The City of Oulu plans to lift a ban on asylum seekers visiting day care centers and schools on April 14, according to Mika Penttilä, the city’s director of education and culture. “This is not a ban,” said Penttilä, “but a recommendation that asylum seekers are not allowed to visit day-care centers and schools.”
Migrant Tales understands that a complaint was filed to the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman against the City of Oulu for banning asylum seekers from visiting daycare centers and schools.
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When asked why the ban or recommendation will be lifted in mid-April, Penttilä agreed that such a measure is against Section 6 of the Constitution.
Section 6 of the Constitution guarantees that everyone is equal before the law. It states: “Everyone is equal before the law. 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.”
Thus if there is a “recommendation” that asylum seekers cannot visit day-care centers and schools, the restriction must apply to everyone and not to one group.
Penttilä said that the situation at the beginning of January was very tense in Oulu and something had to be done to calm the situation.
The measure to ban asylum seekers from visits has had a negative impact of all people of color in Oulu.
An elementary school in Oulu was the target of recent attacks on social media due to a false rumor that asylum seekers had visited the school. Kello School principal, Timo Soini, said that the attacks amounted to threats and insults, according to Yle.
One of the problems about the measure to keep asylum seekers from visiting day-care centers and schools is the slow response of the authorities and the media to defend Section 6 of the Constitution.
Instead of remaining cool, the media has poured more fuel on the fire. A Migrant Tales story revealed that from November 27 to February 13, Ylealone had published 77 stories on the topic. On one day (January 14), it had published 13 stories!
The police as well have not made the life of the Muslim community of Oulu any easier since their statements have a heavy dose of racialization. Even if the police has said that nobody should take the law in their hands, Muslims don’t feel safe in Oulu. According to one source, they avoid going to the city center for fear of being attacked.
Since September 2017, the mosque in Oulu was vandalized 9 times since September 2017. The latest attack happened on February 26.
Last but not least are the politicians. I am not only talking about those of the Islamophobic Perussuomalaiset* party, which are attempting to get the most political mileage from what happened in Oulu. Even so, mainstream ones like the National Coalition Party (NCP) are reaping the advantages as well. NCP Interior Minister Kai Mykkänen is threatening to pass laws that will strip naturalized Finns of their citizenship if convicted for a serious crime like sexual assault.
- Finnish government and City of Oulu officials: Where is the concern and outrage? (February 28)
- Oulu’s knee-jerk reaction to the sexual assault crimes will do a lot of harm to the city’s image. Blame the media, police, politicians. (February 26)
- How a ban on asylum seekers visiting schools/childcare centers in Oulu, Finland, should work in order for it not to be illegal (February 4)
- Let’s challenge the City of Oulu’s decision to ban asylum seekers from visiting schools and daycare centers (February 1)
* The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13, 2017, into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. Despite the name changes, we believe that it is the same party in different clothing. Both factions are hostile to cultural diversity never mind Muslims and other visible minorities. One is more open about it while the other says it in a different way.
A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.