Posts Tagged: refugees

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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A racist explanation by the chair of parliament’s foreign affairs committee of Finland why Ukrainian refugees are better than other ones

Despite all the objections to racism and Islamophobia in Finland, the silence and sub-rosa nods why such social ills continue to take root in the country. The chair of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Jussi Halla-aho of the far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, explained why Europe should open its arms to Ukrainians and shut the door on refugees

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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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Migrant Tales Literary: Fatima

Leo Honka Who is Fatima? Who is the person wishing us from the Joutseno immigration removal center a kind, “Good night. Loved ones.” Fatima is only a name. It houses no human because it is only a name written on paper by a plane dropping bombs, a tank shelling civilians, and a woman hoping for

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PS’ Mika Niikko: Muslims should be prohibited from having a family

Perussuomalaiset MP and chair of the foreign affairs committee, Mika Niikko, said in Helsingin Sanomat that he’d only want to give asylum to Afghan women and girls. Niikko’s and the PS’ xenophobic views of asylum seekers are exposed.  “I am not heartless to not help women and children who seek to come and seek shelter from a

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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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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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UPDATE: Finnish asylum center in Kempele is intimidated by local residents and moves to an undisclosed location

It is shameful that an asylum reception center in Kempele, where an alleged rape of a minor took place on Monday by a suspected 17-year-old asylum seeker, has caved in to pressure. Kempele is the hometown of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, who offered in September his home to asylum seekers.

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Facebook: REFUGEES WELCOME (TO FINLAND) ????

There are some disturbing reports that have emerged in the media about how some asylum seekers in Finland are getting a hostile reception. Trish Pääkkönen gives us a taste of what she went through when she tried to help a group of refugees at the the Helsinki and Espoo police stations.

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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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Finland’s attitude and experience of cultural diversity lag thirty years behind other European countries

Watching YLE’s A-studio, which was aired Wednesday, is a prime example why we are still far away in Finland of having an inclusive society that is fair to everyone irrespective of their background. Spotting the red herrings in the debate on such a talk show isn’t easy but not impossible. If National Coalition Party MP

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Treating immigrants in Finland as the problem IS the problem

What’s wrong with the ongoing debate in Finland concerning immigration, refugees and cultural diversity? The problem is that they are treated as a problem by politicians, the media and public.*  Instead of treating these three matters as “a problem” we should make an effort to think outside of the current anti-immigration political climate and see them

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When the term immigrant becomes a red herring

If there is a report, a story or some tale that sounds fishy it may suggest a red herring. One of these types of stories that should have received more scrutiny from the media was a report published Thursday by Perussuomalaiset (PS)* thinktank Suomen Perusta, which attempted to place a price tag on immigration.  There are a lot of

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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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How can you, Finland, loathe migrants and refugees if you were one?

How can a country like Finland, which saw over 1.2 million people emigrate during 1860-1999 and resettled 420,000 Karelian refugees after the Continuation War (1941-44) with the former Soviet Union, loathe migrants and speak contemptuously against refugees?  How do you explain the rise of an anti-immigration party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) that grew from a mere

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Timo Soini’s latest comment about refugees leaves many speechless but exposes him to the raw

Sometimes politicians make incredible statements that leave you speechless. The latest one I heard was Thursday on a MEP election television debate on YLE Fem, the Swedish-language television channel. Said Perussuomalaiset (PS) chairman Timo Soini: “Is it morally right to leave one’s homeland during ever-difficult times or should one stay put and fight for justice? Would it have been

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Workshop highlights perceptions, problems and challenges of immigration in Greece

Workshops that debate and challenge immigration issues in economically hard-hit countries like Greece are never too many. One of these took place on Friday at the University of Peloponnese and was organized by the Scientific Association of Young Political Scientists. According to a statement: The issue of immigration has become a major national issue and

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Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen is on the anti-immigration warpath again

Anti-immigration and anti-gay hardliner Christian Democrat interior minister, Päivi Räsänen, said on YLE in English that she’s in favor of tightening immigration policy further by closing a “loophole” for asylum seekers. Under the present law, those asylum seekers whose application has been turned down, can get temporary residence for two years before acquiring a permanent

