Migrants’ Rights Network: Human Rights Court rules that asylum seekers cannot be sent to Greece

by , under All categories, Enrique

Comment: The European Court of Human Rights ruled that an Afghan translator could not be sent from Belgium to Greece due to the lack of human rights of refugees. The ruling has already had an impact on Finland. The Finnish Immigration Service announced today that they will not longer send asylum-seekers to Greece anymore under the Dublin Convention,  which requires refugees to apply for asylum in the first EU country they arrive in.

According to the ruling, Belgium and Greece violated the European Union Convention on Human Rights. Migrant Tales published in December on whether the Dublin Convention should be spiked.

Below is an interesting story written about the landmark ruling on Migrants’ Rights Network.

Do you think the ruling will help asylum-seekers?


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The European Court of Human Rights ruled last week in the case of M.S.S. v Belgium and Greece. It found that the Belgian authorities had violated the rights of asylum seeker M.S.S., and an Afghan national by sending him to Greece using the Dublin II regulation. This in effect means that asylum seekers from the UK cannot be returned to Greece under the Dublin regulation.

The Dublin II regualtion established a procedure which allows EU country governments to send asylum seekers to the country deemed tobe responsible for determining an application for protection under the terms of the Refugee Convention and other humanitarian instruments.

The Dublin regulation presumes that the country to which the asylum seeker is to be returned will itself support the individual’s human rights and will determine the application for refugee status in accordance with the standards of international law.  Lawyers for M.S.S. argued before the Court that asylum procedures in Greece were in such a state of disarray that it could not be presumed that the requirements of international law with respect to refugees were being met.

The press release of the ECHR follows.

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In today’s Grand Chamber judgment in the case M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece (application no. 30696/09), which is final1, the European Court of Human Rights held, by a majority, that there had been:

  • A violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment) of the European Convention on Human Rights by Greece both because of the applicant’s detention conditions and because of his living conditions in Greece;
  • A violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) taken together with Article 3 by Greece because of the deficiencies in the asylum procedure followed in the applicant’s case;
  • A violation of Article 3 by Belgium both because of having exposed the applicant to risks linked to the deficiencies in the asylum procedure in Greece and because of having exposed him to detention and living conditions in Greece that were in breach of Article 3;
  • A violation of Article 13 taken together with Article 3 by Belgium because of the lack of an effective remedy against the applicant’s expulsion order.

The case concerned the expulsion of an asylum seeker to Greece by the Belgian authorities in application of the EU Dublin II Regulation.

Principal facts

The applicant, M.S.S., an Afghan national, left Kabul early in 2008 and, travelling via Iran and Turkey, entered the European Union (EU) through Greece.
On 10 February 2009, he arrived in Belgium, where he applied for asylum. By virtue of the “Dublin II” Regulation2, the Belgian Aliens Office submitted a request for the Greek authorities to take charge of the asylum application. While the case was pending, the UNHCR sent a letter to the Belgian Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy criticising the deficiencies in the asylum procedure and the conditions of reception of asylum seekers in Greece and recommending the suspension of transfers to Greece. In late May 2009, the Aliens Office nevertheless ordered the applicant to leave the country for Greece, where he would be able to submit an application for asylum. The Aliens Office received no answer from the Greek authorities within the two-month period provided for by the Regulation, which it treated as a tacit acceptance of its request. It argued that Belgium was not the country responsible for examining the asylum application under the Dublin II Regulation and that there was no reason to suspect that the Greek authorities would fail to honour their obligations in asylum matters.

1 Grand Chamber judgments are final (Article 44 of the Convention). All final judgments are transmitted to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for supervision of their execution. Further information about the execution process can be found here: www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/execution

2 An EC regulation under which EU Member States are required to determine, based on a hierarchy of criteria, which Member State is responsible for examining an asylum application lodged on their territory.

The applicant lodged an appeal with the Aliens Appeals Board, arguing that he ran the risk of detention in Greece in appalling conditions, that there were deficiencies in the asylum system in Greece and that he feared ultimately being sent back to Afghanistan without any examination of the reasons why he had fled that country, where he claimed he had escaped a murder attempt by the Taliban in reprisal for his having worked as an interpreter for the air force troops stationed in Kabul.

His application for a stay of execution having been rejected, the applicant was transferred to Greece on 15 June 2009. On arriving at Athens airport, he was immediately placed in detention in an adjacent building, where, according to his reports, he was locked up in a small space with 20 other detainees, access to the toilets was restricted, detainees were not allowed out into the open air, were given very little to eat and had to sleep on dirty mattresses or on the bare floor. Following his release and issuance of an asylum seeker’s card on 18 June 2009, he lived in the street, with no means of subsistence.

