Finland to start granting asylum to Baghdad residents again
The Supreme Administrative Court handed down a decision on Thursday to reverse the expulsion orders of 17 Iraqi asylum seekers. The applicants were granted residence permits and were allowed to stay in Finland.
The Finnish Immigration Service felt that they should have been sent back to their home region.
Thursday’s rulings will affect the line taken by the Immigration Service in future cases, says Esko Repo, head of the asylum unit of the Immigration Service.
“In practice, we will no longer send people back to the Baghdad region”, Repo says.
From May 2009, the Immigration Service has taken the view that most of Iraq, including the capital Baghdad, is so safe that those arriving from the area are not in need of international protection on the basis of a general lack of security in the area that they come from. The new arrivals have been sent back unless there is a very specific reason why they should be granted asylum or a residence permit.
The Supreme Administrative Court found, contrary to the view taken by the Immigration Service, that the asylum seekers from Central Iraq face the danger of becoming victims of arbitrary violence.
“We gave the asylum unit special instructions immediately after the ruling”, Repo says.
Also on Thursday, the court rejected applications by 32 asylum seekers from the north of Iraq. The Supreme Administrative Court agreed with the view of the Immigration Service that none of the Iraqis from the autonomous Kurdish area were in need of international protection.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Finland to start repatriating Iraqi asylum seekers (8.5.2009)
Finnish Immigration Service