YLE in English: Finland tells gay asylum seekers to get back in the closet

by , under All categories, Enrique

Comment:  Finland has deported between 2008 and 2010 ten homosexuals to countries where they could receive harsh punishment for belonging to such a sexual minority, according to YLE in English. 

The Finnish Immigration Service denies such allegations. 

Homosexuality is seen as a crime in over 70 countries carrying even the death penalty. 

“It was surprising that the decision’s are there with detailed information about the countries, but it was decided that people were not in serious danger and could be deported,” says researcher Outi Lepola.

It is not the first time that Finland has been accused of sending asylum seekers to countries where they could face harsh punishment. During the cold war, Soviet asylum seekers were deported back to the USSR, where they were interned in mental asylums or sentenced to hard labor.   

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. 

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Finland has deported asylum seekers to countries where they could be put to death for their sexual orientation, in violation of international agreements. Some have been told to conceal their sexuality to ensure they remain safe.

Read whole story.

  1. eyeopener

    It seems we have the same old story over and over again. “Black shirts” under blue or white ones. When does Finland leave the forest and learn to live in a world that is divers and multicultural. What’s the problem!!

  2. justicedemon

    Ricky

    This item from Yle News in English is a poor translation of a garbled abridgment of the original article. Aside from some silly errors of grammar, the translated quotation from Outi Lepola omits the impact of a crucial qualifying expression todennäköisesti. This indicates that these administrative decisions were based on an assessment of the balance of risk of the individual falling foul of a serious danger and not – as the translation implies – on any suggestion that the danger was somehow not serious. By analogy: yes, we accept that you habitually sleepwalk, and yes, we accept that there are sheer unprotected cliffs in your country, but we feel that the chances of you sleepwalking over a cliff are highly remote.

    The Finnish original reads as follows:

    Se yllätti, että siellä oli päätöstekstejä, joissa oli yksityiskohtaista maatietoa, mutta sen vastaisesti oli päätetty, että voidaan käännyttää – että kyseisellä ihmisellä ei todennäköisesti ole suurta vaaraa.

    This is rather clumsy Finnish in my view, but we must at least appreciate that Lepola is referring to a body of source data comprising written decisions of the Finnish Immigration Service, the Administrative Court [of Helsinki] and the Supreme Administrative Court. Lepola is surprised that even though these decisions specify details of persecution in their countries of origin, the applicants were denied residence in Finland, [because the authority took the view that] the specific individuals concerned were probably not in great danger [personally].

    We could declare at this point that the Finnish authorities are gambling with people’s lives, but I think this is overdramatising. They are aware of the dangers, but consider that the risks to the specific individual concerned are acceptably small.

    The legal criterion here is a well-founded fear of individual persecution. Lepola does not claim that the Finnish authorities have failed to apply this criterion, but she disputes their interpretation of the criterion, because she feels that it does not conform to UNHCR guidelines. I’m no expert in the international humanitarian law, but I’m sure that this complaint is by no means a new one. UNHCR holds that applicants should be afforded a favourable margin of discretion when the facts of a case remain in doubt even after investigation. It’s by no means clear that Finland always applies this principle of interpretation.

    The key comparative report for this pan-European investigation is available online. It is hard to forgive the YLE translator for failing to include even this background information, given that there is a link to a Finnish translation on the Finnish YLE News story.

  3. Niklas

    eyeopener and Enrique

    Just out of curiosity: do you believe that Finland should just take all asylum seekers who are homosexual? How can you tell if someone is actually homosexual and who is just pretending?

  4. eyeopener

    @Niklas.

    If not -what I think will happen- why not become homosexual and find out. Excellent experience!!

    Oh, sorry: you are not willing to??

    WHAT IS YOUR GODDAMNED REASON TO INVOLVE THE FEELINGS OF OTHER PEOPLE?

    Are you GOD?? Or just a fucking idiot who doesnot understand feelings!!

  5. eyeopener

    @Niklas.

    Your “just out of curiosity” is appaling. But that’s why you ask, isn’t it!! You just demonstrate your absolute deep ignorance of feelings!!

