Migrant Tales published Thursday a story about a list of complaints by an asylum seeker of the Villa Meri reception center of Rauma, located 91 kilometers north of the southwestern city of Turku. The reception the story got was quite a surprise considering that present and former volunteers of Villa Meri accused me of racism, hating and using all asylum seekers, hating all reception center workers, and of having an agenda.
UPDATE: Migrant Tales will have news on the case Saturday.
One of these volunteers even threatened to sue me.
For what? For publishing what an asylum seeker’s list of complaints?
Doesn’t the Villa Meri asylum reception center have any rules about who can speak on behalf of the reception center? If not, it shows that there is either mismanagement or no management at the center.
The same complaints that were given to Migrant Tales in March from asylum seekers at Villa Meri hadn’t changed in November with the horrific exception that a rape of an adolescent was committed.
Migrant Tales was heatedly criticized on Facebook’s Rasmus by former and present volunteers of Vill Meri for asking a sensible question: How is it possible that an adolescent visitor gets raped at the center?
To that question, we heard some of the most incredible excuses like it’s not the job of the staff to watch over asylum seekers and visitors like children. The staff isn’t responsible for what happened hto the adolescent, was echoed by another visitor.
While the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) doesn’t give recommendations to asylum centers on how to improve security, it’s the security guards job at the center to ensure the staff’s and asylum seekers’ safety.
I’d be very surprised if an exhaustive investigation isn’t being conducted now to find out why an adolescent was raped at the center. Even if some claim that the staff and management aren’t responsible for what happened, they are if negligence can be proven.
Some asylum centers in Finland take precautions. One such center in southern Finland does the following:
1) visitors are watched by the staff; (2) corridors are watched by camera; (3) empty rooms are locked (the rape at Villa Meri took place in an empty unlocked room); (4) there are areas of the camp that are off limits to visitors and asylum seekers.
Will such measures prevent a rape? It will make it harder for someone who has rape on his mind.
On top of possible negligence, there’s another factor that incriminates the staff and management. The asylum seekers allegedly warned them that something bad could happen to the adolescent that was raped. They alleged the adolescent had a “bad reputation” (sic!) because she hung around men and boys, which is taboo for single adolescents and women in some Middle East regions.
Why weren’t the warnings of the asylum seekers taken on board and acted upon?
If the asylum seekers are to be believed, relations with the manager of the camp, Päivi Nikkola, are poor as with the staff. Moreover, the camp manager is never around and impossible for the asylum seekers to meet and talk with her.
It may well be that some heads may roll at Villa Meri for what happened.
But the most important matter that we can learn from what happened is to not commit the same mistakes committed at the reception center in Rauma.
The Villa Meri center is run by Hoivapalvelu Metsätähti, a private company owned by Mehiläinen.