Posts Tagged: asylum seekers

Why is racism such a difficult matter for Helsingin Sanomat to address?

Helsingin Sanomat raised an important question: There are a record amount of asylum seekers from Ukraine, but nobody is crying murder like when mostly Iraqis and Afghans came to Finland in large numbers in 2015. In a statement Monday, the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) said that there are over 37,000 Ukrainians registered in the Finnish

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Our willingness to help “women and children” Ukrainian refugees is code for anti-Muslim racism

Think about it. Finland’s far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party has had a total change of heart about refugees, which it has attacked and fed its popularity. Not only the PS, but other parties like the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus), Center Party, and a “taxi party” Liike Nyt, according to Yle. A taxi party is one where

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How will we treat Ukrainian refugees in Finland?

The interior ministry estimates “tens of thousands” Ukrainians moving to Finland as a result of the war in that country, according to  Yle News. There are about 7,000 Ukrainians in Finland, but Anna Rundgren, a ministry of interior senior specialist, believes that the actual figure is several times higher. In 2015, the country saw a record

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Exposing white Finnish privilege #83: War doesn’t give a hoot if you are white or black

The war in Ukraine is like a sinister brew boiling over death, destruction, tragedy, hatred, and xenophobia. Apart from the shock and horror, our double standards and jingoism stand out as a stark reminder that we have done little to challenge the very social ills that caused the deaths of tens of millions of people

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At times like this, I am ashamed of Finland and the EU

The so-called migrant crisis with Belarus offers Lukashenko and Putin an opportunity and EU politicians tools to fearmonger and score brownie points with voters. Isn’t it odd how one-sided the news is about the refugee crisis at the Belarus border? Most of the opposition politicians, especially from the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus), believe that harsh

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The cracks are beginning to show

Islamophobia and other forms of racism are for some politicians their gateway to power and infamy. Watching part of the firey debate Wednesday in parliament that led to a vote of confidence for the government, one wonders what some politicians, especially with the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party, have in their heads.  The saddest matter was the

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Oops! Incorrect suspected sexual assault cases for 2020

Sexual assault, especially suspected cases, is heatedly used by anti-immigration parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* and public services like the police to demonstrate how some foreigners are. The police admitted today to a mistake in tabulating suspected sexual assault cases during 2020. The mistake originates from a foreigner suspected of sexually assaulting his wife 141

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Finnish government to ease (alas) strict family reunification law

The Finnish government of Prime Minister Sanna Marin plans to overturn the country tightened immigration law and family reunification requirements, which came into force a year later after a record 32,477 asylum seekers came to Finland in 2015. The then government of Center Party Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, the anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party was a

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Exposing white Finnish privilege #81: Racializing crime, perpetuating stereotypes and racism

Treat with tweezers whenever percentage figures are used to depict sexual assault cases by migrants. A government-commissioned study published Thursday concluded that migrants are over-represented in suspected sexual assault crimes, perpetuating a toxic narrative. Such generalizations give ammunition to Islamophobes like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party to maintain and reinforce racist stereotypes.  To look at how the Finnish

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The Finnish media’s reporting about migrants and minorities is a disappointment

It is surprising, even worrying, that outsiders are the ones that help burst the media’s many bubbles. One such OP-ED published Wednesday in Helsingin Sanomat by Antti Kivijärvi, and Martta Myllyä sheds light on the blind spot created by exceptionalism and ethnocentrism. Should it be a surprise that this state of affairs happens whenever migrants

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Insulting migrants is called “discussion” and a privilege of white Finns

THIS STORY WAS UPDATED Remember when Center Party parliamentary group leader Juha Pylväs slammed asylum seekers as “parasites” that wanted to live off social welfare? Pretty sickening and lowly on his part. I hope that Pylväs get charged with ethnic agitation. But what is worse? The silence and support for what he said and the

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The PS and its obsession with migrants

If you had the opportunity to listen inside the brain of a Perussuomalaiset (PS)* politician, you’d probably hear the following word: migrants, maahanmuuttajat, migrants, maahanmuuttajat… The head of the PS parliamentary group, Ville Tavio, regurgetates that obsessive word in countless tweets and statements. Tavio tweets: “Finnish human rights are threatened as a result of massive

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Ilayta’s and her family’s new life in Finland is a message full of resilience, hope, and courage

Migrants search for hope. Their searching offer us hope. Fourteen-year-old Ilayta’s family history and her drawings offer a glimpse of what hope is. They were searching for five years for a new home in Greece, and four years in Finland finally paid off in July 2019, when they were given a residence permit in Finland.