    Hope you will -one day- find a person you think to love tells you this simple story.

    Hapyy feet!!

  6. justicedemon

    Niklas

    I think your question is reasonable, but it is not directly relevant to this thread. The YLE article does not discuss cases in which the authority has contested the applicant’s assertion of a certain sexual orientation as a point of fact. It fastens on cases in which the authority has accepted this point, but has decided that the homosexual individual’s risk of suffering persecution is acceptably minimal.

    Nor is this by any means the only factual question concerning an individual’s personal situation that can arise in asylum claims. Some recent public debate in Finland has focused on cases in which applicants report that they have converted to Christianity and submitted evidence to this effect, including certificates of baptism. Then again we have the age-old question of whether marriage, parenthood and varying degrees of family life are genuine or bogus.

    The normal administrative procedure for determining points of fact is to seek an impartial expert opinion.

  7. Niklas

    eyeopener

    Have you been drinking or what is your problem? I believe this kind of language is not suitable for a teacher.

    – If not -what I think will happen- why not become homosexual and find out.

    I believe you are born as a homosexual and you can’t just “become” a homosexual if you wish. But you can always pretend for the officials that you are a homosexual, if they know that country can’t refuse homosexuals refugees. Who wouldn’t you say that you are one if it would help you?

    – WHAT IS YOUR GODDAMNED REASON TO INVOLVE THE FEELINGS OF OTHER PEOPLE? Are you GOD?? Or just a fucking idiot who doesnot understand feelings!!

    I’m sorry but we can’t just base our decisions on “feelings”. This is a tough world and we can’t help everyone. Many people will die in these countries every day and it is sad, but it wouldn’t solve their problems if we would send them all to Finland (or some other European countries).

    justicedemon

    Thanks for your clear and polite answer.

  8. eyeopener

    @Niklas

    Get used to language you don’t expect from people. Get a piece of your own cake. Doesnot taste very well, does it??

    And a psychologist as you pretend to be writes in a language that comes from the gutter!!

    And: if you think I am sitting and waiting for your help you are very much mistaken!!

  9. Niklas

    eyeopener

    Calm down, Hans. You are an adult and I trust that you can do better that this.

    It seems kinda funny that you still haven’t answered to my original question, but instead you seems to rambling about feelings and what a bad person I am. You know, usually in these kind of topics people can share their opinions and then the reader can either agree or disagree with the person. You clearly disagree with me, but haven’t give any constructive criticism how my opinion is “wrong”.

    I just stated that homosexuality shouldn’t be a criteria for asylum status, because it can be easily faked. It doesn’t show in your blood, the way you behave or how you dress. Nobody is going to check what you are doing in your bedroom either. There are many people who actually are more entitled for asylum status and I don’t believe it would be fair that someone would get special treatment because of his/her sexual orientation.

  10. justicedemon

    Niklas

    I just stated that homosexuality shouldn’t be a criteria for asylum status, because it can be easily faked. It doesn’t show in your blood, the way you behave or how you dress.

    You made no such assertion previously in this thread.

    If sexual orientation is grounds for persecution, then it must also be grounds for granting refuge from persecution.

    As I indicated above, there are several factors that serve as reasons for persecution but are not outwardly obvious, especially when an individual has escaped from the context of that persecution. Religious affiliation and political conviction are factors of this kind. You are essentially arguing that Western nations should not have approved the asylum applications of religious and political defectors from the Eastern bloc, because a casual observer cannot immediately tell the difference between such a person and a raving Stalinist simply by looking at them.

    Do you think you could convince a professional psychologist or someone at Seksuaalinen tasavertaisuus ry that you are gay, simply by faking it? I find that very hard to believe.

  11. Yossie

    I really dont understand how all the problems will be solved by us taking all the gays in here Finland. Very same like in refugees in general. Lets have all that bother coming this far the grand standard of living! That is the very small minority of immigrants and poors in the world but lets give all who come here the rich live in our expense! Fuck the rest! Fuck the problem that causes them to immigrate!

