Security guards at Luona’s Pitäjänmäki reception center continue to treat asylum seekers with disrespect

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Migrant Tales continues to hear about how some security guards at Luona, a private company that operates eight asylum reception centers in Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, and Hyvinkää, continue to treat asylum seekers with disrespect. In February, the company’s general manager, Milja Saksi, said that the company will take the necessary steps to address the racist treatment of its asylum seekers. 

“We don’t permit racist or inappropriate behavior [from our staff] towards asylum seekers,” Saksi was quoted as saying earlier this year. “We have made personnel changes if people aren’t suitable to work at our reception centers.”

One source that Migrant Tales spoke to claimed that little has changed concerning how some security guards treat asylum seekers at the Pitäjänmäki reception center.

The security guards were alerted at 3:30am that somebody was suspected of smoking in one of the rooms. When the security guards arrived at the room they asked for six asylum seekers for their IDs. The asylum seekers refused to show it to the security guards. This prompted them to call the police.

In a short while, 4-5 police cars arrived with some 10 police to the Pitäjänmäki reception center. One of the security guards, who was trying to act tough, wouldn’t even give permission to one of the asylum seekers to go to the toilet.

How much does it cost taxpayers to send 4-5 police cars to investigate a minor incident like smoking?

Anti-immigration politicians and vigilante groups like the Soldiers of Odin claim that there aren’t enough police to guarantee security.

Possibly this minor incident above shows how we squander such resources on petty problems that security guards should resolve professionally but can’t because they’re on their personal power and ego trips.

“There are still a lot of security guards [working at Luona] who are sons of bitches,” the source said. “They call the police for minor things because they want to show the asylum seekers who is in charge and who has power.”

 

Otavan Opisto: Yhteisöoppimisen merkitys monikulttuurisuuskoulutuksessa

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Otavan Opisto on kansanopisto, joka sijaitse noin 14 km Mikkelistä. Vierailijalle koulu näyttää aivan tavalliselta koululta, joka sijaitsee pienessä kylässä. Koulullamme on kuitenkin poikkeuksellisen paljon monikulttuurisia opiskelijoita.

Mitä tarkoittaa olla kulttuurisesti menestyvä ja etnisesti moninainen koulu? Yksi tärkeä asia on yhteisöllisen oppimisen merkitys ja taitavat, asialle omistautuneet opettajat ja henkilökunta.

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Kuten missä tahansa oppilaitoksessa, työmme on haastavaa, mutta palkitsevaa. Meillä on tällä hetkellä monikulttuurisia oppilaita, jotka ovat eri tasoisia. On sellaisia, jotka ovat oppimassa suomen kielen alkeita ja oppimistaitoja sekä niitä,jotka ovat edistyneet nopeasti ja tehokkaasti näillä alueilla. Kulttuurisesti moninainen koulu, johon ihmiset tulevat monista eri taustoista, ei tarvitse mitään poppakonsteja. Ratkaisut löytyvät opetussuunnitelmasta sekä pohjoismaisista arvoista kuten tasa-arvo ja molemminpuolinen kunnioitus. Kysymys, joka voidaan esittää,  on mistä johtuu meidän koulujärjestelmämme menestys. Yksi tärkeä asia on hyvinvointivaltio, joka huolehtii ihmisistä ja jossa tehdään paljon työtä syrjäytymisen ja sen kielteisten ilmiöiden ehkäisemiseksi. Jos meillä on asiat hyvin yhteiskunnassa, se vaikuttaa myönteisesti myös koulussa.

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How fair is the Finnish media when it reports about racism and bigotry?

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What role has the media played in spreading racism and bigotry in Finland since the 1990s? If it has played a big role, has its reporting improved or got worse? 

The narrative of the media, and that of politicians concerning our ever-growing culturally diverse society, has changed but it still has a lot of room for self-criticism and improvement.

When the media serves politicians and other voices that single out certain groups, victimizing them because they are of a different religious or cultural background, it’s clear that this exercise is costly to taxpayers.