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Number of coronavirus infections at the Espoo asylum reception center soar to 97

Coronavirus infections at the Luona-managed Nihtisilta reception center in Espoo now stand at 97, according to Luona’s Business Director Suvi Salonen. That compares with two cases at the beginning of April and up to 25 during the middle of the month. “We tested 207 people [of the Nihtisilta reception center] on Monday and Tuesday and

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Greek-Turkish border crisis: Shame on the EU, shame on Turkey, shame on us

THIS STORY WAS UPDATED Shame on Greece. Shame on Turkey. Shame on Europe. Shame on President Sauli Niinistö as thousands of migrants are massing at the Greek-Turkish border. The pictures that Europeans are witnessing the humanitarian crisis through their local media are scary. Yesterday, Monday, it was reported that a child aged 6 or 7

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The PS playbook of how to spread racism, disinformation and fake news

Perussuomalaiset (PS)* first vice president and MP, Riikka Purra, is at it again. During the postal strike, she misled people by stating that 98% of early morning mail carriers were migrants. Early morning mail carriers are a small part of the postal company’s services. According to Posti, 80% of postal workers in Finland and 70%

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Iltalehti does it again: Spreading hatred and degrading asylum seekers

Finland’s tabloids, Iltalehti and Ilta-Sanomat, are part of the country’s racism and Islamophobia problem. Back in 2015, Ilta-Sanomat stated on a billboard that 10,000 “illegal refugees” will come to Finland. This biased and racist journalism exposes how biased and unbalanced some Finnish media is. In their ever-alarming way to boost sales, Iltalehti led a story

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Asylum seekers start indefinite demonstration in front of the Finnish Immigration Service

A group of present and former asylum seekers decided to hold an indefinite demonstration in front of Helsinki’s Finnish Immigration Service’s (Migri) on Thursday for better rights and security in Finland. Walid Sahib, one of the persons taking part in the demonstration, said that the most important matter is to raise awareness for the plight

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Dedicated to the “let them drown” MEP candidates of Finland

Islamophobes and other racists believe that those they victimize have short memories. Wrong. We remember and will do everything for our children and grandchildren to remember their viciousness. Migrant Tales published a shameful list of Finnish MEP candidates who answered an Alma Media election compass question: “Is it the obligation of the EU to save

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Perussuomalaiset MP dehumanizes asylum seekers as “invasive species”

Perussuomalaist* MP Juha Mäenpää, a member of the far-right Nazi-spirited Suomen Sisu, labelled asylum seekers in a session of parliament as “an invasive species.“ Mäenpää is the same person who in 2015 stated that god had answered his prayers after a reception center that was going to house asylum seekers was razed to the ground.

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City of Oulu’s “ban” on asylum seekers visiting day-care centers and schools may be unconstitutional. “Ban” to be lifted on April 14.

The City of Oulu plans to lift a ban on asylum seekers visiting day care centers and schools on April 14, according to Mika Penttilä, the city’s director of education and culture. “This is not a ban,” said Penttilä, “but a recommendation that asylum seekers are not allowed to visit day-care centers and schools.”

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ANTI-HATE CRIME ORGANISATION STATEMENT: You should not generalize and label all migrants

STATEMENT 5.2.2019 Suomen viharikosvastainen yhdistys ry Finska Anti-Harbrottsorganisation rf Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland   The news about the sexual assault cases in the northern Finnish city of Oulu have shocked everyone irrespective of the person’s cultural and religious background. Even so, in racializing the problem and debating whether sexual abuse is linked to a person’s

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WARNING RACIST CONTENT: Helsingin Sanomat survey exposes the DNA of Finland’s racism

Helsingin Sanomat’s survey published on Monday after another questionable story on “model immigrants” was widely criticized on social media as outright racist. Even so, I would like to thank Finland’s largest daily for exposing the DNA of Finland’s racism and the continued low caliber of its journalism on topics related to asylum seekers and migrants. 

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Warning: Islamophobic content – schools and daycare centers in Oulu to temporarily ban visiting rights by asylum seekers, refugees

Here is a story you would never expect to read in a country like Finland, which bases its values on social equality, human rights and mutual respect. The decision to ban asylum seekers and refugees from visiting schools and daycare centers in Oulu due to the suspected sexual abuse cases raises a lot of questions. 

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Ali’s journey: Getting married in Turkey and the long wait. Will he get a visa to Finland?

On 10.10.2018, Ali,* 22, and his Finnish wife, 19, spent one of the most memorable days of their lives when they got married in Ankara. Present at the ceremony were two witnesses, the wife’s sister and a friend of Ali’s. Marriages in Turkey take place at the Turkish Marriage Offices.   “Everything went smoothly and rapidly,” said

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Some asylum seekers in Finland live in crowded rooms and in dreadful conditions

Below are two picture and a short note from an asylum seeker called Adam who came to Finland in 2012. During his long and painful sojourn in this country, being locked up for a year at the Joutseno immigration removal center to being an undocumented migrant, Adam is now staying at an asylum reception center in the Greater Helsinki area.   

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A message from Ali, who was deported to Kabul, Afghanistan, from Finland

A thirty-year-old  Afghan asylum seeker who was deported from Finland three months ago got in touch with me Thursday morning. His messages on Messenger were simple but behind them were evident uncertainty and anxiety. We spoke in Finnish by phone later in the afternoon. Ali had learned a lot of Finnish in the two and a half years he waited unsuccessfully for a residence permit. 

