Comment: Dr. Pekka Tuomala, the director of the Centre for Torture Survivors in Finland, has accused the Finnish Immigration Service (FIS) of deporting refugees who have suffered torture to their home countries.
Tuomala says that torture can include psychological methods like watching a relative being killed or raped. Such cases are often ignored by the FIS, according to him.
“We can make a well-grounded assessment of whether somebody has been tortured or not, and we write that in medical statements,” says Tuomola. “According to the UN convention, torture victims should not be returned to the country where they were tortured. The problem is that the Immigration Service does not always believe us, or consider our statements.”
This is not the first time that Finland has deported asylum-seekers back to their home countries. In the cold war, it was the custom to send Soviet refugees back to the USSR.
Torture is the same thing but even countries like the United States have tried to make it more acceptable to the public. Even though the CIA taught repressive military regimes in different continents to the art of torture. Today the same crimes are committed through a funny term known as extraordinary rendition.
“This is a really awful experience when you find out that a person is going to be returned to the same situation in which they were tortured,” said Tuomala. “In effect, it’s a death sentence.”
The director of the Centre for Torture Survivors in Finland, Pekka Tuomala, has accused the Finnish Immigration Service of callous disregard for torture victims. He says that dozens of asylum seekers have their applications turned down and are deported back to their country of origin, in contravention of the United Nations Convention Against Torture. Nearly 60 percent of all asylum seekers in Finland have some kind of torture trauma. Physical and sexual torture are the most commonly understood ways in which people experience torture, but the effects of psychological torture can be even more serious.