Asylum seekers in Finland: New law that will shorten the time of appeal is a “cowardly” act

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President Sauli Niinistö signed into law Friday a bill that will make it virtually impossible for refugees to appeal asylum cases rejected by the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri), according to YLE News. While the Finnish media hasn’t cared to ask what asylum seekers think about the new law, Migrant Tales got in touch with three asylum seekers about the matter. 

The new law, which will come into force on September 1, will shorten from 30 days to 21 the rights of asylum seekers to appeal negative residence permit decisions by Migri.  Moreover, conditions to appeal to the supreme administrative court will become stricter as well.

 

Never ever forget that no one can take away your human rights. Article 30 states:  No one can take away your [human] rights.

An asylum seeker, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person believed it wouldn’t jeopardize the person’s chances of getting a residence permit, said that the new law will reinforce what asylum seekers have come to learn the hard way about Finland. 

“People [asylum seekers] feel very sad [how the government has turned its back on them],” the source said. “They have learned that Finland has forfeit its humanity for economic considerations and that the government is racist. Imagine, we crossed dangerous seas, traveled through many countries to learn that in Finland nobody wants us and there are no human rights.”

Shorter appeal times will make harder for asylum seekers.

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Migrant Tales (April 14, 2015): My identity is mine, not yours, so stop labeling me according to your prejudices

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Don’t let anyone, no one, ever define who you are. That’s your right and never give it away.

Why do some public services like the police even some migrants believe they have the right to define who are? The police do it constantly. Every time they label a person or group as a person with “foreign” or “migrant” background they are effectively relegating that person publicly to second- or third-class status in society. 

Like in neighboring Sweden, where “a person with migrant background” is code for non-European or non-white, in Finland, it is used to remind you that white Finns run this country politically, culturally, economically and socially.

What’s even worse is the usage of the term mamu, which is used by anti-immigration politicians near-constantly in this country whenever they speak disrespectfully of migrants.

A recent example of how the term was used was by Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Maria Tolppanen, who said she wants to see less mamus and more people at Vaasa’s city square.

Some claim that Tolppanen’s usage of the term mamu was code for Somalis.

The term mamu is in the same league as the n-word or if you call a member of the Romany minority mustalainen. These three labels can be used by members of those groups but it is inappropriate for white Finns to use them since it would be disrespectful and offensive.

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Asylum seekers’ rights in Finland to appeal will be severely undermined thanks to a new law that will come into force on September 1

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President Sauli Niinistö, who has done little to challenge xenophobia in Finland because he is eyeing a second term, will sign Friday a new law that will shorten from 30 days to 21 the rights of asylum seekers to appeal negative residence permit decisions by the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri). 

Apart from cutting down on the right of asylum seekers to appeal negative decisions by Migri, conditions to appeal to the supreme administrative court will become stricter as well.

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This cartoon by Ville Ranta pictures well how the government sees asylum seekers. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä says, “Will you stop squirting us [with blood]?” Source: Valomerkki.

Last year, 32,478 asylum seekers sought asylum in Finland but their numbers in 2016 have fallen significantly due to an EU agreement with Turkey to stop new migrants from coming to Europe. 

If you are looking for complex answers why the present government, which comprises of the Center Party, National Coalition Party (NCP) and Perussuomalaiset (PS)*,  wants to tighten immigration policy look no further because the answer is right under your nose.

When I speak to asylum seekers in Finland, I try to be as candidly as possible with them.

I apologize for telling you this, I usually say, but we have an anti-immigration government that doesn’t like you and wants you out of this country no matter what.

Some may blame the PS for the government’s hardline stance on migrants and cultural diversity, but in truth the PS’ partners in government, the Center Party and NCP, are no different. Aren’t they drafting and voting in favor of such laws?

Migrant Tales considers Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s government as one of the most hostile ever to migrants. For certain since 1983, when Finland passed its first-ever aliens’ act, it is the most hostile government to asylum seekers and migrants.

The measures that the present government is taking to water down the rights of asylum seeker and migrants is shameful because it means “interpreting creatively” our international agreements and Section 6 of the Constitution, which guarantees that everyone, irrespective of his or her background, is equal before the law.

The reason why Finland is passing draconian laws against asylum seekers, migrants and minorities in this country is because it has serious issues with diversity.

Finland is happy if it can remain an island in Europe.

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The PS of Finland has lost credibility and should be ejected from government

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Here’s the question: What is the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party still doing in government and what credibility does it have after its popularity in the polls continues to plummet? The latest poll published shows the PS with only 7.6%, according to YLE News. That compares with 17.7% of the votes it got in the 2015 parliamentary elections

PS MP Pentti Oinonen said on YLE that “it was high time” that the party gets its act together. He claims that PS chairman Timo Soini is being bossed around by its two partners in government, the Center Party and National Coalition Party (NCP).

“We rose [as a party] six years ago when we spoke in the language of the people and were looking after the rights of the poor,” he said.

What Oinonen forgets to tell us is that since populism never has a concrete plan, since it is made up of a lot of hot air and rhetoric, it’s a party that has viciously attacked migrants and minorities.

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Not even a xenophobic lifesaver can save the Perussuomalaiset from sinking in the polls

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Support for the anti-immigration populist Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party has hit a new all-time low of 7.6%, according to the latest poll by YLE, according to YLE News. The poor showing of the party reveals that its strategy to target and increase attacks against migrants, asylum seekers and minorities in July has badly backfired. 

