Iraqi and some Syrian asylum seekers are planning to demonstrate Wednesday peacefully in Helsinki and the northern Finnish city of Kemi against a new assessment by the Finnish Immigration Service (Mgri), which sees countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia safe enough to return asylum seekers.
Wednesday’s demonstration will take place in Helsinki in front of parliament and the city center of Kemi.
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 were from Iraq.
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 with the Center Party and National Coalition Party.
“We were shocked about the decision by [the] immigration [authorities],” an Iraqi asylum seeker organizing the demonstration in Helsinki told Migrant Tales by phone. “There are militias, ISIL and a lot fighting taking place in [Iraqi] cities like Fallujah. In our opinion, Iraq isn’t a safe place at all.”
The asylum seeker in Helsinki said he hoped to expand the demonstration on June 20 to northern Finland and cities and towns like Kemi, Rovaniemi, Oulu, Kolari and others.
“We hope that immigration changes its assessment of Iraq,” the asylum seeker said.
Anther Iraqi asylum seeker in the city of Kemi said that the demonstration planned for tomorrow is against Migri, which claims that countries like Iraq are now safe.
“We are grateful for all the help we have received up to now from Finland,” the asylum seeker said.
* 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.”