Amnesty International Report 2020/21 cites recurring problems with asylum seekers and children that the Finnish authorities continued to detain unaccompanied children and families. Finland continues to maintain strict rules in its immigration act approved in 2016 by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s government (2015-2019).
Some observers believe that these restrictions, like shortened appeal times and strict family reunification requirements, will be lifted by Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s government.
Other issues that the report cites are violence against women and girls, indigenous rights, low social security levels, excessive use of force by the police, legal gender recognition (Transgender law), the right to privacy (surveillance), and conscientious objectors.
Writes Amnesty International in its report:
Amnesty International writes in its 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 report: “Support services for women who experienced domestic violence remained inadequate. Legislation on legal gender recognition continued to violate the rights of transgender people. Draft constitutional changes limiting the right to privacy were proposed.”
Here are some of the questionable “accomplishments” of Spilä’s government with respect to asylum seekers:
- Free legal representation restricted to applicants who required exceptional grounds for assistance;
- Deadline for appeals was lowered from 30 to 21 days after a second rejection and to 14 days after the third rejection;
- The government tightened appeal times in the hope of ejecting asylum seekers faster from Finland;
- There were further administrative restrictions and practical difficulties making the application process more complicated;
- Tightened family reunification laws;
- No time limit on detaining families with children in immigration removal centers like Joutseno and Metsälä;
- Lack of government leadership in tackling Islamophobia and racism contributed to Finland’s hostile environment affecting migrants and inhumane immigration policy.