PS politicians like MP Teuvo Hakkarainen and PS youth leader Sebastian Tynkkynen are under police investigation for ethnic agitation.

Hakkarainen said right after the Nice killings in mid-July that Finland should close the door to migrants from the Middle East and Africa. Tynkkynen parroted what Hakkarainen said.

“We’ve got to stop pussyfooting,” said Hakkarainen on his Facebook wall. “Muslims out of this country! Not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims. We shouldn’t accept Muslims from the Middle East and Africa to our country.”

Below is a long list of news stories published in Migrant Tales about how the PS attacked in July migrants in this country.

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Read full story here.

With more voters turning their backs to the PS, one may ask what the populist party gave Finland during its eight-year stint as one of the biggest parties in Finland.

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Finance Minister Petteri Orpo and his disingenuous statements about racism and bigotry

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National Coalition Party (NCP) chairman and Finance Minister Petteri Orpo was quoted as saying on YLE News that he won’t tolerate racist speech. The comment comes after two Perussuomalaiset (PS)* politicians, MP Teuvo Hakkarainen and PS youth leader Sebastian Tynkkynen, are being investigated by the police service for ethnic agitation. 

“If we are in government, then we are in government,” said Orpo. “We can’t be in government and in opposition at the same time.”

Is having a party like the PS that has a questionable record on spreading racism and bigotry in Finland only an issue of being “in government and in opposition” simultaneously?

Is Finance Minister Orpo disingenuous? What has he done, apart from offering words of assurances that he’s against hate speech, to guarantee the safety and rights of migrants in Finland? Under his watch as interior minister, the government has tightened immigration policy.

A recent Facebook posting on July 26,  NCP MP Wille Rydman reveals the hypocritical stand of the government concerning racism and bigotry.

Rydman has the dubious reputation of being the “Jussi Halla-aho of the NCP.”

PS MEP Halla-aho was sentenced for ethnic agitation in 2012.

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MP Wille Rydman defends Tynkkynen for his Islamophobic comments by asking if it’s a taboo in Finland to talk about Islam as a threat to Europe?

The stand of some politicians and parties like the NCP concerning the rise of racism and bigotry in Finland is shameful characterized by inaction and near-silence.

Will Orpo’s statements against what Hakkarainen and Tynkkynen said change anything?

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Finland’s blind spot of racism and the incitement of violence against migrants and minorities

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July was a busy month for hate speech with the usual bunch of politicians from a particular party hurling insults at migrants and minorities.  If we look at the pyramid of hate below, we can see politicians like Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Teuvo Hakkarainen and PS youth leader Sebastian Tynkkynen venturing with their comments to the bias-motivated-violence phase, which openly incites violence against migrants and minorities. 

“We’ve got to stop pussyfooting,” Hakkarainen wrote on his Facebook wall in mid-July after the Nice killings. “Muslims out of this country! Not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims. We shouldn’t accept Muslims from the Middle East and Africa to our country.”

Even if fearmongering, demagoguery, xenophobia, pandering and raw hatred are the norm in today’s Finland against migrants, it is a a slippery slope were already on. The faster we slide down that slope the more hateful our attacks become.

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Source: Newspaper Rock

A recent example of an anti-immigration rally in East Helsinki during the weekend, a French-speaking person threatens on a YouTube video that Muslims “should be banned from any civilized society.”

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(Institute of Race Relations) Post-referendum racism and the importance of social activism

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Written by IRR News Team

postrefracism report full coverA new report by social media activists on the spike of hate crimes immediately after the referendum on EU membership should prove uncomfortable reading for the Home Office.

On 26 July, the Home Office unveiled its new Hate Crime Action Plan. Home Secretary Amber Rudd not only cited a surge in reported incidents following the referendum vote to leave the EU, but called on the nation to ‘come together and stand united against those who use hate to divide us’. But a new report compiled by activists from three social media platforms and published by #PostRefRacism will prove uncomfortable reading for the new Home Secretary. In its analysis of 645 racist and xenophobic incidents reported to them following the referendum vote, #PostRefRacism draws attention to the divisive policies of the previous Home Secretary. In 2012, Theresa May had promised to deliver policies based on creating a ‘hostile environment’ for irregular migrants, through, for instance, ‘Go Home or face arrest’ vans. Far from being a ‘unifying force’ the Home Office’s ‘insider-outsider’ messages have created the conditions whereby racism can be normalised.

Post-referendum racism and xenophobia: the role of social media activism in challenging the normalisation of xeno-racist narratives (download here, pdf file, 5.8mb) is a factual account of the lived experience of racism felt keenly, post-referendum, by BAME communities, whether born in the UK, long-settled or from newly-arrived communities, up and down the country. Several hundred people were so angered by incidents of hate that, at very short notice, they attended an emergency meeting in London called by The Monitoring Group. As this report shows, cases reported to social media platforms were largely verbal abuse, though incidents involving physical violence or threats of violence accounted for 14 per cent of cases, within this:

  • Abuse aimed at people with non-European BAME backgrounds made up the majority of reported incidents – nearly a third of the total – with ‘South Asians’ reporting the most incidents (16 per cent). Around a fifth of the abuse aimed at this group was also Islamophobic.

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