The failure of Finnish and European immigration policy towards Iraqis

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The Iraqi ambassador to Finland, Matheel Dhayif Al-Sabti, the minister of migration & displaced, and the Iraqi parliament have made it clear to Europe and Finland that they will not accept nationals deported from Europe. 

The news must come as a shock to Finnish officials like Päivi Nerg of the ministry of interior and to the government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, which have done everything possible to make Iraqi asylum seekers feel unwelcomed in Finland.

The entrance of the Suonsaari asylum reception center near Mikkeli.
Ambassador Al-Sabti was adamant when Migrant Tales interviewed him last week.

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UPDATE: Iraqi apprehended by police will allegedly be deported to Iraq Tuesday

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January 17, 3:30 pm Migrant Tales understands that the Finnish police service deported this afternoon back to Iraq a 23-year-old asylum seeker who had two rejections for asylum, according to unconfirmed reports.

His friend said that the police had told him that the asylum seeker would be deported back to Iraq Tuesday afternoon.

The asylum seeker was staying at the reception center of Jämsä, located in central Finland.

The Iraqi asylum seeker who was allegedly deported back to Iraq Tuesday afternoon was staying at the reception center in Jämsä.

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Ambassador Matheel Dhayif Al-Sabti: Iraq will not accept forced deportations from Finland

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Migrant Tales had the opportunity to speak to Iraqi Ambassador to Finland, Matheel Dhayif Al-Sabti, on Wednesday about Iraq’s official policy towards deportation of its national: “I’m saying that Iraq will not accept forced deportations.” 

When asked how many Iraqis were deported to Iraq against their will, he stated: “I have no idea because they didn’t deport any person. I think they cannot do that.”

This same position concerning deportations was reiterated over the weekend by the Iraqi minister of migration & displaced, Derbaz Muhammad, who said that “the Iraqi government and the Iraqi ministry of migration & displacement won’t accept the return of displaced Iraqis in Finland forcibly, only if they return willingly.”

Talks between the ministry of migration & displaced and Finnish permanent secretary of the interior ministry, Päivi Nerg, ended in December without an agreement, according to an official statement.

An Iraqi delegation led by the undersecretary of foreign affairs will meet with Nerg in February to discuss the matter. It is, however, unlikely that both sides will reach an agreement on a repatriation accord.

The statement by Ambassador Al-Sabti and by his government runs contrary to earlier optimistic statements by ministry of interior officials like Nerg and Foreign Minister Timo Soini that an agreement on deporting a vast number of Iraqis would be possible.

“So, now there is nothing that Finland can do anything to those people [whom they hope to deport],” he continued. “Do you know why? If they want to deport them they will have to put them not on commercial flights like Turkish Airlines, they’ll have to hire an airplane guarded by the police [and] put them by force in the airplane and send them to Baghdad.”

The ambassador states unequivocally that Iraq will not give such a flight permission to land in that country.

“The Iraqi authorities, first of all, they [planeload of deportees] will not have permission to fly from Finland to Baghdad and get permission to land,” he said. “Secondly, if they put them on commercial flights they [deported asylum seekers] will not be accepted at Baghdad International Airport. And then [there’s also another reason], because there is no [repatriation] treaty, no MOU [memorandum of understanding] between Iraq and Finland.”

Contrary to Afghanistan, which signed a repatriation agreement in October with the European Union to deport its citizens back to the war-torn country, it’s doubtful that any such agreement will be signed in the foreseeable future between Finland and Iraq.

When asked why doesn’t Iraq follow Afghanistan’s example in signing such a repatriation agreement, the ambassador states that “Afghanistan is Afghanistan. It has nothing to do with us.”

Iraqi Ambassador Matheel Dhayif Al-Sabti.

Al-Sabti lays some of the blame on the EU for allowing so many people to come to Europe from countries like Iraq in 2015. According to him, Finland should treat the Iraqis in this country as guests and not threaten them with deportation.

“And many times I said to accept them as guests in your country because you know of the situation now in our country and the best thing is to leave them [here] now,” he said, adding that if the EU and Finland controlled their borders they wouldn’t have the present problem.

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Undocumented migrants and the absurd scapegoat excuses by the Finnish government

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The Finnish government, specifically the interior minister, Paula Risikko of the National Coalition Party (NCP), is a master of double talk and deception when it comes to the topic of undocumented migrants. 

