement of their right to religious freedom.

Read full story (in Finnish) here.


Just for the record, Migrant Tales was in touch with Mikkeli-based daily Länsi-Savo about the following incident that took place on October 2:


UNITED List of Deaths presented at MoMA exhibition



UNITED’s List of Deaths, which includes the details of over 22,000 migrants and refugees who died due to the fatal policies of Fortress Europe, has been included in the exhibition “Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The exhibition explores the ways in which contemporary architecture and design have addressed notions of shelter in light of global refugee emergencies. From the strengthening of international borders to the logistics of mobile housing systems, how we understand shelter is ultimately defined through an engagement with security.

The extract from the UNITED’s List of Deaths presented at the exhibition takes up a whole museum wall, offering a striking view of the death that is wrought by Europe’s inhumane migration policies.


Finland’s Foreign Minister Timo Soini considers new gender and social equality guidelines as “rampant humbug”


Finland is a great country when it comes to good laws that promote social equality. The latest non-discrimination act, which came into force in 2015, is a case in point. Such laws are important in the face of ever-growing social inequality and polarization of society.

Migrant Tales has written recently how the government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä has failed in containing ever-growing racism, bigotry and hate speech in Finland.

Instead of challenging such social ills, the government comprised of the anti-immigration populist Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, Center Party and National Coalition Party, it has passed laws that fuel greater social inequality. One worth mentioning is the tightening of family reunification guidelines.

So what are some important points of the new non-discrimination act and how does it differ from the previous one?

The new non-discrimination act also offers improvements in the monitoring and challenging discrimination at the workplace. The definition of discrimination has been broadened in the new act and also applies as well to religious, sexual minorities, transgender groups as opposed to only ethnic minorities. Companies with over 30 staffers have to draft their own non-discrimination plan.

Read the full story here.

The new act has encouraged the National Board of Education (OPH) to pass new guidelines on how to promote greater gender equality. According to the OPH, the new guidelines do not only concern gender but migrants and minorities at school as well.


Algunos sonidos de la Colonia Finlandesa grabados en 1983 y 1984


Algunos sonidos de la Colonia Finlandesa: Arroyo Mártires, Eino Parkkulainen, Marta Putkuri, Eelis Heikkilä, Helga Niskanen de Heino, Elena Haksluoto de Putkuri, Helmi Gumberg de Andersson, Viljo Niskanen y Nestor Heikkilä.

Aquí tienen otra exposición que se realizó sobre la Colonia Finlandesa durante 2007-2010 en las ciudades finlandesas de Kitee, Tampere, Peräseinäjoki, Helsinki, Mikkeli y Turku.

Hay sólo dos fotos sacadas de mí durante los más de treinta años que visité a la Colonia Finlandesa. Esta es una de las únicas dos fotos que fueron sacadas de mí en la antigua colonia finlandesa.

The manager of the Keuruu asylum reception center prohibits religious and cultural celebrations – is this the Finnish way of welcoming newcomers?


Migrant Tales continues to hear accounts about the Keuruu asylum reception center, where Afghan asylum seekers claim to be treated in a disrespectful manner by the staff with Iranian origin.* One of the many gripes that some asylum seekers have is against the center’s manager, Rasul Azizan, who is referred to as “a dictator” because he imposes his own rule.

One of those rules is that no religious or cultural celebrations can be held at the center.

Migrant Tales got in touch with the Keuruu asylum reception center Thursday on two occasions but the manager, Azizan, never returned my calls.

Refusing people, especially those fleeing war and oppression, from not being able to practice their religion and culture is not only an example of the lack of cultural sensitivity and poor management but against our own sound judgment and sense of fairness. The Finnish Constitution guarantees religious freedom.

The reception center is located 7 kilometers from a small town of 10,000 inhabitants.


Read full story here.


While the reception center manager hasn’t given a reason why he forbids religious and cultural celebrations to take place at the camp, one source claimed it was one way that Azizan discriminates and “teases” Afghans.