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PS MP Jussi Halla-aho doesn’t like cultural diversity, never mind Africans and Muslims

I’m not going to expend a lot of energy on analyzing what Perussuomaliset (PS) MP Jussi Halla-aho wrote in a recent blog entry. All of what he writes about migrants, especially refugees, is demeaning and negative. One sentence in particular, however, caught my attention and which exposes the anti-immigration politician to a tee.  Read full story

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Bank accounts for the stateless – money laundering legislation is not an excuse for financial exclusion

This post follows on from a recent post by Enrique on continued practices of financial exclusion in relation to individuals who have had difficulties establishing their identification with Finnish authorities and have subsequently had problems opening bank accounts. It is also a response to one commentator’s fallacious claim that money laundering legislation is an adequate

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Strict banking laws in Finland leave refugees without bank accounts and discourage foreign investment

Stateless refugees cannot still open bank accounts in regions like Etelä-Savo in Eastern Finland, according to Länsi-Savo, a Mikkeli-based daily. Not only are stateless persons affected but different municipalities that want to attract foreign investment. Some small- and medium-sized companies that want to relocate in Finland from Russia have a difficult time opening bank account

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Migrants’ Rights Network: Another tragedy in Lampedusa, one too many

Clara Dublanc*           The migrant boat disaster off Lampedusa has highlighted the struggle of Southern EU members to deal with migrant flows. It is time that Europe steps up and accepts shared responsibilities for the external borders of the Union. Last Thursday 3rd October, the small Italian island of Lampedusa witnessed

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Saving one life, one refugee from Syria, IS important

Arguing that accepting a few hundred refugees from Syria is not important because it is a drop in the bucket, is an outrageous statement made by Jussi Halla-aho, Vesa-Matti Saarakkala and others. The other point they are trying to drive home, that these people will be a burden on Finland, exposes their loathing and ignorance.

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How Syrian refugees fleeing war show how the Finnish media gives (again) racists inflated respectability and importance

Migrant Tales published a while back a story about how the media gives racists and radical anti-immigration groups inflated respectability and importance. Why should we care what a Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP like Jussi Halla-aho, who was on top of it convicted for ethnic agitation, thinks about giving asylum to Syrian refugees?  Verkkouutiset is run by the

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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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women for refugee women: the everyday sexism project

The Everyday Sexism Project exists to catalogue instances of sexism experienced by women on a day to day basis.  For women refugees, uprooted in another country, or displaced within their own country, these experiences of sexism are often extreme and can be life threatening.  According to the UN, there are approximately 40 million women and

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Zuzeeko’s blog: Ask Finland’s Minister of Interior to stop detention of innocent children

Zuzeeko Tegha Abeng The International Convention on the Rights of the Child – to which Finland is party – outlaws the detention of children, unless as a last resort and for the shortest possible time (see article 37[b]) and obligates States Parties to ensure that a child seeking asylum receives appropriate protection and assistance (see Article 22).

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ELTbites: What you can and can’t say in class

By Richard Gresswell This blog post is kind of a follow on from the previous one inspired by the film ‘Blackboards’. Watching it again brought back memories of the many Kurdish students I’ve had the pleasure of teaching during my time as an ESOL tutor. I want to tell you a story about one of

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How much further? A film about the lives of refugees in Greece

This documentary about refugees in Greece is a stark reminder of how Greek authorities and the European Union have turned their backs on asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants. The answer is not higher border fences or fear-mongering by politicians, but finding proactive solutions that take into account the needs and human rights of these people.

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Greece and its bad case of ethnic profiling and scapegoating

The Greek Police announced that 16,836 foreign nationals were brought for questioning  during the first month that Xenios Zeus was instigated, according to the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE). A staggering 80% of those brought in for questioning were legal residents. Only 2,144 held by the police didn’t have their residence permits in

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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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Finland’s cold war era: media censorship and suspicion of the outside world

How much did censorship and self-censorship affect Finland during the cold war? The answer to that question lies in the dusty archives of Finland’s media. What kinds of editorials did Helsingin Sanomat write about the Hungarian uprising of 1956 and what did our major dailies say about what happened in Czechoslovakia in 1968? What kind of press freedom was there in a country were discussing, never mind questioning, the official foreign policy line was forbidden?

