Migrant Tales begins cooperation with Asylum Corner

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Migrant Tales will begin cooperation by beginning to publish stories by Asylum Corner,  the newsletter of Lai-Momo, an Italian cooperative society based in Bologna, Italy, and Brussels. Like Migrant Tales, Asylum Corner writes about topics like migrants’ integration, asylum seekers assistance, intercultural and anti-discrimination education.

Lai-Momo information and communication officer Claudia Mará took a moment to explain what kind of work Lai-Momo does.

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Visit Asylum Corner here.

“Asylum Corner  is a project that I started with some other colleagues in Africa e Mediterraneo/Lai-momo  because we thought we could leverage the double expertise of our organizations in social communication and social work with refugees,” she said. “It’s not that common to find associations in the social sector that can work with both.”

Marà said that Asylum Corner was not only started to help refugees directly but those social workers working with them. She said that another aim of the publication is to cover a topic like refugees more fairly and comprehensively than the European media.

“If only citizens in every EU member state could get a first-hand experience of what it means to work with asylum seekers, or at least as we try to do with AC,” she said, “read about positive practices in the reception of asylum seekers and migrants, EU public opinion would probably be a bit softer on the migration issue.”

 

In choosing a Finnish political party to vote for, you must ask which is the least racist

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Finland is gearing up for municipal elections on April 9, 2017.

If you are a non-white Finn and a minority, finding that right party and political fit can be quite a difficult task. Parties like the Left Alliance, Greens and Swedish People’s Party are pretty favorable to cultural diversity while others like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* are the most hostile to it.

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Even if migrants can vote in municipal elections, well under 20% do so. Source: Helsingin Sanomat.

All the rest, like the Social Democrats, Center Party, National Coalition Party and the Christian Democrats, are a big question mark. Their track record on challenging discrimination, bigotry, institutional racism and promoting cultural diversity isn’t convincing at all.

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A sick Iraqi asylum seeker asks for mercy in a country that supposed to offer it

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As the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) makes life difficult for asylum seekers in Finland with the approval of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s government, take a look at an Iraqi asylum seeker in the video below from the Pudasjärvi asylum reception center of northern Finland.

The man, Ali Mohammed Hussein, whose right hand is shaking as he speaks, asks for mercy as the police told him Tuesday at the asylum reception told him that he has seven days to leave and will no longer get any medicine, which the center paid. The man’s rollator will be confiscated as well by the reception center. 

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The action of the police is surprising considering that reception centers run by the Red Cross will not turn out anyone from their centers.

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See video here.

The man’s rollator, which he needs to walk, will be taken from him as well by the reception center. 

Hussein’s appeal against an earlier decision by Migri for asylum was rejected Tuesday by a district court.

He has suffered from a lot of pain in his stomach area for six months. Finally he was taken to a hospital whre he was operated three times. Each time, the doctors said that the operation didn’t succeed and they couldn’t pinpoint the problem.  

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Here we go again with the anti-immigration rhetoric – it’s election time in Finland!

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Here we go again, folks, it’s election time in April 2017 in Finland. The populist-nationalist Perussuomalaiset (PS)* is picking up its hostile attacks against migrants, minorities and our ever-growing and proud culturally diverse community. Their allies in these attacks are their government partners, the Center Party and National Coalition Party (NCP). 

You may rightly ask how it is possible for a government party like the PS to freely target our community with hostile and vengeful attacks? How is it possible that mainstream parties like the Center Party and NCP, which should know better, are near-silent to the PS’ anti-immigration rhetoric?

Even opposition voices like the Social Democrats, which use catchphrases like “we’re against racism,” it’s unclear how seriously the party wants to challenge structural racism and greater inclusion of migrants in the labor market.

You may ask how we have arrived at to this terrible juncture. The answer is simple: Too few people in this country care or believe in our Nordic rights that promote social inclusion and social equality.

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A small far-right Suomi ensin! demonstration again and the media cherishes a story

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Suomi ensin! (Finland first!) is a far-right group that goes to different places in Finland to stir up anti-immigration sentiment and hatred for migrants. Even if their demonstrations attract few people, they get a lot of attention in the national media. On Saturday afternoon their demonstration attracted 300* people to the eastern Helsinki neighborhood of Itäkeskus to listen to their xenophobic rhetoric. 

One of the matters that the Suomi ensin! demonstrators complained about was too many foreigners at public swimming halls, according to Helsingin Sanomat. The demonstrators didn’t lose the chance to warn listeners about Islamization and how the government’s immigration policy is synonymous to treason.

Suomi ensin! calls itself a nationalistic movement, which is code for fascism.