Having subsequently attempted to leave Greece with a false identity card, the applicant was arrested and again placed in the detention facility next to the airport for one week, where he alleges he was beaten by the police. After his release, he continued to live in the street, occasionally receiving aid from local residents and the church. On renewal of his asylum seeker’s card in December 2009, steps were taken to find him accommodation, but according to his submissions no housing was ever offered to him.

Complaints, procedure and composition of the Court

The applicant alleged that the conditions of his detention and his living conditions in Greece amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of Article 3, and that he had no effective remedy in Greek law in respect of his complaints under Articles 2 (right to life) and 3, in violation of Article 13. He further complained that Belgium had exposed him to the risks arising from the deficiencies in the asylum procedure in Greece, in violation of Articles 2 and 3, and to the poor detention and living conditions to which asylum seekers were subjected there, in violation of Article 3. He further maintained that there was no effective remedy under Belgian law in respect of those complaints, in violation of Article 13.

The application was lodged with the European Court of Human Rights on 11 June 2009. On 12 June 2009, the applicant’s request for an interim measure under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court to have his transfer to Greece suspended was rejected. On 2 July 2009 it was decided to apply Rule 39 against Greece, to the effect that he would not be deported to Afghanistan pending the outcome of the proceedings before the Court.

On 16 March 2010 the Chamber to which the case had been allocated relinquished jurisdiction in favour of the Grand Chamber and on 1 September 2010 a public hearing was held. The Governments of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and the UNHCR were given leave to intervene in the oral proceedings as third parties. Written observations were also received from those parties and from the Centre for Advice on Individual Rights in Europe (“the Aire Centre”), Amnesty International and the Greek Helsinki Monitor.

You can continue reading the story by clicking here.

  1. Norway

    The question was will this help asylum seekers?.

    As theses Asylum do not for a time hold any political influence or power the question should be will this help groups or political parties which support their cause.

    And as I wrote on the other blog Keskusta who are hand tied to EU have lost ground as they had no other choice but to support a EU Bail out and this caused a lost of resentment towards the Finnish government and towards the EU
    This can also be applied to all countries who have to follow all present human rights laws by following theses laws at they presently stand they are creating a larger resentment amongst their citizens

    Yes it may help asylum seekers but not anyone who supports their cause on a political party level.

    • Enrique

      Lots of people are quite rightly angry at the bailouts being given to countries like Ireland and Greece. Even if we don’t want to the real culprit are those bodies that are supposed to regulate these financial institutions. But then that this would stir up more anger against refugees and immigrants is beyond me. I personally believe that the recession is the big culprit. If global growth kicked in much of the bad resentment would diminish. But I still think that our EU institutions and govenment bodies have done a terrible job at regulating banks.

  2. Tony Garcia

    I think it’s unfair to keep sending these people to Greece. The Greeks have enough problems on their own and don’t need more on their shoulder. These people should be sent back to the first safe country they have passed after leave their own country. If they are really looking for a safe place to live, a safe place they can get.

  3. Norway

    The problem with the EU and the ECHR is they believe that their presence and laws are written in stone and can not be replaced or rewritten which makes them think there can not be any cause and effect due over theses Asylum cases . They need to take a hard look because many people don’t share the view that once a law is passed it can never be rewritten or repealed .

    This close to a Finnish election things like just handing it to the True Finns on the plate.

  4. Norway

    That the problem with the EU to supposed to be represent “The People” .Well over the last few years its protected those who have caused a lot of financial hardship to “The people” which shows who the EU really care about most .

    So you can not expect anyone to support or follow any or laws they make. I think a majority of peoples views on the EU have gone from distrust to anger the next step is revenge .
    And theses human rights laws are what a lot of people are looking for as the catalysis they need for their revenge . The EU seriously does need to understand that its walking a dangerous path when it comes to what its citizens want in the next few decades, because even if they do want the EU they do not want the EU we have now..

  5. Tony Garcia

    “This close to a Finnish election things like just handing it to the True Finns on the plate.”

    And add to that the Moscow terrorist attack carried out by Lutherans… What? What are talking about? Of course it was those radical right-wing Lutherans… No? Seriously?

  6. JusticeDemon

    Norway

    Which of your human rights do you consider unnecessary? Do you think the law should protect your life? Should it protect you from torture? Should it protect your privacy? How about your personal liberty? Do you think you are entitled to a fair trial if you are charged with a crime or sued by someone?