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Prime Minister Juha Sipilä fuels Finland’s hostile environment for migrants

While I was not surprised by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s comments about migration and the rise of the far right in YLE’s Ykkösaamu talk show, the interview offers a good example of how his government continues to fuel Finland’s hostile environment for migrants.  According to Adrian Berry, a leading UK immigration lawyer, defined in in The Guardian, the

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An active citizen needs to learn at school about two crucial matters: empathy and social activism

If we look at history and today’s Europe and globally, it becomes clear that most people who went to school that too many never learned about empathy and social activism. A positive example of the latter is Elin Ersson, who refused to take a seat on a flight before they removed an Afghanistan deported asylum seeker off the plane. 

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A food distributor that hires asylum seekers, pays them under the table, to change the sell-by dates of their old products

An Espoo-Helsinki-based ethnic-food distributor, which allegedly hires asylum seekers and pays them near-starvation salaries under the table, uses such victims to repackage and change the sell-by dates of food products that should not be sold. Some of these products are allegedly five years old and their sell-by dates have changed twice, according to an asylum seeker, who spoke on condition of anonymity. 

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Tightening of immigration laws in Finland and the exploitation of migrants

The near-constant negative labelling of visible migrants like Muslims and minorities by too many Finnish politicians and society has not only weakened their civil rights as Amnesty International pointed out, but led to their exploitation by dishonest and greedy employers that promise them a job and a ticket to a residence permit. 

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Twitter: UNICEF criticizes Finland over the detention of asylum-seeker children

UNICEF rebukes Finland over its treatment of asylum-seeking minors, according to YLE News. Human rights activists like Zuzeeko Tegha Abeng have lobbied Finland to stop detaining children in 2013. He wrote: “According to Amnesty International, children should be in day care centres, schools or skateparks – not in police detention. Finland detains thousands of people

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Iraqi asylum seeker in detention cell 406: “Migri doesn’t believe I’m a Christian”

 Just like the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) proclaims violent countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia to be “safe” for such nationals but not for Finns, they don’t have any problems about deporting you back to such countries if you are a Christian. If what Iraqi asylum seeker in detention cell 406 in Lappeenranta states is correct, his life is in danger if deported as a Christian back to his former home country. 

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Migrant Tales insight: Swedish Daily News published an article on legal alternatives for negative asylum decisions in Finland

Anyone who has had a refusal to emigrate from Finland has the problem of not organizing his or her defense at the appeal stage of the Finnish courts. Unfortunately, many are getting their applications for asylum rejected by the court. It is important to obtain support and information on the closure of the asylum case in Finland after all stages of the judicial appeal are exhausted.

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Finland’s Draconian immigration policy today has its roots in the Cold War era

The quote sits well with Finland’s Draconian immigration and asylum policy. The number of undocumented migrants has soared from an estimated 300. Those who are lucky enough to get a residence permit can say goodbye to ever bringing their loved ones to this country because family reunification requirements have been tightened.  In sum, the Finnish government and the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) have done everything possible to make their lives as miserable as possible and expel them from here.

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The words and silence of politicians have dire consequences in Finland for us

After the stabbing of ten people in Turku on Friday, politicians like President Sauli Niinistö, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, Interior Minister Paula Risikko, the national media, which echoes far-right opinions of Jussi Halla-aho, the chairman of the Perussuomalaiset* who was convicted for hate speech, appear to be carried away by their own prejudices and hostility towards asylum seekers, which does impact our culturally diverse community.

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Facebook Nuor Dawood: Leaving to a country that doesn’t deport children, pregnant women and asylum seekers

Migrant Tales insight: Nuor Dawood states perfectly in the Facebook posting below what too many asylum seekers feel in Finland. History will not forget Finland or the European Union for its total lack of empathy.  In many respects, it’s the same attitude and indifference that permitted the Holocaust to happen in the 1940s. Just put them

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Avelino* wasn’t the first undocumented migrant I had met in Finland

I got an email from a Migrant Tales reader who told me about Avelino*, a middle-aged Filipino who was working in Finland but who got deported last year with his two children. He wasn’t the first undocumented migrant I had met in Finland. The first one I met was a Mexican cook in the 1980s who was working for a restaurant called Mexicana in Helsinki.

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(Announcement) 2017 Summer School Migration in Southern Europe: Solidarity, Crisis and Beyond

This seven-day course “Migration in Southern Europe: Solidarity, Crisis and Beyond” will investigate the developments, challenges and the impact of the migration and refugee crisis on southern European societies and on migrant populations. It will also explore the prospects for improving the current management of issues and relevant social policies. In conjunction with the lectures

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A message from a 13-year-old asylum seeker girl that will be deported: “Good night”

The ordeal of the Iraqi family of nine that is expects to be deported possibly Wednesday hasn’t ended but there is hope despite everything. One of the children of the family, who is 13, sends a message below from the immigration removal center at Joutseno: “Good night.” The youngest member of the family is 1.5

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Twitter Muhammed Shire: Päivi Nerg faces tough questions on Tuesday

Migrant Tales insight:  Thank you Muhammed Shire for tweeting this. The fact that there are so many questions thrown at permanent secretary of the interior ministry, Päivi Nerg, about Monday’s deportation is a good sign. It shows that more and more people in Finland oppose the government’s asylum policies. Don’t be confused by Nerg’s title.