Risikko, like Päivi Nerg, permanent secretary of the interior ministry, have the nerve to state and warn us that undocumented migrants “are a threat” to Finland while it was them that created this so-called “threat.”

Risikko, Nerg and other politicians and officials live in denial. With their inhumane statements, which reveal their failed policies and ignorance, they attempt to place the blame on asylum seekers who are their unlucky victims. This is nothing new. The government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä scapegoats migrants near-constantly.

But let’s look at the absurdity of Risikko’s statement. In April, politicians from the NCP, Perussuomalaiset*, Center Party, Social Democrats and Christian Democrats voted in favor scrapping a law in April that gave residence permits on humanitarian grounds. By doing away with this option, parliament forced in one stroke the number of undocumented migrants to rise from a few hundred to the thousands.

In other words and in plain English, the politicians and government have created the ever-growing undocumented migrant problem in Finland.

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Soon-to-be deported SH opens new asylum case and is confident he won’t be forcibly sent to Iraq

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SH is one of the three asylum seekers that were detained on January 6 by the police and sent from Turku to the Metsälä detention center in Helsinki a week ago to await deportation. Since then, KM was released Thursday but SH and another Iraqi asylum seeker, AM, are still at the detention center. 

SH, who was detained a week ago in Turku with KM and was set to be deported to Iraq on Monday, spoke Saturday evening to Migrant Tales by phone.

KM and SH were detained in Turku by the police. They were residents of the asylum reception center in Laitila, located in southwest Finland.    Source: FRB-I.

“I have opened a new case,” he said. “Now I can leave the camp and this will stop my deportation.”

When asked why he wasn’t released like KM, SH said that it was probably because it is the weekend. He is hopeful that he will be released soon if not Monday.

Migrant Tales will follow SH’s and AM’s case. We hope that they will be released from detention as soon as possible.

We hope that they will be released from detention as soon as possible.

ترجمة لمقابلة صحفية تمت بين الصحفي و ناشط حقوق الانسان انريكي تسسييري مع السفير العراقي في هلسنكي الدكتور مثيل مضيف مجيد السبتي.

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لحوار كان ساعة واحدة يدور حول مدى قبول الحكومة العراقية لطالبي اللجوء الذين تود الحكومة الفنلندي ترحيلهم قسريا للعراق.حيث قال انه العراق لم يعطي الصلاحية او الضوء الاخضر لاي رحلات طيران تحمل عراقيين مرحلين قسريا الى العراق لانه لا يوجد هنالك اي اتفاقية او مذكرة موقعة بين الجانبين لاي شكل من اشكال الترحيل القسري للاشخاص الى العراق.

” لذلك الان و لاحقا يجب ان تقبل الحكومة الفنلندية الفكرة لعدم وجود أي مذكرة ” حسب ما اضاف السبتي و استمر بالحديث عن ” لقد قلتها مرات عديدة ل السيدة باييفي نرج نائبة وزير الداخلية. بعد ذلك أخبرت هاننا هيلينكو المديرة العامة لمكتب خدمات الهجرة, و ذكرتها بكل وضوح للجميع في كل الاجتماعات كذلك مع وزير الخارجية الفنلندي السيد تيموسويني بان العراق لن يقبل اي اشخاص مرحلين قسريا تحت اي ظرف.

و قال السفير السبتي بان جميع العراقيين الذين قدموا الى فنلندا اواخر سنة 2015 يجب ان يتم قبولهم كظيوف أخذين بنظر الاعتبار الظروف الصعبة التي يمر بها العراق.

السبتي توسع بالحديث ليقول بان السفارة العراقية في فنلندا لن تصدر أي وثيقة سفر لاي عراقي يرفض العودة الطوعية الى العراق.