    The European Union is based on the idea that trade between countries should be free, fair and equitable. By linking the interests of nations and developing broad areas of collaboration and consensus, it also seeks to maintain peace in Europe. Obviously this does not promote the traditional Viking ideals of conquest, pillage and bloodshed, but putting your horned helmet aside for a moment please tell us what, precisely, you find objectionable about it.

  7. JusticeDemon

    lol @ Tony the Toby

    I think it’s far more likely that the Moscow bombing is linked to the war waged by Russia in the Caucusus, but if you insist that it was radical right-wing Lutherans…

    Anyway, we’ll have to see what the Militsiya unearth in this case (or at least what their political masters allow them to discover).

  8. JusticeDemon

    Ricky

    You covered this story back in December and I commented indirectly then that Finland would not deliberately adopt a policy of confrontation with the Strasbourg court, thereby doing further damage to its rather fragile human rights record (the worst of the Nordic countries in this regard).

    The latest shift in policy comes as no surprise, and will save a lot of time in the Finnish administrative courts.

    It is important to appreciate that the Dublin Regulation is entirely procedural. It concerns the place where asylum applications are processed, and has no bearing on the substance of that processing. These applicants should now have their applications processed in Finland and decided on merit.

  9. Norway

    At the moment we seeing human rights laws being abused by immigrants and it causing frustration amongst people as they know that most of theses immigrants are not what they pretend to be .
    Most Asylum seekers do not have a valid reason to claim asylum and their claims are motived by economics and they use human rights laws which are there to protect genuine asylum seekers to remain in Europe
    So mos sensible people want human rights laws where the descions are made on what’s best for the country and not the immigrant. The laws we have now are based around sympathy and not a rational awareness of the problems facing Europe

    • Enrique

      –At the moment we seeing human rights laws being abused by immigrants and it causing frustration amongst people as they know that most of theses immigrants are not what they pretend to be .

      Could you be more specific. This is generalizing but how can they break human rights laws if they don’t have any (or very few ones) to begin with?

  10. Tony Garcia

    Enrique, talking about refugees, yooman rites and all this mambo-jambo, tell me, what do you think about the increasing number of Muslims bogus asylum seekers that convert to Christianity a week before being deported?

    • Enrique

      –Muslims bogus asylum seekers that convert to Christianity a week before being deported?

      How many cases? 10s, 100s, 1000s ???

  11. Tony Garcia

    “The laws we have now are based around sympathy and not a rational awareness of the problems facing Europe”

    Welcome to the dream world of the Liberals.

    • Enrique

      –“The laws we have now are based around sympathy and not a rational awareness of the problems facing Europe”

      This is so quaint and conservative friendly. I wonder what your grandparents would have thought about such a statement in Brazil?

  12. Tony Garcia

    “How many cases? 10s, 100s, 1000s ???”

    Far more than Finns that would break a law and discriminate against an immigrant.

    “wonder what your grandparents would have thought about such a statement in Brazil?”

    And that has to do with the whole point exactly how ??????

  13. JusticeDemon

    Norway

    You did not answer the question about which of your human rights you are willing to give up, but I infer from your response that you are not opposed to human rights as such. I think you would agree, for example, that governments should legislate to prevent people from settling their personal disputes by duelling to the death with pistols at dawn.

    Instead, you talk about the abuse of human rights law, but interestingly you choose to talk about this in the context of a judgement of the ECtHR upholding the complaint of an asylum seeker. Now either you are implying that the European Court of Human Rights is somehow abusing human rights law, or that there was something abusive about the applicant’s claim in this case, despite the fact that it was upheld. There is a third possibility: Perhaps you don’t think human rights law should apply to asylum seekers (how dare they accuse us?!). And there is also a fourth option: Perhaps you have simply parroted something that you read in the tabloids and never really thought about.

    …mos[t] sensible people want human rights laws where the de[cis]ions are made on what’s best for the country…

    This remark suggests that you don’t really understand what you are talking about. Human rights are relevant most crucially to vertical relationships, and by the time they reach the ECtHR they have always come down to this. A complaint to the ECtHR is ALWAYS a complaint against a member State. In the present case the complaint was made by M.S.S. against Belgium and Greece.

    Are you suggesting that most people want human rights laws in which individual cases are always decided against the applicant and in favour of the respondent member State? This would mean, for example, that the police could arrest you, detain you without trial, torture you and sentence you to execution, safe in the knowledge that the human rights court would turn down any complaint of a human rights violation. If you don’t mean this, then what do you mean?

    • Enrique

      I think Norway doesn’t know and therefore cannot answer you. I think your question scared him away. So many come, comment and leave because their arguments come down like a stack of cards. So Norway is against habeus corpus? I think that the problem with some of those that argume in such a way depend on sound bites heard from anti-immigration parties and test them on Migrant Blogs. If they are the first to notice their mistake, fine.