    Main resources should be focused on solving the main problem. Not giving western standard of living for couple of lucky ones. Concerning homosexuals, I think Heidi Hautala suggested that development aid should require promoting of gay rights in the destination countries.

    http://www.aamulehti.fi/Kotimaa/1194713842597/artikkeli/heidi+hautala+nostaa+homojen+oikeudet+kehitysavun+karkeen.html

  12. justicedemon

    Yossie

    So what is the peruSSuomalaiset position on international development aid? Presumably they want to increase it, in order to tackle these problems at source, as you suggest?

    Please don’t even try to answer before you sober up.

  13. Niklas

    justicedemon

    “I just stated that homosexuality shouldn’t be a criteria for asylum status, because it can be easily faked. It doesn’t show in your blood, the way you behave or how you dress.”
    – You made no such assertion previously in this thread.

    I think I stated this in my first message: “do you believe that Finland should just take all asylum seekers who are homosexual? How can you tell if someone is actually homosexual and who is just pretending?”. Maybe this wasn’t as direct as my previous message, but how else you can interpret that?

    – Do you think you could convince a professional psychologist or someone at Seksuaalinen tasavertaisuus ry that you are gay, simply by faking it?

    Well, actually yes. What else I need to say except that I like men and I’m a homosexual? As I said in my previous message that you can’t tell who is gay and who it not. I understand if the person actually has been convicted to prison in his country because of his sexual orientation, but for my understanding (and please, correct if I’m wrong) this is not usually the case.

  14. Yossie

    Justicedemon

    “Please don’t even try to answer before you sober up.”

    Do you always feel the need to insult people like this? Since you are doing it awfully often. Hinting people who disagree with you are drunk at the moment or drunkards in general. Maybe its because you think I am a PS supporter and that somehow makes me 24/7 drunkard? Good to see you are free of prejudice…

  15. eyeopener

    @Niklas

    Difference of opinion is one issue I could discuss with anybody. The problem with you is that you first need a “kick in the but” (friendly meant) to realize that you passed a couple of stations.

    That’s why I do not discuss or rationalize with you anymore. You get a “piece of your own cake” and than you start to sob.

    Forget it. Your mentality is not worth discussing.

  16. justicedemon

    Yossie

    Look back at the garbled mess that was your first contribution to this thread. If you were not drunk, then how do you explain it?

    You have not fessed up to the point that PS want to cut development aid. So much for the noble goal of working to prevent the human rights violations that motivate international humanitarian migration.

    But of course consistency of policy is not important when you are trawling for the epähiket vote.

  17. justicedemon

    Niklas

    I interpreted your first message as a couple of questions, partly because they were more or less grammatically well formed and had question marks, and partly because you introduced them with the phrase Just out of curiosity.

    The first of those questions was slightly silly hyperbole, as sexual orientation is only relevant to asylum claims arising from persecution on grounds of sexual orientation. If a gay applicant fails to allege any such persecution, then the applicant’s gayness should not affect the outcome of the claim. The second question suggested that you were confusing the factual and normative aspects of asylum claims. I responded to this confusion.

    Well, actually yes. What else I need to say except that I like men and I’m a homosexual? As I said in my previous message that you can’t tell who is gay and who it not. I understand if the person actually has been convicted to prison in his country because of his sexual orientation, but for my understanding (and please, correct if I’m wrong) this is not usually the case.

    There is a rather loud contradiction in that paragraph. If you can’t tell who is gay and who is not, then how could anyone be convicted to prison in his country because of his sexual orientation?

    Anyway, to repeat the point: insofar as sexual orientation can be grounds for persecution, it must also be grounds for asylum. The ease or difficulty of verifying an individual’s sexual orientation does not affect this. Indeed sexual orientation is a great deal easier to verify than, say, political conviction. You skipped over my point about analysing the asylum claims of ideological or religious defectors from the former Eastern bloc, but these claims are essentially a great deal harder to verify. For some insight into modern psychological methods, you might like to google for “John Barrowman” “the making of me” and watch the associated BBC programme on youtube.

