President Sauli Niinistö announced Sunday that Finland must help the Finnish children in the al-Hol camp in Syria but not the mothers.
What does this mean in practice? It suggests that Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s government will take the same line as Niinistö.
One of the interesting matters to ask about the whole affair is why it is such a hot issue? What roles do prejudice and anti-Muslim sentiment play in the debate?
If the president and the government see eye to eye on the matter, what does it imply for the mothers? What about those who don’t want to be separated from their children? Does it mean that both mother and child will remain in Syria in squalid conditions?
The handling of the whole al-Hol matter by the government will weaken its credibility further. A president and a government that is ready to throw its citizens to the dogs cannot command a lot of respect from people who take human rights seriously.
If the government is having such a difficult time agreeing on how to help some 10 women and 30 children, what does it mean to government plans to strengthen human rights and improve the legal situation of asylum seekers?
A while back, President Niinistö suggested that Finland’s policy concerning the women and children in al-Hol should be similar to the other Nordic nations, which only grant assistance to children, not their mothers.
Even if Niinistö turns to the other Nordic nations for policy guidance, he forgets to tell us about the anti-Muslim sentiment in Norway and that the country is ruled by the Conservative Party and Islmophobic Progress Party. Even in Denmark, where the Social Democrats won the elections, Islamophobic sentiment is the highest of all the Nordic countries.
In Sweden, which has always been an example of a welcoming nation to migrants and refugees, is having second thoughts as the shadow of the Sweden Democrats grows.
I am certain that if President Tarja Halonen (2000-2012) were in office, the government’s response to the al-Hol Finns would be different and more in line with these people’s human rights.
President Niinistö’s announcement concerning the Finns in al-Hol should not come to any surprise. His past comments and views about migration and cultural diversity are in line with what he said.
- Finnish President Sauli Niinistö’s disinformation bubble about racism and Others (26.4.2019)
- MP Ozan Yanar is right: President Sauli Niinistö’s New Year’s speech is problematic (4.1.2019)
- Exposing white Finnish privilege #47: President Sauli Niinistö’s “culture inside four walls” (25.1.2019)
- How the Finnish government, institutions and President Sauli Niinistö pander to anti-immigration sentiment and groups (21.5.2017)
- The two extremes claim by Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and the government is nothing more than an Okie from Muskogee (23.3.2017)
- The anti-immigration narrative of politicians, the police and President Sauli Niinistö is no mistake (6.2.2016)
- President Sauli Niinistö claims that asylum seekers threaten Finland and Europe (3.2.2016)
- President Sauli Niinistö’s “ultimatum” to asylum seekers should apply to Finns as well (5.12.2015)
- Migrant Tales video blog entry: President Sauli Niinistö’s New Year address 2013 (2.1.2013)