It is ironic that politicians of anti-immigration parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, and the tacit support they receive from other politicians from other parties, want Finland to fail in becoming a successful culturally diverse society.

Why would politicians like MEP Jussi Halla-Aho, MP Olli Immonen and many other in this country would not want to see us succeed in building a successful culturally diverse society?

The answer is simple: They would be out of a political job and career.

Let’s go back to the original question: Is Finland’s media racist and bigoted?

While we can’t claim that Finland’s media is racist they do publish a lot of racist and bigoted things. Many of these stories are in code and serve the anti-immigration narrative. One recent example is of a story by YLE on crime rates committed by foreigners in Eastern Finland.

The YLE story’s headline stated that crime committed by foreigners rose by 179% in the beginning of the year. We find out later in the story that we’re speaking of only 206 suspected crimes, which is only about 1.5% of all 14,923 crimes reported during that period.

A story doesn’t have to be “racist” to be inappropriate. Unfair journalism that is slanted is just sloppy and unprofessional journalism.

While not all police ethnically profile people and while not all journalists are multiculturally challenged, it’s those that have these issues that give these professions a bad name.

Take a look below at some of the ads from the 1990s published by Ilta-Sanomat, a tabloid that continues to publish racist stories about migrants, asylum seekers and minorities. Certainly the stories that Ilta-Sanomat writes today have changed from about 25 years ago. Even so, it’s still the same narrative but in a different context.

Some of these diehard narratives are that migrants are rapists, criminals, social welfare bums and just plain bad people that shouldn’t be trusted.

Check out these Ilta-Sanomat ads below for yourselves.

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YLE of Finland: When the police and journalists use statistics with malicious intent and irresponsibly

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The media plays a decisive role in broadcasting bigotry, sanitized hate speech, and populism in Finland. A recent example of the latter is a story published by YLE where the police claim that crimes committed during the beginning of this year by foreigners in Eastern Finland grew by 179%!

Now that is a very scary three-digit percentage figure! If a person only read the headline, he’d think that all foreigners must be criminals since crimes committed by them soared by 179%.

But let’s take a closer look at the story as Petri Cederlöf did on his Facebook wall below.

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Petri Cederlöf correctly points out above that foreigners (we don’t know how many are tourists) committed 206 crimes out of a total of 14,923. That amounts to about 1.5% of all crimes reported to the police.

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Ethnic profiling reveals a lot about how the Finnish police service and non-discrimination ombudsman see cultural diversity

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While it is a fact that the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman looks into complaints about alleged ethnic profiling by the police service and National Boarder Guard, more questions surround this issue than answers.

Migrant Tales has repeatedly pointed out that one of the main problems concerning ethnic profiling in Finland by the police service, and its monitoring by the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, is the lack of visible minority representation.

No minorities are working for the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman and only a minute amount for the police service and National Border Guard.

This fact is a problem that should be addressed in Finland, which abides by Nordic welfare value and upholds Section 6 of the Constitution and guarantees that we’re all equal before the law. Equality means as well equal representation.

Now here’s the question: How can the police service, National Border Guard and the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman assure migrants and minorities that they take seriously ethnic profiling if it doesn’t affect their staff directly?

Having no minorities on their staff is the same as having only males defending women’s right or people with no physical disabilities representing people with such challenges.

 

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Read full story here.

Underwhelming representation of minorities is tantamount as well to playing down a problem like ethnic profiling and discrimination.

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Tightening family reunification requirements is like putting a noose around human rights

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Like Europe, Finland is also suffering from a lack of leadership. When we start to fear our ineptness in solving problems, we slide into our shells with the help of populism, simplistic solutions, and wishful thinking.  

The latter can lead us to many unpleasant places like social media lynchings, witch hunts and shelve indefinitely values like human rights.

Everyone knows that the family is a fundamental human right. Article 16 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights states:

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Source: UN.

And here’s one of my favorite articles of the latter Declaration:

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Source: UN.

