A good example of how some Finns label Others and how the media fuels the “us” and “them” mentality is when a teenage asylum seeker on Thursday was caught watching naked women taking showers at a local swimming hall in the Finnish town of Haukipudas, located 640km north of Helsinki.
When the teenager was caught the swimming pool officials forced all of the asylum seekers to leave the premises and banned them from entering the hall for the whole month of January.
While it is a good matter that the non-discrimination ombudsman came out publically stating that barring all asylum seekers could be – and is – against the law, what is surprising is the reaction of the swimming hall officials.
President Sauli Niinistö, who has looked from the side at Finland’s ever-growing xenophobic atmosphere and offered insufficient leadership on this front to contain it, stated that asylum seekers should follow the law in Finland. Apparently the swimming pool officials forget one of the most important laws when they decided to ban all asylum seekers from the swimming hall.
The Finnish constitution is quite clear on the matter. Section 6 states:
Everyone is equal before the law. No one shall, without an acceptable reason, be treated differently from other persons on the ground of sex, age, origin, language, religion, conviction, opinion, health, disability or other reason that concerns his or her person.