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Iraqi and Afghan demonstration protestors attacked in Helsinki by Finnish thugs

It’s clear from the comments of far-right Suomi Ensin protestors and even of some Helsinki city councilors that they want the #righttolive demonstration that has been going on since February to end. Even so, far-right demonstrators are confident that the police and Finnish political establishment is on their side that they video and upload an attack against two demonstrators of the #righttolive camp.

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لا استئناف لقرار الرفض لانك ستحصل على قرار سلبي في كل الاحوال

هذا ما قاله مسؤول في الشرطة لعائله ارادت الاستئناف . ما يمكن ان يكون تأثير تعليق كهذا من قبل احد رجال الشرطه على عائله من طالبي اللجوء بهدف عرقله اجراءات الاستئناف ؟ حكايات المهاجرين علمت ان عائله عراقيه مولفه من زوج وزوجه وطفل بالاضافه لوالده الزوج  قد توجهت لاستلام الرفض الاول فقال لهم الشرطي :

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Announcement by Lex Gaudius: Immigration Service, police and government petition

  IMMIGRATION SERVICE, POLICE AND GOVERNMENT PETITION Dossier Faulty decisions made by the Immigration Service to the asylum seekers and actions of the authorities related on them. Underwrites Representatives of the asylum seekers from Afghanistan and Iraq; In cooperation with International law firm Lex Gaudius   I. FAULTY DECISIONS MADE BY THE FIINISH IMMIGRATION SERVICE

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Saturday’s demo by far-right groups like the Perussuomalsiset, Suomi Ensi, Rajat kiinni! and neo-Nazi fanatics was a stinging flop

A handful of well-organized Afghan and Iraqi asylum seekers demonstrating against deportations at the Helsinki Railway Square since February scored a victory over a splintered far-right anti-immigration counter-demonstration that was a flop. They were all there: the Perussuomalaiset* (PS), Suomen Sisu, Suomi Ensi, Rajat kiinni!, Suomen vastarintaliike and who knows what.

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Thank you asylum seekers for exposing Finland for what it is!

Finland got during 2015 and 2016 38,017 asylum seekers mostly from Iraq (21,698), Afghanistan (5,939) and Somalia (2,408), according to the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri). Even if these asylum seekers have received the government’s and Migri’s cold shulder, we should thank hem for exposing our deep denial of racism as a society and ineffective immigration-integration policy.

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Finland’s deep denial of racism coupled with exceptionalism make it susceptible to right-wing populism and fascism

If the latter claim above is true, it explains and reveals why Helsinki District Court judges agree with most of the decisions by the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri). The fact that only a very minor amount of decisions by Migri are rejected by the district courts speaks volumes about our country.

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Day 25 of the Helsinki demonstration by asylum seekers: We are happy that you are a thorn in the government’s and Migri’s side

Twenty-five cold days have elapsed since a group of asylum seekers decided to exercise their democratic rights and protest deportation and the government’s strict asylum policy. The longer these demonstrators protest the deeper the thorn will penetrate the government’s and Finnish Immigration Service’s (Migri) side.

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w2eu.info: How to stop a deportation

Deportations appear to be on the rise these days. Politically they help give bigoted and racist politicians clout among voters. President Donald Trump has a plan to deport millions of undocumented migrants from the United States and Europe is following the same path.

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Picture of the week: Standing up for our rights to asylum and hurrah for our side!

We’ve been watching, like all of Finland, the brave asylum seekers who are standing up since the weekend to a government and Finnish Immigration Service that cares little to nothing for their fates.  These pictures that they are taking and the stories of defiance they are telling form part of the ever-culturally diverse history of

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Facebook: “We won’t send you back to a hell called Iraq,” writes Kerstin Ögård

Hi guys

I just had this thought that to do something about our “murderer-government” (:D :D) we really need you Iraqi people to not work against each other. There is so much suspicion and lies and mistrust…some people working together with OUR government(??), giving them information just so people save their own asses—guys, this country does not work that way! 🙂 ( I understand everybody just do what you need to do, to stay safe..I am not judging, I understand this…)

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A Finnish asylum policy that is doomed to fail

It’s been well over a year since tens of thousands of asylum seekers came to Finland from countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and others. An important watershed in the history of these asylum seekers took place in May, when an assessment by the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) saw parts of countries like Iraq are safe to return asylum seekers.

