Interior Minister Petteri Orpo said that in order to make Finland a more secure place, each asylum seeker will have to sign an agreement that he or she will not break the law and respect Finnish culture, according to YLE.
“In this way they [asylum seekers] will understand and promise to follow Finnish laws and culture,” said Orpo. “We want to make clear these basic rules [to them].”
Read full story here.
While such an initiative is bound to fail and fall flat on its face, I for one hope that Finnish politicians and ministers like Hanna Mäntylä and Jari Lindström and many others would follow, or at least understand, our constitution and laws.
What about substitute MPs of the PS like Juha Maenpää who wrote on his Facebook wall that god answered his prayers after an asylum reception center was razed to the ground by a suspected arson attack in Niinsalo Tuesday? How does Mäenpää follow and respect our laws and culture?
Orpo’s attempt to get asylum seekers to sign an agreement reveals, in my opinion, his opportunism and ignorance about the challenges the country faces with over 30,000 asylum seekers. It also reveals how much influence the PS has in government concerning immigration policy.
Such an “integration” contract has been suggested by many populist and anti-immigration politicians before. I don’t think it has ever been applied anywhere in Europe because it simply wouldn’t work.
Asking somebody to sign such a contract shows that you don’t trust them and see them as a security risk. A country that takes in refugees doesn’t offer a good image of itself and to asylum seekers by showing suspicion instead of faith and fairness towards them.
By asking them to sign such an agreement we are suggesting that they will break the law and are potential criminals. People, irrespective of their background, are innocent before proven guilty, right? That’s a basic human right that applies to everyone.
When Orpo talks about following Finnish culture does he mean that Muslims can now drink alcohol and get drunk the Finnish way? Can they be racist like some Finns? Racism is a part of our culture and a way how men and women boost their low self-esteem.
Go here if you want to read something about the dark side of Finnish culture.
Why doesn’t the government stop these double standards and ask ministers like Mäntylä, who like her colleague Justice Minister Jari Lindström, to read what Section 6 of the Constitution states and guarantees.
Section 6 Equality:
“No one shall, without an acceptable reason, be treated differently from other persons on the ground of sex, age, origin, language, religion, conviction, opinion, health, disability or other reason that concerns his or her person.”
Both ministers, who are members of the anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party, aren’t serious about solving the present challenges that Finland faces concerning the large number of asylum seekers but are more interested in scoring brownie points with some of their racist followers and voters.
One of the matters these ministers want to do is to turn these asylum seekers into third-class members of society by watering down their rights and social security benefits. The social welfare benefits of white Finns, however, wouldn’t be touched by them.
Blogger Saku Timonen has written about these unconstitutional changes on numerous occasions by Mäntylä and Lindström. Timonen, who is a lawyer, stated that the only way that social welfare benefits can be lowered to foreign residents in Finland is by lowering these benefits for everyone.
In our opinion, the ignorance of our laws of ministers Mäntylä and Lindström is as dangerous to our society as any person, regardless if he or she is a Finn or a foreigner, who doesn’t respect or abide by our laws.
The best way for people to respect Finnish laws and culture is to show, first and foremost, that we genuinely respect them and that our laws are fair for everyone.
We’re a country built on social justice and equality, not social inequality and discrimination.
* The Finnish name of the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English-language names 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.