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Ilta-Sanomat tabloid ad (lööppi) from July 21, 1993

Migrant Tales publishes on and off Finnish tabloid ads* (lööppi in Finnish) from the 1990s. Taking into account that Finland’s immigrant population started to grow during that decade, it is easy at least through some of the main stories of tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat and Iltalehti to see how some of them reflected our xenophobic and racist views.

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Ilta-Sanomat tabloid ad (lööppi) from October 5, 1992

Migrant Tales will begin to publish Finnish tabloid ads* (lööppi in Finnish) from the 1990s. Taking into account that Finland’s immigrant population started to grow during that decade, it is easy at least through some of the main stories of tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat and Iltalehti to see how some of them reflected our xenophobic and racist views.

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Ilta-Sanomat tabloid ad (lööppi) from September 21, 1992

Migrant Tales will begin to publish Finnish tabloid ads* (lööppi in Finnish) from the 1990s. Taking into account that Finland’s immigrant population started to grow during that decade, it is easy at least through the main stories of tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat and Iltalehti to see how some of them reflected our xenophobic and racist views.

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Stateless persons do not have the right to open a bank account in Finland

Here is a pretty odd case that I encountered Monday when I went to Nordea bank in Mikkeli to open an account for a stateless person. After a few questions, the bank employee said that the person needs a valid passport to open an account at that bank. But if on that passport it reads “his/her identity cannot be confirmed,” the person can never open an account at Nordea.

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Ilta-Sanomat tabloid ad (lööppi) from October 24, 1992

Migrant Tales will begin to publish Finnish tabloid ads* (lööppi in Finnish) from the 1990s. Taking into account that Finland’s immigrant population started to grow during that decade, it is easy at least through the main stories of tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat and Iltalehti to see how they reflected some people’s xenophobic and racist views.

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Turun Sanomat: Osa turvapaikanhakijoista maksaa salakuljetuksensa sosiaalituella

Osa Suomeen salakuljetetuista turvapaikanhakijoista maksaa matkansa sosiaalituellaan. Viranomaisilla on runsaasti viitteitä salakuljetuksen ostamisesta velaksi. – Tutkimuksissa on selvinnyt, että rahamaksuja välitetään lähtömaihin. Heti kun turvapaikanhakija saa toimeentulotukea, hän lähettää säännöllisesti rahaa Western Unionin tai Forexin kautta kotimaahansa, Länsi-Suomen merivartioston rikostorjuntayksikön tutkinnanjohtaja Matti Hägerström kertoo.

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Dear Anti-Immigration groups

My great grandfather was a refugee from Italy. I admire and respect him so much that I gave one of my sons his first name. I have lived in many countries as an immigrant and I am proud of this as well.

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What racism means to me

For me, racism, like indifference, is the worst social ill that inflicts our societies. Because racism has to survive and because racism is astute, it has found many ingenious ways of hiding its snister self and motives.

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IOM: World Migration Report 2010

The World Migration Report 2010 (WMR 2010) will be the fifth in IOM’s series of biennial reports on international migration. Like the World Migration Reports that have preceded it, it is intended to contribute to the mission of the International Organization of Migration (IOM) to promote ‘humane and orderly policies in the movement of persons across borders’. Specifically, its aim is to promote a focus on building capacities to enable states and other stakeholders to respond to and plan for migration effectively and in a sustainable way.

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EDITORIAL: Has racism inflicted Finland?

Taking into account the underwhelming size of the immigrant and refugee community, what have we done wrong and why are we the focus of daily insults, racism and abuse? Even the Social Democrats, the party that has championed for the rights of the working man, has aligned itself close to the True Finns in immigration policy.

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