President Sauli Niinistö’s track record on defending Nordic values and cultural diversity (non-white society) has been a disappointment for many. He is more than ready to protect white Finnish privilege and power but rarely, if ever, the rights of asylum seekers, visible minorities, and migrants.
The latest action comes from President Sauli Niinistö’s office which requested in the fall the head of the Feminist Party Katju Aro to retract from criticizing the president’s interpretation of the ongoing debate on migrants, minorities, and racism.
The Feminist Party chairperson said in a statement that President Niinistö isn’t serious about defending human and migrant rights in Finland when he referred to people who spoke out against racism as “one extreme.” According to Aro, this view reveals that President Niinistö doesn’t understand the context of the ongoing debate.
We at Migrant Tales couldn’t agree more with Aro’s analysis.
Read the full statement (in Finnish) here.
While Niinistö has, like Prime Minister Theresa May of the UK, referred to threats such as “uncontrolled” migration, that asylum seekers are a danger to European values, and that dual citizens threaten national security, the president’s office request to Aro is a direct glimpse into the stuffy closet Cold War Finland.
Back in those days, the Finnish media was regulated and kept on a short leash. It was directly told how it should “interpret” Finnish-Soviet relations. During those Cold War years, journalists didn’t even have the liberty to suggest EU membership for Finland. Those who went against the official Finnish foreign policy doctrine were labeled and blacklisted.
President Niinistö’s actions and past statements show that he is no friend of Finland’s ever-growing culturally diverse community. He has done dear little to encourage and empower members of that community and fight against discrimination and racism, which are alive and kicking in this country.
Disagree? Take a look at some of his recent statements:
- President Niinistö wants to tighten dual citizenship rules or do away with it altogether, and considers such people are a threat to national security;
- President Niinistö speaks of “white moderates” (see what Martin Luther King Jr. said about this group here) when he launches the tolkun ihminen concept, or “two-extremes” idea that labels human rights and anti-racism activists as extremists opposite to racists and far-right fanatics;
- President Niinistö questions asylum seekers and international agreements with his infamous “anyone who knows the word ‘asylum’ can enter Europe and Finland;”
- President Niinistö said that migrants pose challenge to western values;
- A poor record in standing up to racism and defending asylum seekers, migrants, and minorities.