    I should add that it is a legal and administrative principle in Finland that assertions are assumed to be true unless there are grounds to hold otherwise. The authority is free to investigate the facts of the matter and the applicant has a duty to assist in this investigation, but it is ultimately unlawful to assume that an applicant’s assertions are false simply because they support the applicant’s claim. This applies equally to procedures as diverse as insurance claims, customs declarations and exemption from TV licensing fees.

  18. Yossie

    Justicedemon

    Why do you keep talking about PS? I am no PS politician or a member. I am not speaking behalf of Ps nor are they speaking on my behalf. Funny enough you sure dont miss a chance to use your favorite make up word of “epähike”. Ofcourse the only reason for that is that you just want to insult people and nothing else.

    About what a wrote in the start: I still find it valid, you people are not interested about curing the disease. You just want to tend the symptoms. The main concern here seem to be Finland is sending people back. Not the fact that there is homophobic laws and atmosphere in their native countries.

  19. Risto

    @Niklas

    You wrote the following: “I just stated that homosexuality shouldn’t be a criteria for asylum status, because it can be easily faked. It doesn’t show in your blood, the way you behave or how you dress. Nobody is going to check what you are doing in your bedroom either. There are many people who actually are more entitled for asylum status and I don’t believe it would be fair that someone would get special treatment because of his/her sexual orientation.”

    Whether it is possible to fake homosexuality or not is not what matters when it comes to applying for asylum. If someone asks for asylum on the grounds of his or her sexual orientation, then his application will be investigated. If he can prove that he has been persecuted because of his sexual orientation he is entitled to protection by the state where he first sought asylum. Simple as that.

    And you bet that the state investigates into this.

    Or else get out of the Geneva convention.

  20. Mark

    Yossie

    Hmm… curing the disease or treating the symptoms. An unfortunate choice of words when talking about homosexuality, but I understand that you probably didn’t intend to conflate the meanings.

    It doesn’t matter what we think. But as it happens, Finland does a lot of work in international forums to promote human rights, including the right to live free of discrimination based on sexual discrimination.

    The problem you intimated works both ways. If it’s difficult to prove someone isn’t gay, it’s also difficult to prove someone is gay, so that if you say that there is a burden of proof on people to prove they are gay, you have shifted the emphasis very significantly. Imagine a legal system that operated by demanding a defendent to prove they were innocent rather than to ask the prosecution to prove they were guilty.

    The point is, persecution according to sexual orientation does happen, and it is in our eyes an abuse of human rights. So what stand do we take? When someone comes to our borders claiming they have been abused, do you suggest that we say, sorry, but we don’t really value your rights any more than your host country because you are not a citizen of this country? That contradicts the whole notion of fundamental human rights as being something that you have and not something you have to ‘earn’.

    Fact is, I don’t know how many arrive in Finland claiming asylum based on persecuation for sexual orientation. Second, I don’t know if there is any evidence if people have falsely claimed to be gay only to be found out later. Thirdly, it is the job of government to pay particular attention to those people who potentially can suffer from multiple forms of discrimination or deprivation, i.e. you can be disadvantaged by being a woman, or by being disabled, but you are doubly disadvantaged if you are a disabled woman. The same applies here: an imigrant who is also gay is likely to face even more potential discrimination in a new country where racism and homophobia are still prevelant to any extent. What you are talking about doesn’t take account of the challenges for the individual, only of the potential abuses of the system of the host country. While it’s an issue, though how much I don’t really know, but what concerns me is what you don’t say, about what would be done to recognise the rights of that individual and the potential vulnerability of that individual in the new host society. If you are interested in human rights, and by talking about the ’causes’ in those countries where these immigrants might come from, I assume you do think Finland is somehow better. If so, why is that? Because we take human rights seriously, and enshrine them in law, AND back that up with real action to protect those that are vulnerable. Can you see how a gay immigrant might be doubly vulnerable, and if so, what do you think Finnish authorities could or should do about that?

