Finland’s asylum reception centers are like a game of Russian roulette without bullets

by , under Enrique Tessieri

I got an SMS today from an asylum seeker at the Suosaaren reception center: “Just now I was told that an Afghan guy tried yesterday to commit suicide by slitting his wrist. The ambulance and police arrived at 3:30pm.”

The person, who thought about ending it all, was kind and cordial, according to the source.

According to the Finnish Immigration Service, there have been 15-20 suicide attempts since October by asylum seekers. Only 5 have succeeded.

Even if the victim appears to have survived and is recovering, people at the Suosaaren reception center, which is located 9 km from Mikkeli, some are starting to feel desperate after months and months of waiting for their residence permits.

Yesterday was an especially gloomy day for Afghans in Europe since the EU and the Afghan government signed a repatriation agreement.

This means that Finland will be able to deport Afghans whose asylum application is rejected back to Afghanistan.

The source that broke the sad news to me, left me with a quote that sheds an eerie light on the today’s plight of asylum seekers in this country.

“Being at the asylum reception center has turned into a game of Russian roulette,” he said. “You pull the trigger expecting the bullet to fire. But after a while, you notice that you’ve been fooled. There are no bullets in the revolver to put an end to our suffering. The only thing that remains after making such a discovery is a sense of being nowhere where life doesn’t go forward.”

How long will the wait be? The secret of that answer is fate, according to the asylum seeker.