We have written in Migrant Tales about a worrying trend and how the Finnish government plans to tighten family reunification requirements in this country.

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Reija Härkönen: Rasistisesta solvaamisesta tulisi sakottaa paikan päällä

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Reija Härkonen

Kun kaupan kassa, tummaihoinen suomalainen neitokainen, saa asiakkaalta päälleen rasististen solvausten ryöpyn, muut asiakkaat tyytyvät yleensä vain katsomaan vierestä, jotkut ehkä puuttuvat asiaan, mutta solvaaja ei käytöstään muuta. Hänhän on perussuomalaisen nykyopin mukaan oikeassa ja rasismi ei kuulemma ole rikos.

Maissa, joissa rasismia ei suvaita, tällainen tapahtuma aiheuttaa välittömästi sen, että poliisi kutsutaan paikalle ja rasisti saa sakot.

Miksi ei meillä voitaisi toimia samalla tavoin? Rasismi ei ole erikseen rikoslaissa määritelty rikos, mutta toisaalta rasistinen motiivi kunnianloukkauksessa on rangaistuksen koventamisperuste. Solvaaminen ei ole pelkkää huonoa käytöstä. Se voi olla kunnianloukkaus. Se voitaisiin myös käsittää ihmisen vapauden ja kansalaisoikeuksien loukkaukseksi. Jokaisella pitää olla oikeus tehdä työtään sivullisten häiritsemättä ja tummaihoisenkin ihmisen esiintyä julkisesti tuntematta pelkoa. Jatkuvat rasistiset poliittiset puheet ja kirjoitukset myös kiihottavat ihmisiä vihaan vähänkin erinäköisiä ihmisiä kohtaan.

imageKokoomuksen kansanedustaja levittää väärää tietoa maahanmuuttajista.

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Migrants’ Rights Network: Why I’ve decided not to become British

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Noel Dandes

Is it worth spending just over £1,200 to become a British Citizen? After weighing up the pros and cons Noel Dandes thinks that, in his case, it isn’t.

I recently wrote an article on the Home Office’s changes to the naturalisation process, and how they have been conveniently timed to coincide with the referendum. At the time, I was determined that I would see the process through, no matter what they threw at me — but now, after careful consideration, I have decided I do not want to become British anymore.

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Read full article here.

The reasons for this are twofold:

Unfeasibly high cost

The previous cost of close to £1,005 was already a stretch, and it would have been a significant drain on my savings account. The new cost of £1236, however, is close to unfeasible at the moment — and I don’t trust that our dearly beloved Theresa May, whom the Green Party quite accurately portrayed as a petulant child obsessed with kicking foreigners out in their recent #GrownUpPolitics ad, won’t change the fees again by the time I’m eligible.

Ideological

The UK is my home. It has been my home for nearly six years, i.e. most of my adult life. I studied here, paid my taxes here, started a career here; I even found love here. But the past eleven months, since the Tories were re‒elected, have seen a shift in British ideology. Where I once felt welcomed, I now feel pushed to leave. The UK has had its way with its European immigrants, and now we are being discarded.

The other day I calculated how much money I’ve paid into the British economy, and how much I’ve benefited from the social welfare system. Including my degree, I have contributed close to £27,000. In return, I received about £800 in benefits for two months, plus three visits to the GP in six years. I would say that’s good value for money.

Future uncertain

But the British government doesn’t care. We mean so little to them that two months before the referendum, it’s still unclear what will happen to us if Brexit goes ahead. Will we be allowed to stay? Will we need a visa? Will we be eligible for certain rights? Nothing but radio silence from David Cameron and his troops.

I don’t want to pick a side. I believe the UK and the EU benefit from each other, no matter what the media says. But if I’m forced to pick a side, I pick the EU. I was born a European citizen and I exercised my right to move to another European country — and while I feel more British than Greek after six years here, I will not naturalise just to be allowed to stay in a country that clearly doesn’t want me.

Read original posting here.

This piece was reprinted by Migrant Tales with permission.