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Hayder Al-Hatemi is freed from detention and becomes a momentary bright spot in the gloom that asylum seekers face in Finland

Some stories that Migrant Tales has published about asylum seekers in Finland have had tragic endings. On Wednesday, however, there was a bright spot that cut through some of the gloom: Hayder Al-Hatemi, alias “SH,”* was released from detention from Helsinki’s Metsälä immigration removal center.

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Iraqi asylum seeker SH was released today after being detained since January 6

SH, the Iraqi asylum seeker who was detained by the police on Janaury 6, was released today from Helsinki’s Metsälä immigration removal center. SH was detained on the same day together with KM, who was released from detention on January 12. “I’m really happy and now I must renew my work permit,” he told Migrant

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پولیس فنلاند پناه جویان را به” اشتباه

وامیدارد” تا داوطلبانه به کشورشان بازگردند. اما نمیتوان این موضوع را بطور رسمی تایید کرد . زمانی که به پناه جو برای دومین بار جواب منفی داده میشود، به اداره پولیس مراجعه میکند تا جواب “محکمه محلی “ را از پولیس دریافت کند. منبعی به ما میگوید: بعد از دریافت جواب منفی اداره پولیس، پناهجو

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هذا ما حدث عندما وصلت طائره علي المبعد الى العراق

على الرغم من تصريحات السفير العراقي في فنلندا السيد السبتي ان العراق لن يقبل بترحيل طالبي اللجوء العراقيين قسرا الى العراق , ان علىي , طالب اللجوء العراقي والذي قمنا بمتابعته قد وصل الى بعداد مكرها

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“Ali” tells us what happens when a deported Iraqi lands at Baghdad International Airport

Migrant Tales has learned from a source who is in touch with Ali, who was deported to Baghdad Wednesday that Iraq does accept people who refuse to go back. Even if the Iraqi Ambassador to Finland, Matheel Dhayif Al-Sabti, said that his country doesn’t accept forced deportations, Ali had no choice but to get off the plane when he arrived at Baghdad International Airport.

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UPDATE: Third Iraqi asylum seeker called “Ali” deported this afternoon

Migrant Tales has learned that an asylum seeker who was detained after KM and SH and called “Ali” is being deported this afternoon to Iraq. The asylum seeker, who got two rejections, was staying at the Metsälä detention center in Helsinki.  “The police came yesterday and told Ali that he’d be deported tomorrow [to Iraq],

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UPDATE: Iraqi apprehended by police will allegedly be deported to Iraq Tuesday

January 17, 3:30 pm Migrant Tales understands that the Finnish police service deported this afternoon back to Iraq a 23-year-old asylum seeker who had two rejections for asylum, according to unconfirmed reports. His friend said that the police had told him that the asylum seeker would be deported back to Iraq Tuesday afternoon. The asylum seeker was

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As deportations start to pick up in Finland since the beginning of the year so has fear among Iraqi and other asylum seekers

The news of the detention on Friday and deportation order on Sunday of two Iraqi asylum seekers, KM and SH, came to a shock to many asylum seekers in Finland. We suspect at Migrant Tales that deporting more people to Iraq this year is a ploy used by the Finnish Immigration Service and Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s government to instill fear among asylum seekers.

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Why do the Finnish police deport Iraqi asylum seekers if there is no repatriation agreement with Baghdad?

In early December, National Police Board Chief Superintendent Mia Poutanen was quoted as saying in YLE News it is “a false notion” that Finland needs a repatriation agreement with a country like Iraq to deport somebody. Migrant Tales got in touch with an Iraqi asylum seeker who is being detained and risks deportation.

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Remember when PM Juha Sipilä offered his home in Finland to asylum seekers?

In September 2015, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä offered his home in Kempele to asylum seekers. Even so, the tone and position of the prime minister and the government changed by December when Sipilä said that he couldn’t offer his home to asylum seekers any longer because his hometown in northern Finland wasn’t safe for refugees.

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The Finnish Red Cross must take action to correct the alleged abuses at the Laajakoski asylum reception center near Kotka

Migrant Tales and Kymen Sanomat published on Saturday and Sunday stories about the problems and abuses that asylum seekers face at the Red Cross-run Laajakoski reception center. The fact that incompetence, poor management, and abuses of asylum seekers take place at the reception center near Kotka is unacceptable.

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UPDATE: Minor asylum seeker at the Villa Meri reception center sent to hospital after getting pepper-sprayed by security guard

We continue to get worrisome news from the Villa Meri asylum reception center of Rauma. An asylum seeker at the center, who is a minor, was peppered sprayed on Friday and taken to the hospital. Why? Because he protested that his sister, who came from Helsinki to visit him, had to leave the center.