  14. JusticeDemon

    lol@Tony the TobyJug

    Sometimes you are so ridiculous that you become impossible to lampoon.

    Never let crass ignorance and prejudice stop you from speaking your mind, eh Toby?

    We are still waiting for you to tell us which of YOUR human rights are unnecessary. We are still waiting for you to quote a source that is not from a neofascist website, a toilet paper tabloid or the American Taliban. We are still waiting for you to show us that you are anything other than a bigoted Brazilian rich kid with no experience of real life.

  15. Norway

    Switzerland passed a law deporting criminals even if they are in danger if they are returned to their home nation this is just the first of many steps in the the rejection of present human rights laws, because human rights law as they stand are based around a delusion and a denial of the issues in Europe at the moment. The choice of the Swiss voters to pass this law and as we all know that the behind this law was the desire to project the Swiss and its identity shows that what I would like human rights to be like across Europe can be achieved as the Swiss have shown there is willingness to pass immigration related laws regardless of the well being of the immigrant when Switzerland is threatened those are the important issues and the rights of the immigrant have no revlance in a situation like this

    • Enrique

      –because human rights law as they stand are based around a delusion and a denial of the issues in Europe at the moment.

      Norway, I think you are a typical case of a Finn who was born in the social welfare state who never suffered. Such a system is suppoed to make you aware of the suffering of others but you failed in that learning by stating that human rights are based around a delusion and denial. That is the way dictators speak to justify their crimes.

    • Enrique

      –Swiss have shown there is willingness to pass immigration related laws regardless of the well being of the immigrant when Switzerland is threatened those are the important issues and the rights of the immigrant have no revlance in a situation like this.

      Why does the far-right like Switzerland. Most of the parties in Finland like Muutos 2011 and even the True Finns speak about bashing immigrants with the help of direct democracy, which is nothing more than the acceptance of a social lynching mob. You should look at it in this fashion: Some countries try to give a liberal view of themselves but in fact have murky undercurrents of which racism is one.

  16. Norway

    Which shows your arguments about what human rights are not in line with the views of Europe if Switzerland is test case for the rest of Europe.
    They to too much based around the new immigrant should be the focus where most people want a human rights which focus more of the rights and the wants for the host nation.
    And I dont think why should suggest that this view would bring police brutality, and I can not understand why you have moral issue that a host nation and its people and its has a right to demand that the decision on human rights law regarding immigrants should based on what best for them foremost. Is that not the human nature of protecting yourself and your identity.

    Question of the day : All all the people who claimed Asylum in Finland how many where granted Asylum compared to those who where not ?

    Which shows that not everyone claiming asylum is what they claim to be and the fact that Finland has based tougher laws is with the intention of stopping those who have hijacked the asylum system for Monterey gain.
    There are genuine asylum seekers but because of the abuse of the asylum laws by theses people and then they are given access to human rights laws this has given an negative view towards those who are genuine asylum seekers.
    Those who have promoted asylum and asylum laws I am afraid to say have done more damage to the reputation of genuine asylum seekers than anyone else could ever do…

  17. Tony Garcia

    Enrique if you had a strong case based on facts and truth you wouldn’t be so afraid of other making their cases and letting the people decide for themselves.

    In Switzerland ALL the parties, not only the SVP, had a chance to make their case. Apparently the SVP’s case was stronger. That’s the problem with you guys, if you really thought you had a strong case you would never fear an open debate.

    Is the True Finns a lynch mob, racist, xenophobic, bla bla bla ? Very well, make your case but let them make theirs. And… good luck to you…

    • Enrique

      –a strong case you would never fear an open debate.

      “Fear” debate? Come on, don’t exaggerate. This blog is an example that we can debate and stand our turf.

    • Enrique

      –Is the True Finns a lynch mob, racist, xenophobic, bla bla bla ? Very well, make your case but let them make theirs. And… good luck to you…

      They are making their case all the time. It is like the myth: “We are the first party to speak openly about immigration (sic!).” There is a big difference, however, in what we say and what the Nuiva gang says: we are not into exclusion but inclusion of everyone into this society. None of us on Migrant Tales are running for office so we don’t have political interests. All that we have, at least from my part, is a sincere wish to speak out against the insults and hysteria from parties like, yes, the True Finns.

      If I spoke like some of them I would be run out of this country. So, expect stronger opposition to parties that are in my opinion xenophobic and promote racism. In my opinion their comments and views of immigrants is shameful and shows their ignorance on a grand scale. That is the beauty of this blog: We are a humble but strong voice of the immigrant and refugee community. I am very proud of this.

