More alleged abuses of asylum seekers by Barona security guards

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Migrant Tales continues hearing disturbing news about the poor treatment by Barona security guards and the Finnish police of asylum seekers. 

Barona is a private employment agency that owns Luona, a subsidiary that manages eight asylum reception centers in Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, and Hyvinkää.

Any problem with an asylum seeker at a Luona reception center and the police is called. They are usually taken to a police station where they are locked up is some cases for up to 15 hours.

One asylum seeker who took a picture of himself by a Barona security guard’s car got questioned and got sent to the police station for 1-2 hours. One wonders what “crime” he committed.

Would a white Finn be sent to the police station if he did the same thing? I doubt it. 

Migrant Tales heard that Barona security guards had locked out as well some asylum seekers from their rooms for three days for cooking food inside their room.

Isn’t this unfair punishment? It’s the standard way that Barona security guards punish asylum seekers by forcing them to be humiliated and sleep in the hallway.

We’ve heard as well of another unsuccessful suicide attempt at the Luona reception center in Pitäjänmäki (Kutomontie). The asylum seeker, who appears to suffer from depression, asked to be treated by the nurse, who told him to come back after the Easter weekend. The person was disdraught by the nurse’s answer.

A complaint made by an Iraqi asylum seeker at Luona’s Kutojantie reception center in Espoo shows alleged arbitrary abuse by security guards.

He writes:

Näyttökuva 2016-2-24 kello 13.04.16

I am an Iraqi asylum seeker. I am an invalid and a victim of sectarian violence. I was a victim of a car bomb and walk with crutches. I’m suffering from traumas and a difficult mental situation. I am a resident at Luona’s Kutojantie reception center. 

I am complaining about my treatment by Luona, Barona security guards, and the police of Espoo.

I was in a gas station recently to use free wifi so I could chat and communicate with my family in my home country.

A Barona Kurdish secutiry guard saw me in front of the supermarket.

I returned to the reception center at 1:00 am. I was first stopped by a Thai security guard working for Barona and asked to show my ID. The guards scared me and I panicked. I don’t understand why they asked me for my ID since they know me very well! I refused to show my ID without a valid reason from them and that they weren’t abusing their power. I’m aware that these guards make false report about the residents. As a result, I ended up thrown on the ground and they escorted me outside of the reception center. They called the police and locked me up in a cell for no reason. There was no one that could explain what I did wrong. No interpreter, no explanation!

The police did not investigate at all. They didn’t talk to me and treated me like a terrorist. The Kurdish guard sent me once to the police station, where I was locked up. Neither staff, Barona security guards nor the police didn’t take into account my physical and mental health state. There was no consideration for my handicap. I am very traumatized and facing psychological torment as a result.

Barona’s security guards are used to intimidating residents. All in all, there are 10 of them: 5 guards in total, or 3 Finns, 1 Kurd, and 1 Thai. The Thai guard knows me very well humiliates me and makes fun of me! You can check the surveillance camera video. This happens on daily basis. The head security guard laughs at me often. The Thai security guard routinely asks residents at the camp for their IDs.

This is a humiliating and intimidating strategy to spread fear and panic among the residents.

I am suffering from continuous pain in my foot and legs and there is insufficient treatment from the medical staff and services. The only medical treatment I got was: Burana 800 mg and vitamins for children! One Afgani died at our camp. I saw this happen before my eyes.

The management is bad and our human rights are constantly violated. I, therefore, ask you to investigate my complaint.

Thank you so much for your consideration.

Watch a Spotlight documentary of how life is like in a Finnish asylum reception center.