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Migrant Tales begins cooperation with Asylum Corner

Migrant Tales will begin cooperation by beginning to publish stories by Asylum Corner,  the newsletter of Lai-Momo, an Italian cooperative society based in Bologna, Italy, and Brussels. Like Migrant Tales, Asylum Corner writes about topics like migrants’ integration, asylum seekers assistance, intercultural and anti-discrimination education. Lai-Momo information and communication officer Claudia Mará took a moment to explain

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UPDATED: Iraqi asylum seeker takes his life after getting a negative decision from the Finnish Immigration Service

Migrant Tales has heard that an Iraqi asylum seeker took his life on Sunday after the Finnish Immigration Service turned down his request for asylum. The death of the man, which was posted in Facebook, shows how difficult the situation is for some asylum seekers.

Migrant Tales published in August a story about a young Iraqi asylum seeker who attempted to take his life spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Obviously, there’s a big difference between the situation now and the situation [in Finland] 7 months ago,” he said. “In the past, we heard that applications for asylum were never rejected. But now, out of a hundred people… only two to four get asylum. We are not told why.”

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Iraqi asylum seeker allegedly attacked by four Finns at the Kontula shopping center of Eastern Helsinki

Migrant Tales understands that a young Iraqi asylum seeker was allegedly attacked from behind by two men and two women at about 2am on Sunday at the Kontula shopping center of Eastern Helsinki. The young man, who was found unconscious by the police, was taken to a hospital but released later.  “The asylum seeker was

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Our new message to the world: Finland doesn’t like you so don’t even think of moving here!

It’s clear that the government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä doesn’t like asylum seekers never mind cultural diversity. In the last few months, we’ve seen a tightening of immigration policy by the government, which sends out a clear message to would-be asylum seekers and migrants: Don’t even think of moving here!

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In the asylum seekers’ eyes

Muh’ed Today I visited a Finnish-language class of asylum seekers silently worrying day by day. The Finnish-language teacher, a man, asked me to speak to them in the Finnish language, and tell about my life in Finland. I spoke slow Finnish, I told them who I am. How long I have lived in Finland and

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Asylum seekers in Finland: New law that will shorten the time of appeal is a “cowardly” act

President Sauli Niinistö signed into law Friday a bill that will make it virtually impossible for refugees to appeal asylum cases rejected by the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri), according to YLE News. While the Finnish media hasn’t cared to ask what asylum seekers think about the new law, Migrant Tales got in touch with two asylum seekers about the matter.

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Skärpt asylpolitik – Hur behandlas asylansökningarna?

Låg och bläddrade igenom min Facebook då jag stötte på ett inlägg som en av mina Facebook vänner hade delat – Skärpt asylpolitik känns konkret på förläggningarna heter artikeln som Svenska Yle har publicerats och som handlar om asylsökanden i Finland och hur dessa ansökan behandlas. Som vi alla vet så har det varit mycket

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Live coverage of Oikeus elää – A Right to live الحق للعيش demonstration

Writes Beri Jamal: Today is an important day for humanity and for all refugees who have received a judgment to be sent back to Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. We want to protest against this decision that these countries are not safe for them to return to. Let us participate and influence the decision, let our voices reach to the authorities and tell them that this decision is unfair approved and is against all humanity!

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Finland tightens family reunification laws and denies migrants the right to a family

The Finnish parliament didn’t vote Friday to tighten even further family reunification guidelines but effectively socially excluded and relegated migrants, especially asylum seekers, to second- and third-class citizens. The news ironically coincides with the death of former Rural Party MP Sulo Aittoniemi (1936-2016), a person who was against refugees and cultural diversity.

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Thulfiqar Abdulkareem Abdulameer: My story

Last year I was 27 years old, working as a journalist in my hometown Baghdad, where I had studied business administration. I wrote an article about the war, and how the militias were sending young, untrained guys to fight against ISIS who were well equipped with modern weapons. I wrote that it was like sending these young fighters to their deaths.

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Iraqi asylum seeker hunger strike day 1: “Iraq wasn’t and still isn’t safe”

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

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Kolari reception center asylum seeker: Matters have improved because the new manager is very supportive

After a very difficult month, matters are looking up for the asylum seekers of the Kolari reception center, located 214 kilometers north of the city of Kemi. “Matters have really improved for us and the new manager wants to help us,” an asylum seeker told Migrant Tales by phone. “He’s very supportive.”

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What former Kolari asylum reception center deputy manager “likes” on Facebook (and it’s not pretty)

Finland was hard pressed to set up reception centers last year to house some 32,500 asylum seekers. In that quest, it’s understandable that some mistakes were made when hiring staff. What is commendable is that the Finnish Immigration Service succeeded at finding a reception center place for each of the asylum seekers.

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Pictures from the Kolari asylum reception center in Finland

Migrant Tales understands that the authorities of the Kolari asylum reception center are annoyed at a story that was published in this blog about the center. The biggest gripe that the asylum seekers had was the manager, who allegedly treats the inhabitants with disrespect and threatens them that they won’t get a residence permit.  One resident

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Is Barona’s fast-track employment scheme “a joke?”

Helsingin Sanomat, Finland largest daily, published a story this month about three Eritreans who had found work at a logistics company in Vantaa thanks to a fast-track employment scheme at Barona, an employment agency that owns Luona, a private subsidiary that manages eight asylum reception centers in Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, and Hyvinkää.