  18. Norway

    “Norway, I think you are a typical case of a Finn who was born in the social welfare state who never suffered. Such a system is suppoed to make you aware of the suffering of others but you failed in that learning by stating that human rights are based around a delusion and denial. That is the way dictators speak to justify their crimes”

    This is the difference where we see things in a different way, and where you have failed making and getting your case across towards to Finnish people.

    Because you see the “Asylum” issue as a moral one where most Finns see it as an issue where the merits are weighed up in real issues
    Not all but most Finns don’t see the Asylum issues through the moral viewpoint to make their judgement

    • Enrique

      Norway you seem to forget how many red “refugees” of the Finnish civil war went to the United States and Canada. How many left this country during 1860-1999? Try OVER a million. And now you are speaking about closing the borders and denying asylum-seekers their basic right. But you probably grew up in the cold war where human rights had a bad name and was a threat to national security because it threatened relations with Moscow. Remember how we returned Soviet citizens back to the USSR in those days? What you want is Finland to return to those days. Asylum is a right, or a human right, especialy in a country that claims to be democratic like Finland and an example to the world.

  19. Klay_Immigrant

    The problem is when dealing with asylum or refugee issues left-wingers and liberals alike tend to think of themselves as taking the moral high ground where in their minds they are untouchable forgetting about the economic and practical implications of their decisions. The consequence is that asylum seekers or refugees bogus or not are the ONLY beneficiaries with the host nation and it’s tax payers footing the bill. A simple case of the heart ruling over the head which in politics is not a great attribute.

    Believe it or not no one likes to see suffering but if helping them puts a strain on oneself economically and socially, tough decisions have to be made. According to the Dublin Convention unless asylum seekers/refugees are from Sweden, Norway, Russia or the Baltic States they shouldn’t even be applying to stay in Finland in the first place.

  20. Klay_Immigrant

    Enrique why do you keep harping on about events that happened over 60 years ago? How many Muslims were in Europe at that time? How multicultural was Spain or italy then? It’s a different world now and times have moved on so to justify large amounts of asylum seekers/refugees coming into Finland today because Finns left on mass to the Americas and Sweden a while back is just ludacris. Many Finns anyway since the late 70’s returned back to Finland.

  21. Norway

    Its either you trying to promote Asylum as a moral issue or your bringing up the past the with unbalanced views that because we went to other parts of the world a nearly a century ago Finns have no right to disagree with Asylum and can not complain about the problems it will bring
    And that Finns went as legal migrants your again trying bring a form of immigration into a debate that has no connection with illegal immigration .
    You fail to see that most Finns have seen what Asylum has done to other countries and are not going for regardless if we have no right to do because of our past or that your own moral issues
    means no one is allowed to vote for True Finns

    If your so confident that people agree why dont you stand as a independent or support an independent during the election with your support you should have no trouble winning a easy seat and deal with the True Finns from inside the parliament chamber

  22. Klay_Immigrant

    Or Norway if Enrique is so confident encourage having a referendum and let the public decide as in Switzerland and see the result. No arguing with the majority.

    • Enrique

      Wow, Klay you and Tony have outdone yourselves. What a dynamic duo. Now tell us what the referendum is going to be on? What is it that we are going to be voting on? Kick out all the Muslim? Stop immigrants from certain countries coming to Finland? You both have at least a good sense of humor.

  23. Tony Garcia

    “Or Norway if Enrique is so confident encourage having a referendum and let the public decide as in Switzerland and see the result.”

    I’ll go for that, if Enrique’s case is solid and based on facts and rationality he’ll have no problem with this either.

  24. Norway

    I go for a referendum on the question do you Finland to be multicultural?Its a simple Yes or No

    And being the gentleman which I am I even give Enrique a few months head start to show that I always give the underdog a chance

  25. Klay_Immigrant

    Well for a start could have a carbon copy of the Swiss referendum on deporting criminal foreign citizens back to their home country. Then on immigration precisely whether to allow citizens of non-EU or developed countries to enter when they have no proof of education, skills or money to support themselves. In other words relying totally on welfare benefits for the unforeseeable future. Enrique you seem to have this obsession that I, Tony and others want to kick people out of Finland when none of us have ever even hinted at that.

    I really don’t care where someone is from or what they look like, but if they come to finland and actually offer something in return to Finland for granting residence such as good education, skills and an attitude to integrate then they should be welcomed. The problem is the people from 3rd world countries in general coming to Finland do not offer this. As Tony said immigration should be a two way process where both parties concerned benefit.

