This blog entry is dedicated to the late Donald Fields, Helsinki correspondent of the BBC, The Guardian, and Politiken to 1988. As a journalist writing from Finland for some of Europe’s biggest dailies in the 1980s like the Financial Times, there is one matter that stands out from those days: censorship. The censorship that Finland imposed
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Amnesty International criticized Finland in a 2014-15 country report on human rights violations for its treatment of asylum seekers, migrants, transgender people and conscientious objectors, according to YLE in English. It said that police inaction agains women and girls was another cause for concern. Should we be surprised? Not really. Finland has had a poor
I met Aleksander Shatravka in 2009 thanks to Migrant Tales. Finally after over twenty years searching as a journalist for such a person. He was one of twelve former Soviet citizens documented by Amnesty International who was forcibly returned to the USSR.
Of all the features I wrote for the Financial Times as Helsinki correspondent (1989-91), I am particularly proud of one that I co-authored with Christian Tyler. The last wall in Europe, which was published on January 26-27, 1991, was a long feature that attempted to shed light on Europe’s last wall, the Finnish-Soviet border, after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
My personal gratitude goes to all the bloggers that have made Migrant Tales “a voice for those immigrants and minorities whose views and situation are understood poorly and heard faintly by the media, politicians and public.”
If there was a disgraceful period on how Finland treated foreigners, that period would be the cold war era. Even though Russian troops never took control of Finland such as countries like Poland, Hungary and others, the shadow of the for former Soviet Union hung deep in Finland. This period, 1945 to the early or mid-1990s, should never be allowed to happen again.
At present, there are several things that are giving Finland a bad name: Islamophobia, the hostile environment, and hardline asylum policy. The latest setback to Finland’s image was handed down by the European Court of Human Rights for violating Article 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 2 states that everyone