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Human trafficking – get ready for another onslaught of xenophobia and labeling

Should we be surprised that YLE is planning another one-sided “debate” in April concerning human trafficking. The problem with this type of “debate,” like the one before that on March 2 on how asylum seekers have fueled uncertainty in Finland, is that it follows a common narrative that white Finland has of Otherness: You are a threat and a problem.

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Finland’s bigoted and perilous path

Finland has become in a short time a country that has lost its way. The police service, public officials like politicians and even ministers, who should know better, don’t. The most shameful matter that exposes these wretched times is that we’ve allowed xenophobia and nationalist populism to not only enter through the back door but through the main and wide one as well.

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Our image of Finland to asylum seekers is too rosy and full of myths that expose ethnocentrism and hypocrisy

As a sociologist, it’s interesting to note how Finland portrays itself to outsiders. One of these presentations is a three-volume Beginners guide to Finland published by the Finnish Immigration Service (FIS). Just like the populist catchphrase maassa maan tavalla, in Rome do as the Romans do, asylum seekers and migrants are being fed myths about ourselves.

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Iraqi asylum seeker: The first Finnish word I learned was “vittu”

It’s a Sunday and we’re at a fast-food Middle Eastern restaurant in the heart of Helsinki. I have an appointment with a twenty-six-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker who came to Finland in September via Tornio and who is staying at one of Luona’s asylum reception centers. Like many who have the misfortune of staying at a reception center run by Luona, he too isn’t happy about the poor and humiliating treatment he’s getting.

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Scaremongering by the PS of Finland is always at full swing

Finland’s Perussuomalaiset (PS)* defense minister, Jussi Niinistö, believes that up to one million “illegal” immigrants could come to Finland, according to YLE News. Niinistö, a historian who has played down the role of fascist associations like the Lapua Movement (1929-32), fear-mongers to shore up support for his ailing party.

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BOX STORY: Mohammed Saleh Muhsin

Mohammed Saleh Muhsin, 26, is one of the many thousands of young Iraqi asylum seekers that came to Finland in the fall. Like many of his countrymen, he too speaks of the violence and strife strangling Iraq.  He spoke to Migrant Tales about his treatment at two of Luona’s reception centers. “I arrived on September 23

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Was the death of an Afghani asylum seeker at Luona’s reception center due to negligence?

Migrant Tales published on Friday a story where it asked about the circumstances of the death of an asylum seeker, Jayyed Abbas Jaffari (1995-2016), in early January that was staying at Luona’s reception center in Espoo. Was there negligence or not by the private company that runs reception centers in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa?

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Finland must get off its whining horse and seek proactive solutions to the asylum seeker situation

Like many anti-immigration politicians, even former National Police Commissioner Mikko Paatero believes that there is some magic number that we shouldn’t cross concerning the number of asylum seekers that arrive to our country. In 2015, a record 32,000 asylum seekers came to Finland. How many arrive this year is an open question.

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The Perussuomalaiset decade (2011-19): Finland’s rendezvous with xenophobia and nationalism

Here’s the question we all know the answer to concerning the rise and fall of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party during this decade: We accomplished nothing, absolutely nothing, polarized society, scapegoated migrants and Muslims and lied through our teeth with poker faces. Our decade-long rendezvous with right-wing populism and xenophobia has had a negative political and

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The “Denmarkization” of Finnish immigration policy

The Perussuomalaiset (PS) are eager to pass legislation that will not only hurt asylum seekers but all migrants and minorities that live in Finland. After breaking almost all of their campaign promises and after their poll rating have plummeted to single-digit percentages, the PS only have one trump card left in their political bag of tricks: anti-immigration rhetoric and policy.

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Finland’s and fortress Europe’s razorblade chicken feed response to the refugee crisis

Finland and Europe are looking more lost than ever concerning the refugee crisis and this has been shamelessly exposed in the raw at the EU’s Malta summit. If we fail in resolving the crisis as a region we will face another problem that will be many times worse than what is happening now: Fuel and stoke the fires of xenophobia at the cost of our values.

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UPDATE (October 6): Migrant Tales’ 2015 Hall of Poor and Sloppy Journalism

Migrant Tales’ 2015 Hall of Poor and Sloppy Journalism will be updated separately. To see other examples of opinionated journalism in Finland about cultural diversity, please go to this link. October 6 A2 Pakolais-ilta (YLE) What was wrong with this television debate? Even if one of the hosts on the program was Wali Hashi, it was

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Finnish government and the PS: Kid gloves and wishy-washy statements on asylum seekers and racism

There are a number of demonstrations planned today demanding that Finland shut its border to asylum seekers. What may surprise some is that the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, a party sharing power in government, is organizing some of these demonstrations like the one in Tornio, a town located next to the Swedish border, according to tabloid Iltalehti.

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When does a trickle become a flood when speaking of refugees?