    • Enrique

      –Well for a start could have a carbon copy of the Swiss referendum on deporting criminal foreign citizens back to their home country.

      If you are going to have stronger laws there must be a reason. Is crime among immigrants such an issue that we have to hold a referendum? Also, I think there have been some people who have committed grave felonies in the past and deported. But answer the question: Why such a strong stance on this and why aren’t you taking a more vociferous stand on crime in general in society?

      This is a funny view you have of immigration. You sound like the True Finns who believe that immigrants are mostly ignorant, illiterate and have no skills. How much of a chance would a person like this have to immigrate to the country? Nil. You speak about tightening family reunification rules but forget the important role they plays in forming networks and strenghtening inclusion.

      Ok, Klay, you are on. Get your referendum going. I guess you would have to get a petition and then go through a bunch of red tape. Good luck!

  26. Tony Garcia

    “Now tell us what the referendum is going to be on?”

    No, we said we would support the idea, please don’t be silly.

    “Stop immigrants from certain countries coming to Finland? “

    That could be a good one, would you support such a referendum? You have such a strong case, don’t you? As you said many times, Finland is already a multicultural place, so everyone would vote to open all the doors and bring in hundreds of thousands of Muslims, wouldn’t they?

    Once WE are the ones who needs an integration course because we don’t know what the Finns think or want for their country, for you to win such a referendum would be a peace or cake, wouldn’t? My bet? You would win by 99%, at least…

    • Enrique

      –That could be a good one, would you support such a referendum? You have such a strong case, don’t you?

      Stronger than yours. For one, international laws and conventions that Finland has signed. Do you know why Nordic countries are affluent? Exports. They are global players. Now if you are going to get countries pissed off and they are seeing that Finland is trying to pull a fast one by openly prohibiting certain groups from coming here, then that is the road to economic ruin. We are part of the globalized world and part of those markets.

      It is NOT what Finns think but what YOU think and what you can do for Finland. Integration does not mean agreeing with everything one says, or become more nationalistic than Finns. But hey, you suggested the referendum. Do it if you think you think your view on immigration and refugees is right.

  27. Norway

    Finland has had a small number of Educated Non Europeans at this tine Finland was not seen as Multicultural .
    Finland is now having higher number of Non Educated Non Europeans and now Finland is multicultural.

    So is that is what defines Non multicultural Finland and Multicultural Finland ?

    • Enrique

      –Finland has had a small number of Educated Non Europeans at this tine Finland was not seen as Multicultural .

      What is a “non-educated non European?” Could you tell us how you classify such a person, how many you are speaking of and what your source is.

      Finland IS already multicultural even though on a smaller level than other EU countries. 2.9% of the population if from elsehwere. But we have discussed quite comprehensively what multiculturalism is. I guess you mean a society comprising of different cultures.

  28. JusticeDemon

    Klay

    According to the Dublin Convention unless asylum seekers/refugees are from Sweden, Norway, Russia or the Baltic States they shouldn’t even be applying to stay in Finland in the first place.

    You don’t seem to understand the Dublin Regulation, and it also seems that you haven’t looked at Finnair’s map of the world lately.

    The Dublin Regulation signatory States are currently Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Finland is required to take back asylum seekers who have entered the territory of other signatory States via Finland and subsequently lodged their applications in those other signatory States. For historical and other reasons, asylum seekers arriving in Finland (for example in transit via Moscow, Delhi, Hong Kong and Beijing) sometimes try to continue their journeys to other Dublin signatory States before seeking asylum. These signatory States are entitled to return such applicants to Finland, which is correspondingly and reciprocally entitled to return any applicants who have originally reached the territory of the Dublin signatory States through another signatory State.

    This mechanism depends on harmonised asylum policies and practices in the Dublin signatory States. It depends crucially on absolute commitment to the principle of non refoulement and to individual consideration of applications, but also on the provision of a reasonable standard of subsistence to applicants.

    It is this aspect of harmonisation that has failed in Greece, and if this cannot be corrected, then Greece can fully expect to be expelled from the Dublin club. If asylum seekers cannot be returned to Greece on human rights grounds, then the element of reciprocity is lost and it is hard to see how Greece can continue returning asylum seekers to other Dublin signatory States.

    If Finland abandons its commitment to the principles of of non refoulement and individual consideration of applications, then it can likewise expect to be tossed out of the Dublin club (and possible the Council of Europe as well).

