Algunos sonidos de la Colonia Finlandesa grabados en 1983 y 1984


Algunos sonidos de la Colonia Finlandesa: Arroyo Mártires, Eino Parkkulainen, Marta Putkuri, Eelis Heikkilä, Helga Niskanen de Heino, Elena Haksluoto de Putkuri, Helmi Gumberg de Andersson, Viljo Niskanen y Nestor Heikkilä.

Aquí tienen otra exposición que se realizó sobre la Colonia Finlandesa durante 2007-2010 en las ciudades finlandesas de Kitee, Tampere, Peräseinäjoki, Helsinki, Mikkeli y Turku.

Hay sólo dos fotos sacadas de mí durante los más de treinta años que visité a la Colonia Finlandesa. Esta es una de las únicas dos fotos que fueron sacadas de mí en la antigua colonia finlandesa.

The manager of the Keuruu asylum reception center prohibits religious and cultural celebrations – is this the Finnish way of welcoming newcomers?


Migrant Tales continues to hear accounts about the Keuruu asylum reception center, where Afghan asylum seekers claim to be treated in a disrespectful manner by the staff with Iranian origin.* One of the many gripes that some asylum seekers have is against the center’s manager, Rasul Azizan, who is referred to as “a dictator” because he imposes his own rule.

One of those rules is that no religious or cultural celebrations can be held at the center.

Migrant Tales got in touch with the Keuruu asylum reception center Thursday on two occasions but the manager, Azizan, never returned my calls.

Refusing people, especially those fleeing war and oppression, from not being able to practice their religion and culture is not only an example of the lack of cultural sensitivity and poor management but against our own sound judgment and sense of fairness. The Finnish Constitution guarantees religious freedom.

The reception center is located 7 kilometers from a small town of 10,000 inhabitants.


Read full story here.


While the reception center manager hasn’t given a reason why he forbids religious and cultural celebrations to take place at the camp, one source claimed it was one way that Azizan discriminates and “teases” Afghans.


Council of Europe wants Finland to step up efforts to combat hate speech and xenophobia


The Finnish government needs to take steps to combat hate speech, protect Samí rights and the Swedish language, according to the Council of Europe’s Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

Apart from stepping up and taking concrete steps to challenge xenophobia in Finnish society, the police should increase recruitment of minorities in the police service, the advisory committee recommended.

Read the full statement here.

States the Council of Europe: “The Finnish government said in a comment, that a program to educate kindergarten teachers in Samí languages will be launched at the University of Oulu, receiving special funding by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The government also wrote that a training program on hate crime prevention for police officers is scheduled before end 2016.”


Is there a breakdown of trust between the manager of the Keuruu reception center and asylum seekers?


Keuruu is a small town located about 61km west of the central Finnish city of Jyväskylä that has an asylum reception center that houses about 400 people. From the stories that Migrant Tales has heard from inside the Keuruu reception center, it appears that there is a breakdown of trust between the manager, Rasul Azizan, and some asylum seekers. 

One source at the reception center claimed that some asylum seekers are planning to organize next week a peaceful demonstration against the manager.

One of the biggest gripes against the reception center manager is that he’s of Iranian origin,*  has an allegedly authoritarian managing style and doesn’t permit asylum seekers to observe their religious and cultural practices at the reception center.

It’s nothing unusual that asylum seekers in Finland get in touch with Migrant Tales taking into account that we have written a lot about asylum reception centers run by Luona and by the Red Cross in Kolari.

Whenever an asylum seeker gets in touch with us, we take the call seriously and investigate the story as best as we can. The fact that an asylum seeker wants to get in touch with us suggests that the problem has become so big that it cannot be resolved between the asylum seekers and the management.

Visit the Keuruu asylum reception center’s Facebook page here.

If the manager prohibits religious and cultural ceremonies from taking place at the reception center,  one could ask why taking into considering that for some asylum seekers religion is the only thing they have and can find strength from to face traumas like war and living in a new country.


Finnish government party Perussuomalaiset MEP claims ethnic profiling needed to fight terrorism


Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MEP Jussi Halla-aho, who hungers for public attention, tries to surprise us with the following suggestion: The police should be allowed to ethnically profile Middle Easterners, North African and Central Asian people irrespective if it is in infringement of these people’s fundamental rights and human rights.