When we speak of refugees, when does a trickle become a flood? Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Olli Immonen, the far right politician who warned us recently about the “nightmare of multiculturalism,” who uses and warns us of “an avalanche” of refugees since 1,000 more refugees came to the country in July versus the same period last year.

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Finnish PS MP Olli Immonen takes swipe at asylum seekers, migrants and minorities

Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Olli Immonen is at it again after his xenophobic Facebook posting about “the nightmare of multiculturalism.” This time he is taking a swipe at asylum seekers. He uses terms like “uncontrolled” and “avalanche” to promote his brand of xenophobic and far right hostility not only against asylum seekers, but against Finland’s ever-growing culturally and ethnically diverse community.

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Amnesty International cites (again) Finland’s human rights violations against refugee, migrant and transgender rights

Amnesty International criticized Finland in a 2014-15 country report on human rights violations for its treatment of asylum seekers, migrants, transgender people and conscientious objectors, according to YLE in English. It said that police inaction agains women and girls was another cause for concern.  Should we be surprised? Not really. Finland has had a poor

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Institute of Race Relations: Language testing of asylum claimants – a flawed approach

By Aisha Maniar Following a critical Supreme Court judgment on the Home Office’s use of controversial language analysis tests to determine the nationality of asylum seekers, Aisha Maniar asks: why does the government insist on using these tests? Read orginal posting here.   Language is a crucial element of the identity of each and every one

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Four in five Swedes express concern over xenophobia

Swedes are more worried about the rise of xenophobia in their country than the ever-growing number of immigrants, according to The Local, citing a study by the SOM Institute of Gothenburg University. The survey revealed that while 49% expressed concern over immigration levels, 78% were worried about the rise of xenophobia.  Read full story here.

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Interior minister’s plan to close legal “loophole” would increase the number of undocumented migrants in Finland

Christian Democrat Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen has a dubious reputation in Finland for her homophobic and conservative religious views. In her latest attack against refugees, Räsänen writes that when an asylum-seeker gets a negative decision and doesn’t want to leave the country, the Finnish Immigration Service is required to give a residence permit if the person

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Finland had 3,238 asylum seekers in 2013

A total of 3,238 people applied for asylum in Finland compared with 3,129 people in the previous year, according to the Finnish Immigration Service. The largest single group of asylum seekers was Iraqis (819) followed by Russians (226) and Somalis (217). The number of asylum seekers coming to Finland oscillated between 1,500 and 6,000 over the

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The PS are now hoping that Kouvola stops receiving asylum seekers and quota refugees by 2016

If you believe that the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party has toned down its xenophobia and loathing towards refugees, check out what they are doing in the municipality of Kouvola. According to the local daily, Kouvolan Sanomat, the PS wants the city council to stop receiving asylum seekers and quota refugees by 2016.  While the PS blame

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Switzerland restricts the movement of asylum seekers in the town of Bremgarten

The Swiss town of Bremgarten, located about 16km from Zurich, has banned asylum seekers from swimming pools, sports facilities and other sites, according to Spiegel Online International. The agreement, which has been criticized by human rights groups, was made by the Swiss Office of Migration (BfM) and the town.   Read original story here. It’s

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How tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat reinforce our prejudices against immigrants and refugees

Tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat have a lot to learn about fairness, which is the cornerstone of all good news reporting. But tabloids aren’t interested in fairness but in sensationalism. A story by Ilta-Sanomat is headlined: ”Two Somalis use [fake] Yemeni passports to travel to Finland.”  Even if the story suggests that these Somalis are committing a crime

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Edward Snowden would help to put to rest Finland’s Cold War legacy

Wikileaks said in a statement that whistleblower Edward Snowden had asked for political asylum in twenty-one countries, one of which included Finland. Understanding Finland’s history and its historic suspicion of foreigners, granting a high-profile asylum seeker like Snowden asylum in Finland would not only help to put to rest for good our poor record but have

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YLE in English: Three Afghani asylum seekers continue hunger strike

Three Afghani asylum seekers been on hunger strike since September 10 after their applications for asylum were rejected by the authorities, writes YLE in English. The three asylum seekers have appealed  the Finnish Immigration Service decision to the administrative court.  One of the asylum seekers, Abdullahi Gulamesdiq, said that he fears for his life in

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Pasta macaroni: a 1-2-euro meal in Finland

Asylum seekers and immigrants are very resourceful people when it comes to stretching their small allowances. Pasta macaroni is a common meal among some immigrants and doesn’t cost very much to make. You can feed yourself for only 1-2 euros.  Taking into account the high cost of living and low allowances that asylum seekers and

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Amnesty International Annual Report 2012 criticizes Finland for accelerated asylum procedures

Amnesty International (AI) has criticized Finland in its Annual Report 2012 for accelerated asylum procedures, which include forced returns to Baghdad, according to YLE.  The report noted as well that Finland was unable to provide figures on how many irregular migrants and asylum-seekers it detained during the year. AI reports: “However, there were concerns that

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