  21. Allan

    Eyeopener – why don’t the gays then live in this world that is “diverse and multicultural”? Exactly because it is “diverse and multicultural” they need to come to seek asylum in Finland? Thats your problem, the “multiculturalism” in the world, if you would have e.g. Finnish culture, gays would not have a problem, eh?

  22. MaryMekko

    Finland should absorb ALL gays from African and Arabic countries, ASAP. This will show the world press that Finland is the top of the heap for diversity and tolerance. Ex-USSR gays should be given second priority, since they’re no longer tortured in mental hospitals as they were in Communist days. But those poor gay guys in black Africa and Muslim countries, oh their sufferings are immense!!! Open your cold, snowy, monied doors at once!

    And the Finns’ opinion of this? NO SAY, NO WAY! That’s immigration policymakers’ motto.

  23. eyeopener

    @MaryMekko

    Shoot everybody who is not Catholic, gay or white!! Free all pedophile priests especially Irish from prosecution. And deport all criticasters of these ideas to mental Guantanamo’s.

    And appoint MaryMekko as the President of the WorldCouncil for the Eradication of Subhuman, Subsexual and Multi-racial expressions!!

    A New BoozeParty Leader has arisen. Whiskey Galore!!

  24. MaryMekko

    Funny that Eyeopener thinks I’m drinking. Alas, my son, I am sober as a judge, and I see what is happening to Finland because it’s already happened here in California.

    Is it true that in Finland, if you disagree with someone, you assume that he/she’s drinking? Is that an insult, or some sort of excusing, to give no validity to a viewpoint?

    And my suggestion about helping the poor prosecuted and tortured African gay men was NO JOKE. Here is a story from my tourbus in San Francisco. I had the Vice-President of Zimbabwe and his wife, middle-aged children and grandchildren on my bus, along with security men and representatives of Toughshed. Toughshed had sponsored their trip to America because they sell ready-made pre-fab garden- and tool-sheds for backyards. There was apparently some money somewhere about to be spent on Zimbabwe’s townships, to turn their miserable cobbled-together cardboard/tin/scrap-lumber huts into Toughsheds.

    I was showing the group Market St. at Castro, the heart of the gay (male) community, an old working-class district, which became gay in the 1960’s and 1970’s, pushing families out. I explained all this in the usual historical, neutral way, since I know that on every bus there are gay people or those involved with them, have them as sons, etc. Most gay men think my lecture is very fair and honest, showing both sides of a question: if a neighborhood changes dramatically because of a new influx, driving the oldtimers out, is that good or bad? The fact is, a change comes to the entire city and cannot be ignored or confined to one area.

    Mr. VP was an old and tired man, very dark-skinned (more than his children) and definitely too exhausted for his post. He only responded to jokes, and especially of the Irish type, for it turned out he had been educated back in Rhodesia by Irish Catholic missionary brothers.

    When I explained that the water came up to the houses on the hills by pumps, reservoirs and electricity, he looked blank. I told him, “Well, you are a VIP and a VP, so I’ll tell you the truth, it’s leprechauns bringing the water up at nighttime. You can’t see them.”

    He laughed uproariously! From that point on, we were friends, until we hit the Castro.

    Then he listened to my explanation of why there were so many big rainbow flags flapping up and down Market St (our main street); it was the week of the annual Gay Pride Parade.

    “We expect about 500,000 visitors, from all over the world,” I said.

    The Zimbabweans talked amongst themselves in their own language. “No, ” they said, “Not from all over the world. NOT from Zimbabwe. There are NO gays in Zimbabwe!”

    This was about ten years ago, when I did not know about the death penalty for gays in Africa.

    “Really?” I was genuine surprised, but assumed it might be an Irish joke coming. “Then yours is the only country in the world without gays! Congratulations!”

    They burst out laughing again and said, “Yes, we killed them all! Hahahahahaha!”

    They weren’t joking.

    Those black male gays from Africa DO DESERVE TO MOVE TO FINLAND NOW!!!

    Take them in, embrace them, put them on welfare, and save their rear ends!

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