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.
“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.”
Finland’s hardline stance towards asylum seekers has not only exposed the heartless populism of the Perussuomalaiset* party in government and the Center Party’s and National Coalition Party’s complicity, Finland’s immigration policy has become an utter failure.
The question to ask now is what will be the government’s next move?
Will it continue with its hardline policies or bite the bullet and deal with the problem in a humane and fair manner?
One important step in dealing with the problem would be to grant temporary residence permits to the vast majority of asylum seekers in Finland.
This used to be the case before April 2016, when the government, together with the Social Democratic Party and Christian Democrats, voted in parliament to scrap residence permits granted for humanitarian reasons.
We hope that the government starts to treat its asylum seekers as guests and in a humane and fair manner.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We, therefore, prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings. The direct translation of “Perussuomalaiset” is “basic” or “fundamental Finn.”