اذا قمنا بدراسة موسعة و بحذر الدبلوماسيين و الموظفيين الحكوميين في فنلندا ك السيدة نرج و المسؤوليين في دائرة الهجرة الفنلندية عندما يتحدثون عن موقف الحكومة العراقية فيما يخص موضوع الترحيل القسري, او الحتجاز القسري و ترحيل كل من اللاجئين العراقيين ك. م. , س. ه. أ. م. حيث من الممكن ان تكون فقط حيلة من السلطات لارسال رسالة الى طالبي اللجوء العراقيين لمغادرة البلد بكلمة اخرة خدعه …

السلطات الفنلندية فعلت كل ما بوسعها لجعل طالبي اللجوء العراقيين يحسون بانهم غير مرغوب فيهم في فنلندا, ” حسب قول لاجيء عراقي “. حيث يقومون بوضعنا بمراكز استقبال مكتضة بالسكانين و الطعام يكون سيء, و عدم وجود جدية للسماح لنا بالعمل لتحسين من واقعنا ” حتى و ان كان هنالك حق للعمل و لكنه من المستحيل … ” فترات انتظار قرارات اللجوء طويلة جدا للشخص الواحد, مع اعطاء الاغلبية قرارات سلبية معلنين بان العراق بلد أمن … حيث يقومون برمي الاشخاص بالشارع في الشتاء مما جعل منا مهاجرين بدون اي سند قانوني, و الان بدؤوا بعمليات الترحيل القسري لنا …”

فنلندا لها تاريخ كبلد عامل و يعامل طالبي اللجوء بالكرامة التي يستحقونها و لم يحصلو عليها و يجب ان تكون مسؤولة بل يلاحقها العار. ماذا تتوقع منها ؟

الشكر ل 38000 طالب لجوء قدموا الى فنلندا ما بين عامي 2015 – 2016, سياسة دائرة الهجرة الغير كفووءة و المكلفة لم تكشف فقط نفسها غير كفووءة لدافعي الضرائب العام المنصرم ما يقارب مليارات اليوروهات تم صرفها ضمن ميزانية للتعامل مع وضع طالبي اللجوء في البلد …

تم صرف مئات الملايين من اليوروهات ملازمين لمراكز استقبل اللاجئين لاشهر كحلول فعالة تستخدم تقنيات لتخويف اللاجئين كالترحيل القسري ليقومون برتحيلهم قسريا للعراق ؟ كما قال سعادة السفير السبتي ” بان يعاملو كضيوف .. ؟ ألم يكن من الافضل استخدام الناس و دعم اندماجهمفي أجزاء مختلفة من فنلندا .. ؟

الحقيقة أن الحكومة الفنلندية أخذت على عاتقها استخدام الطريق الصعب ضد طالبي اللجوء و كحقيقة واقعية سيكون هنالك اتجاه معاكس على المدى البعيد. أنها فقط مسألة وقت حيث يتحول السؤال الى قضية محرجة كسياسة حالية من قبل الحكومة بسبب تكلفتها الباهضة و عدم كفائتها و مدى اهميتها و عدم انسانيتها …

Who’s responsible for the spike in hate crimes in Finland?

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National Police Commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen states that there is an upsurge in hate crimes in Finland, according to YLE News. He states that those hate crimes that are reported to the police service are only the tip of the iceberg. Is Kolehmainen being disingenuous? Why doesn’t mention he state clearly that politicians and political parties are polarizing society and emboldening racists?   

The national police commissioner states that one of the problems is that victims are reluctant to file a complaint to the police service. And why would they? It takes months, if not a near-eternity, for the police to get in touch with you.

Migrant Tales reported in May a case when a white Finnish woman insulted in a racist manner and threw a bucket of water on a Kenyan woman who lives in Helsinki. Still today the police and the non-discrimination ombudsman have not been in touch with the victim.

The latest sentences for hate speech – all present or former Perussuomalaiset (PS)* politicians – of MP Teuvo Hakkarainen, Tampere city councilor Terhi Kiemunki, Olli Sademies, Sebastian Tynkkynen and many others are an example of where part of the problem originates.

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In twenty years the Finnish Sports Gala still portrays an all-white image that remains stuck in an ethnic time warp

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How many visible minorities do you see in the picture below at the recent award committee of the Finnish Sports Gala? In the picture below lies the clear answer of the failure of integration sports policies in Finland for the last 20 years: All of the people in the picture are white! 

The ministry of education and culture instigated a program for greater cultural diversity in 1997 but twenty years later there is not one single minority or non-white Finn in the event below.

What makes the picture below amazing is that the organizing committee of the Finnish Sports Gala lacks sensitivity in even trying to have at least one visible minority in the picture below.
If there is a picture that shows obstinacy and denial of cultural and ethnic diversity in sports in Finland, it is without a doubt the one below.
Can you find one visible minority in the picture?