Taking into account how this group pesters and antagonizes migrants in Finland,  what would happen if a group of visible migrants went in front of the Perussuomalaiset* party’s headquarters and demonstrated in the same manner and make the same outrageous claims?

Ever wonder what kind of a media storm that would create? We doubt that the media would cover our demonstration in such a neutral manner as

We seriously doubt that the media would cover our demonstration in the same neutral news story manner as Helsingin Sanomat did with Suomi ensin today!

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Today’s demonstration at Itäkeskus. Note the two skinheads on the right. Photo by Migrant Tales reporter.

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The disgraceful stand of the government towards undocumented migrants in Finland

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Winter is rapidly approaching and Interior Minister Paula Risikko isn’t too enthused about the idea that the Evangelical Lutheran Church wants to give housing to undocumented migrants, according to YLE.

As everyone knows, the rapid rise of  undocumented migrants in Finland is the government’s own doing since it voted in spring to scrap granting residence permits on humanitarian grounds.

One of the direct impacts of the new law was that undocumented migrants in Finland would surge from a few hundred to thousands, according to various estimates.

One of the surprising matters about the whole issue is that it is purely political and originates in an anti-immigration party called the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, which shares power in government with the Center Party and National Coalition Party (NCP).

It is a good matter that the Evangelical Lutheran Church has not been swayed by the government’s anti-immigration populist rhetoric and taken a stand against leaving undocumented migrants to their own fates as permanent secretary of the interior ministry, Päivi Nerg, recently suggested.

Nerg was quoted as saying in Jyväskylä-based Keskisuomalainen that no emergency accommodation should be given to these migrants because “it would send the wrong message.”

What, Nerg, is the “right message?” Let these people freeze and die outdoors?

Comments like the above, and many others, show us that we should not give the government and politicians the benefit of the doubt when it comes to immigration policy and handling undocumented migrants since most of them are driven by suspicion and opportunism against cultural diversity.

Disagree?

What did the youth leader of the PS, Sebastian Tynkyynen, suggest what should be done to these “migrants who stay illegally?” He stated that they should be interned in closely guarded camps in the forest, where they’d live in tents apparently in subzero temperatures.

Tynkkynen belongs to the PS, which is in government, but nobody in his xenophobic party never mind in the Center Party and NCP have any objections to what he said.

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Read the full story (in Finnish) here.

Even if the PS is the last party that doesn’t have a clue how to treat migrants in Finland fairly because they are driven by bigotry, anti-cultural diversity, and racism, it is disappointing to note the silence coming from the government in the face of this rhetoric.

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How a well-managed asylum reception center should be run

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We have written a lot about poorly managed reception centers in Finland since January. We, therefore, thought it would be a good opportunity to pull together our expertise and offer some best practices on how a well-managed reception center is run. 

A poorly run center is the reverse of a well-run one. It boils down to poor management piled with racist and ethnocentric behavior by the staff.

Instead of serving and alleviating the suffering of the asylum seekers, you rub salt into their wounds.

Migrant Tales will publish more best practices by two experts in the field, Mikko T. Heminen and Wael Cheblak.

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Source: Mikko T. Helminen and Wael Cheblak.

Iraqi asylum seeker gets asylum application turned down as his family members are attacked by the militia

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The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) is planning to reassess the security situation in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia after an initial assessment in May deemed these countries to be safe to return asylum seekers.

Migrant Tales reported recently a shooting and two deaths of asylum seekers who returned back to “safe” Iraq. That was followed by a story published in Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday.

In spite of assurances that countries like Iraq are “safe” to return asylum seekers, the latest pictures that we have received of violence in Iraq tell us a very different story.

Jihad Al Baghdadi* is an asylum seeker who arrived in Finland on September 19, 2015, and who got his asylum application turned down by Migri over a year later on November 3.

“Even if I was 80% certain that I’d get a negative decision [from Migri],” he said. “I was in shock for about a week. I have a  two-year-old daughter who lives in Iraq and I want to bring her to Finland away from the violence there.”

Al Baghdadi used to work for a security company in Iraq that is linked to the US Army.

The Iraqi asylum seeker said that he left Iraq because he didn’t want to spy for the Jaish al Madhy militia group or have anything to do with the extortion and killing of people.

According to Al Baghdadi, the militia wants to find his daughter so they can force him to return to Iraq.

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Jihad’s four-year-old nephew after he was run over by a driver belonging to the Jaish al Mahdy militia. The boy needed two operations and stitches on his face.

The militia stepped up its pressure on Jihad’s family from June. They questioned his father and asked about Jihad’s daughter. He was beaten up by them on the street and suffered rib injuries as a result.

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