    You make a great deal of the notion that some applications are “bogus”, which is evidently intended to imply “dishonest” or “fraudulent”. The first point to make in response to this is that mere rejection of an application for asylum does not constitute a finding that the application was “dishonest” or “fraudulent”, any more than rejection of an application for a discretionary subsistence allowance means that a social welfare applicant was hiding a sack full of cash under the bed. If we had a litmus test for what constitutes a “well-founded fear of persecution”, then we would not need to hire experts to decide these matters and other experts to review those decisions.

    The second point to make is that there is no way to tell, with the required degree of legal certainty, that an application is well-founded or manifestly unfounded without examining the application on its individual merits. If I gave you a collection of securely sealed tinted glass reagent bottles containing various chemical solutions and asked you which were poisonous and which were safe to drink, then you would at least have to test them individually to determine the contents. I am sure you would not bet your own life on guesswork by simply pointing to a bottle and saying “that one is safe”. Much like chemical analysis, the process of examining an asylum application involves several stages.

    The third point to make is that the Geneva criterion (a “well-founded fear of persecution”) is not the only relevant consideration. Finland does not return people to war zones or to regions that are otherwise unsafe. All else aside, it is often not even possible to arrange safe passage of the person concerned or of the Finnish public official serving as escort.

    The Migri statistics for 2008-2009 indicate that out of 4,335 applications processed, only 248 were declared to be “manifestly unfounded”. This is just under 6 per cent (or just over 6 per cent if lapsed applications are excluded). As far as I can tell, a residence permit of some kind was issued in about 56 per cent of cases that were decided on their merits. Actually, I suspect that this proportion is slightly higher, as asylum applications often lapse because the applicant becomes eligible for a residence permit on other grounds such as employment. The general rule of thumb is that two-thirds of asylum applicants end up staying on some basis or other. A full statistical review would have to be based on the figures for more than one year, but this at least indicates that the proportion of applications that can be rejected as manifestly unfounded on their merits is very small.

  29. JusticeDemon

    Klay

    According to the Dublin Convention unless asylum seekers/refugees are from Sweden, Norway, Russia or the Baltic States they shouldn’t even be applying to stay in Finland in the first place.

    You don’t seem to understand the Dublin Regulation, and it also seems that you haven’t looked at Finnair’s map of the world lately.

    The Dublin Regulation signatory States are currently Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Finland is required to take back asylum seekers who have entered the territory of other signatory States via Finland and subsequently lodged their applications in those other signatory States.

    For historical and other reasons, asylum seekers arriving in Finland (for example in transit via Moscow, Delhi, Hong Kong and Beijing) sometimes try to continue their journeys to other Dublin signatory States before seeking asylum. These signatory States are entitled to return such applicants to Finland, which is correspondingly and reciprocally entitled to return any applicants who have originally reached the territory of the Dublin signatory States through another signatory State.

    This mechanism depends on harmonised asylum policies and practices in the Dublin signatory States. It depends crucially on absolute commitment to the principle of non refoulement and to individual consideration of applications, but also on the provision of a reasonable standard of subsistence to applicants.

    It is this aspect of harmonisation that has failed in Greece, and if this cannot be corrected, then Greece can fully expect to be expelled from the Dublin club. If asylum seekers cannot be returned to Greece on human rights grounds, then the element of reciprocity is lost and it is hard to see how Greece can continue returning asylum seekers to other Dublin signatory States.

    If Finland abandons its commitment to the principles of non refoulement and individual consideration of applications, then it can likewise expect to be tossed out of the Dublin club (and possible the Council of Europe as well).

    You make a great deal of the notion that some applications are “bogus”, which is evidently intended to imply “dishonest” or “fraudulent”.

    The first point to make in response to this is that mere rejection of an application for asylum does not constitute a finding that the application was “dishonest” or “fraudulent”, any more than rejection of an application for a discretionary subsistence allowance means that a social welfare applicant was hiding a sack full of cash under the bed. If we had a litmus test for what constitutes a “well-founded fear of persecution”, then we would not need to hire experts to decide these matters and other experts to review those decisions.

    The second point to make is that there is no way to tell, with the required degree of legal certainty, that an application is well-founded or manifestly unfounded without examining the application on its individual merits. If I gave you a collection of securely sealed tinted glass reagent bottles containing various chemical solutions and asked you which were poisonous and which were safe to drink, then you would at least have to test them individually to determine the contents. I am sure you would not bet your own life on guesswork by simply pointing to a bottle and saying “that one is safe”. Much like chemical analysis, the process of examining an asylum application involves several stages.

    The third point to make is that the Geneva criterion (a “well-founded fear of persecution”) is not the only relevant consideration. Finland does not return people to war zones or to regions that are otherwise unsafe. All else aside, it is often not even possible to arrange safe passage of the person concerned or of the Finnish public official serving as escort.