It’s clearly evident from Halla-aho’s comment that his own racist and bigoted statements blind his sensible judgment.

Doesn’t a lot of ethnic profiling happen in Europe today?

Halla-aho makes these types of statements because he has to feed his own bigotry and craves headlines.

But the only headlines Halla-aho makes is soiling the name of Prime Minsiter Juha Sipilä’s government and that of Finland’s image.

A cartoon by Ville Ranta after the Paris attacks of November 2015 showing that Islamophobes were the first to capitalize on the death of victims.

Ethnic appearance has little to do with what people think. That is a racist idea from the days of eugenics, a pseudo-science that fell from grace after the horrors of World War 2 Nazi-run death camps were exposed to the world.


YouGov survey reinforces what we’ve been seeing in some EU countries: authoritarian populist sentiment


A recent YouGov survey on authoritarian populist opinions in 12 European countries revealed something that we all knew. Authoritarian populist opinions are defined by the survey as people who have anti-immigration, anti-human rights, anti-EU institutions, and power as well as strong opinions on foreign policy. 

Near 50% of the 12,000 people surveyed held anti-immigration views.

The most authoritarian populist countries in the survey were: Romania (82%), Poland (78%), France (63%), Holland (55%), Finland (50%), Denmark (49%), Britain (48%), Italy (47%), Sweden (35%) and Spain (33%).

The country with the lowest authoritarian populist opinions was Germany at 18%.

Read the full story here.

In Finland, we’ve seen the rise of authoritarian populist sentiment through the Perussuomalaiset* party supported by mainstream ones like the National Coalition Party and Center Party.


Finland rolls back the clock and flirts with the cold war when every foreigner was seen as a potential threat


In another move to punish former migrants who are naturalized Finns, the government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä plans to introduce a new law to parliament within weeks that will prohibit dual citizens from holding certain jobs that involve national security, according to Seijnäjoki-based daily Ilkka, which cites Finnish News Agency (STT).

Some sensitive national security jobs are found in defense, Finnish Border Guard, police service, customs, diplomatic service, and communications, according to Kirsi Äijälä, who heads a committee drafting the new law. She said, however, that hiring decisions are made on a one-by-one basis and the law will permit exceptions.

The new law, if passed, is a sign of how Finland is flirting with the Cold War years when nationalism and suspicion of anything foreign were the rule.

During the 1990s with the demise of the Soviet Union, there was an opening up of Finland with Western Europe. It joined the Council of Europe, in 1995 it became an EU member, drafted a new Constitution, which promoted social equality, anti-discrimination, and cultural diversity as well as passed new dual citizenship laws.

The short opening up of the country started to falter in 2011 when the Perussuomalaiset* party won their historic parliamentary victory by raising the number of MPs to 39 from 5.  Instead of passing laws that promote diversity, the Finnish government is passing today laws that penalize migrants.

Apart from laws that discourage cultural diversity and promote nationalism, the government has failed in containing the rise of racism and the ever-worsening anti-immigration climate of Finland.

Read the full story (in Finnish) here.


Migrants’ Rights Network: [UK]Government agenda – Roll back the rights of all migrants


 Näyttökuva 2015-5-3 kello 12.52.32
The policy pronouncements at the Conservative conference show how far the government is prepared to go to turn migration into a rights-free zone. Both EU and the third country migrants will lose out under these plans. We need a campaign that unites them all if rights are to be preserved.

The immigration policies which Theresa ay and her home secretary, Amber Rudd, revealed at the Conservative party conference last week seem to have got short shrift from just about everyone.

Business interests weighed in with heavyweight warnings of conflict if the government pushes ahead with plans to make firms account for every foreign worker they take on. Seamus Nevin, head of employment and skills policy at the Institute of Directors, said: “It is clear that immigration will continue to be a major bone of contention between companies and this government. Businesses know that the EU referendum result means change to free movement of workers from the EU, but people were not voting to make the economy weaker. The evidence is clear that migrants are a benefit to the economy.”


The passage in home secretary Rudd’s speech in which she threatened policies that would end the right of large numbers of universities to enrol international students brought strong condemnation.  Eyebrows were raised when she said claimed that the current system “… treats every student and university as equal… “ She promised a consultation “…that will ask what more can we do to support our best universities – and those that stick to the rules – to attract the best talent … while looking at tougher rules for students on lower quality courses.”