How can you trust a party and government that builds its support on conspiracy theories about asylum seekers? You can if you are gullible.
Due to over 300 asylum seekers who came from countries with terrible human rights issues due to wars like Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, the Finnish government has decided to shut four border crossing points until 18 February 2024.
The coverage by the Finnish media of the issue and the statements given by government officials and the Finnish Border Guards resemble a taring-and-feathing event.
Perussuomalaiset Interior Minister Mari Rantanen is the ugly face of Finnish Islamophobia.. She has a long history of spreading conspiracy theories and anti-Muslim racism. Apart from tightening the screws on asylum seekers, her radical anti-immigration views are littered by hateful quotes, which have been deleted from her social media pages. Some of these are founded on the far-right great replacement theory. “Source: Yle.
Even if the trickle of asylum seekers coming to Finland are from countries with serious human rights violations, officials and the media prefer to label them as “illegal” migrants. Even President Sauli Niiinistö, whose past statements against Muslims and asylum seekers reveal his disdain for such groups, he has unsurprisingly given his support to the government.
Even the council of state defends its decision to shut the Finnish-Russian border on stopping “illegal immigration.” The anti-Muslim and anti-immigration campaign by the government is at full swing. Source: valtioneuvosto.fi
Some of the Finnish media continues to see refugees as “illegal” migrants. In this billboard, tabloid Ilta-Sanomat wants that “this year 10,000 illegal refugees” will arrive in Finland.
President Niinistö has stuck his foot in his mouth a number of times when he opens his mouth about asylum seekers. One of his most infamous comments is about an Iraqi asylum seeker, culture inside four walls.
There are also mixed signals given by the government.
Defense Minister Antti Häkkänen said Saturday that these asylum seekers are not a threat to national security.
The border crossing points of Niirala, Imatra, Nuijamaa, and Vaalimaa will be closed until 18.2.2024. The Vainikkala border crossing is only for rail traffic. Asylum seekers now have to apply for asylum at the Salla and Vartius border crossings in remote northern Finland. Source: Yle
Martin Scheinin, international law and human rights professor at the European Institute University, tweeted that the decision by the government to close the border was a threat to Finland’s judicial system.
Multidisciplinary border scholar. Professor Jussi P. Laine, is also critical of the government’s decision.
Non-Discrimination Ombudswoman Kristina Stenman tweets that seeking asylum is a human right.
Tweet: The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman reminds that Finland has an obligation to ensure the right to asylum is respected in all situations – including decisions concerning the [closing of the] eastern border. The state has a duty to ensure genuine and effective access to the asylum procedure. Source: Twitter
Taking into account the xenophobia, and the hateful misinformation spread by the government and institutions like the National Border Guard, there is little serious analysis concerning the situation.
President Niinistö, who is one of the most enthusiastic supporters of NATO membership, does not tell us if membership in such a military alliance has brought more security to the country.
For now, it has given rise to bravado and xenophobia at a scale rarely seen in the country.