    The Migri statistics for 2008-2009 indicate that out of 4,335 applications processed, only 248 were declared to be “manifestly unfounded”. This is just under 6 per cent (or just over 6 per cent if lapsed applications are excluded). As far as I can tell, a residence permit of some kind was issued in about 56 per cent of cases that were decided on their merits. Actually, I suspect that this proportion is slightly higher, as asylum applications often lapse because the applicant becomes eligible for a residence permit on other grounds such as employment. The general rule of thumb is that two-thirds of asylum applicants end up staying on some basis or other. A full statistical review would have to be based on the figures for more than one year, but this at least indicates that the proportion of applications that can be rejected as manifestly unfounded on their merits is very small.

  30. JusticeDemon

    Norway

    We didn’t need to scratch you very hard to discover your true colours.

    Finland is already multicultural, and has been so for hundreds of years. We have a wide range of cultural minorities, including Swedish-speakers (by no means homogeneous), Sami people (likewise not homogeneous), Roma people, a Russian speaking community (not homogeneous), Tatars, Jews, Karelians, Ostrobothnians, Savonians and a Greek Orthodox community. The cultural divide between northern and southern Finland and between town and countryside is so strong that these regions would elect entirely different politicians – which is the main reason why Paavo Väyrynen will never be President. Your suggested referendum might as well ask “do you want Finland to have a glaciated forested landscape and a cool semi-continental to sub-arctic climate?” Yes or no.

    Your real agenda has more to do with seeking to suppress cultural diversity.

    There has been a lot of disinformation about the Swiss referendum and its legal consequences. There are no indications that Switzerland is resigning from the Council of Europe, so the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms will continue to trump national law on questions of sending anyone to a place where they face torture or the death penalty. Switzerland has not withdrawn from its association agreement with the European Union, which continues to govern the expulsion of EU nationals. Nobody really knows what the impact of the referendum outcome will be in legal terms. We shall have to wait for a test case.

    You still have not yet specified which of YOUR OWN human rights are unnecessary. All you seem to be doing is trying to argue that certain other people should not have human rights. There is a name for this type of thinking.

    Scratch a moderate and you’ll find a conservative
    Scratch a conservative and you’ll find a fascist
    Scratch a fascist and you’ll find yourself in hospital

  31. StiflersDad

    “Finland is already multicultural, and has been so for hundreds of years. We have a wide range of cultural minorities, including Swedish-speakers (by no means homogeneous), Sami people (likewise not homogeneous), Roma people, a Russian speaking community (not homogeneous), Tatars, Jews, Karelians, Ostrobothnians, Savonians and a Greek Orthodox community.”

    This raises an interesting philosophical problem to think about…how did immigration work out for Sami (who I assume were the first of the mentioned groups residing in this area)?

    One difficult aspect of this immigration debate is that the present level of immigration in Finland is so low that it is hard to picture what could happen if the numbers doubled, trebled, increased 10-fold and so on. It is currently easy to assume that there is little effect from immigration. History, however, suggests that generally one culture replaces another one (USA, Australia, African tribes,..) rather than being fully amalgamated. Alternatively, the native population stands up and force the new culture; look at the steep decline in Europeans in Africa over the past 50 years, or what was done to Romans who had moved out to the territories while their Empire was expanding.

    I don’t have answers, nobody does I presume, but history counts heavily against possibility of multi-cultural societies lasting for any significant period in time (on historical time scale). Even the USA, which is seen as an example of immigration success, only opened up for large scale non-European immigration through the Hart-Cellar Act in 1965. So US immigration during its ascend into a global superpower was predominantly from similar cultures. The consensus now seems to be that USA is an empire in decline – one wonders if historians in 500 years will debate whether the empire was brough down by loss of national identity?

    • Enrique

      –One wonders if historians in 500 years will debate whether the empire was brough down by loss of national identity?

      Do you think so? Even so, it does not mean that the US had a monoloithic white culture and that was the story. There is a large black minority, Hispanics that remained after the Mexican-American War, Europeans from different areas (Italian, Poles, Scandinavians etc.), Native Americans…

      The idea that we are homogenous come from historical circumstances. After independence, it was important to build a nation of people who are FInnish. But we can debate this too: You had very big regional differences (Karelians versus Western Finns). So on the thin surface yes but if you go deeper no. Arto Letiziger has highlighted pretty well in his dissertation how “mixed” Finland’s population was. Our families were all from somewhere else.

      Finland, like many modern societies, has to look at national identity as something more inclusive as opposed to exclusive. This is the difference today concerning Finnish identity and that what it was right after independence in 1917.

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