After nine days Namir al-Azzawi ended today his hunger strike citing “health reasons” and “because nobody cared,” according to a Facebook posting. Al-Azzawi was taken to hospital two times last week after fainting on Wednesday and Sunday.
“Even if I ended my hunger strike I will leave all the pictures and banner and visit this place [right across the little parliament] every day [from morning to night],” he said on the video. “I stopped the hunger strike not only because of health reasons but because the government and the Finnish media didn’t care.”
Al-Azzawi said that the message he wants to get across to Finns is that Iraq is not a safe place like the government alleges.
“If the government doesn’t change its decision [on Iraq] I will start a new hunger strike,” he concluded.
Apart from where al-Azzawi protests right across the little parliament, Iraqi asylum seekers have chosen Mannerheim’s statue in downtown Helsinki to be the main place where they’ll demonstrate daily against the Finnish Immigration Service’s (Migri) new assessment that claims that Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia are “safe” countries.
The assessment by Migri has come as a shock to many Iraqi asylum seekers in Finland.
Al-Azzawi wrote over a week ago on Sunday:
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 announces (in Arabic) in the video the end of his hunger strike.