Iraqi asylum seeker hunger strike day 1: “Iraq wasn’t and still isn’t safe”

by , under Namir al-Azzawi

Dear People of Finland,

I started my hunger strike on Sunday in protest of the unfair decision by the Immigration Authorities (Migri), which claim that countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia are safe to return asylum seekers. Many of us Iraqis were disappointed by the decision taking into account that we fled that country because it wasn’t and still isn’t safe. I will not stop my hunger strike until the Immigration Authorities change their decision.

Namir al-Azzawi

(Migrant Tales will report on a daily basis about the progress of the hunger strike. We hope that other media and bloggers will visit Namir al-Azzawi and write about him and his hunger strike).

Näyttökuva 2016-6-5 kello 20.06.20
Namir al-Azzawi carrying out his hunger strike next to parliament.

Näyttökuva 2016-6-5 kello 20.08.06

A group of Iraqis in Helsinki and Kemi demonstrated Wednesday protesting a new assessment by the Finnish Immigration Service that Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia were now safe countries to return asylum seekers.

“About 150 people took part in the demonstration today in front of Parliament [in Helsinki],” an asylum seeker told Migrant Tales Wednesday.

The new assessment by Migri makes it harder for asylum seekers in Finland to be granted residence permits.

Last year, some 32,500 asylum seekers came to Finland.  Most of them are from Iraq.

Some estimates suggest that some 20,000 asylum seekers will get a negative decision to stay in Finland.

The tightening of government immigration policies is attributable to the rise in anti-immigration sentiment and to the anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party, which is a member of government together with the Center Party and National Coalition Party.

Namir al-Azzawi announcing (in Arabic) his hunger strike.

The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party 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. The direct translation of “Perussuomalaiset” is “basic” or “fundamental Finn.”