The Road to Hell is Paved with Letters Your Mother Burned

 

If you browse the internets as regularly as I do you will have come up with a page devoted to the most awesome places in the world. You’ve also must have seen a shot or two of the most interesting roads to drive along. Be it the scenery, the wildlife or the people that grace the landscape. In all the connotations of the word interesting. ’May you live in interesting times’ is a powerful curse to utter to your enemy, according to the late Sir Terry Pratchett.

I have a particular road in mind here, of course. It is called Kabul Jalalabad Highway and it is actually about a 40 mile section of a national A01 highway in Afghanistan that links these two cities together. Why this particular stretch of mostly paved landscape is designated interesting by the connoisseurs of interesting times, is that it follows up the Kabul River Gorge overhanging steep cliffs, is prone to avalanches and landslides, blizzards, attacks of Yak (I don’t know what that is and don’t want to) wrought with reckless drivers and also crosses Taliban territory. Aha, you say. A walk in a park. I know a place with…

Asad* knows that road. Better than you or me. He used to be a journalist in Afghanistan and still is a journalist, only not there. The news-hound instinct never leaves you, although his thing was strictly behind the camera. Mostly it was fun and games, even in the rural stretches of Afghanistan. Shoot a bit of a wedding here, some family affair there, maybe a political inauguration for some local nobody politician if you get lucky. Dream of a job in the big league. Never enough money to pay the rent. Until one day you happen to shoot the wrong thing and the worst is you don’t even know what that was.

It is a well known fact that war zones these days are not friendly to journalists, especially those native to that country. They may get the best story but they will often get suspected and accused of playing for one side or another. Threats are very common and international journalists face them too. Ask any blogger what amount of hate mail she and her family have to face and multiply that by ten for any war journalist. This link https://cpj.org/killed/2016/mohammad-nasir-mudasir.php

leads to a page where you can follow statistics of journalists reported killed in Afghanistan and other places by country of assignment. The link that opens is one person murdered in his job.

When the threats began Asad knew to expect them, in a way. His friends had got them, not that they talked about it openly. It was as if it had been a shameful thing, to be so much afraid. They just disappeared. Later he got a message telling him all kinds of little things. “Hey man, how are you? I’m in London now. The food is shite and plumbing sucks and the wife hates it. Kids are doing fine.” “Hi, how are you? I got to college in New York. My uncle paid. Isn’t he a dear? Studying pro photography and media editing now.” And so on. Those who could, escaped. Some escaped into their dreams. Some into their nightmares. Those latter he never heard anything of ever again, not in person at least. Some of them he never heard of at all, all he got from their families and friends was a question in their eyes.

When Asad went back home he met his family. His job was the moving sort, he never really stayed in one place, he had an address in the capital but he never stayed there. Somehow they knew where he was, the people who hated what he did. They had sent messages to his dad and somehow his mum had got hang of them too. Asad saw them, before his mother threw them into the oven. “You will not keep such things. If they are found out that is very dangerous.”

He lingered on, the same way you do in a bad relationship. You don’t really see a way out even if it is there. His father told him to come back to his old home. But how could he? He was getting calls to his phone that were directly telling they would kill his family. Even after he changed his number he got them. And somehow Asad just knew that if he went back and tried to do the only thing he knew how to do, the only thing he could get money from, they would make good of that threat. The threats were telling him to quit but it was not that easy. What would he do if he wasn’t taking photos? His father had a little shop but even that wasn’t doing so good. Asad knew that some of the locals were already shunning the shop now because they feared to be associated with the family. They could become a target too.

The words his tormentors used were the words of the Taliban. Never direct threats as such. Unless they absolutely knew they would not be caught. That there would be the veil of shame so strong that you would not report it or that if you did, nobody would care. That they had a friend or someone they had leverage on in the police you would go to.

In his home town the rule was twofold; in the day there was the official rule, the police, the government. People would go shopping, walk on the streets and be seemingly normal. When the darkness fell the Taliban and their supporters could do what they please without impunity. At sunrise the damage would be repaired and the corpses buried in silence and the pretence begin again.

Finally Asad left; to go away to Europe where he had heard there was safety and justice. He chose Finland and applied asylum, thinking he could start afresh.

The migration office interviewed him and asked him all kinds of questions. He felt confident he would get an asylum and so did his Finnish friends. It is an obvious case, right? Journalism, freedom of speech, that should be protected here even if some carpenters and wood choppers and whatnot are not. Wrong.

In the twisted logic of the bureaucrat the thinking became twofold, in the same way as the rule of his former home town; since Asad has been threatened for so long and survived, it is unlikely he will really be under threat. Also, since his family has received these threats and these people know their whereabouts and have not actually killed his family it is unlikely these people threatening Asad are the Taliban. Hence, he is not under threat.

In other words, since his tormentors have failed to find Asad, whom they have threatened for several years and whose friends and colleagues they have managed to drive out of the country, he is not really under threat. Not even though he told a very detailed account of cat-and-mouse he played with the people who did threaten his life and who still were completely aware of his whereabouts, proving that they had above average intelligence skills. That they did not feel like killing an old man and his wife should also not be held as a proof of Taliban or non-Taliban identity. There are plenty of old people alive in Afghanistan to this day and there may have been many factors why the threat was not actualised. The migration office interviewers did not ask whether any protection money was paid in this case, which is another common occurrence when dealing with terrorists.

In other cases the same logic has been twisted backwards; because the family of a person who had received threats has actually been killed before or after they have managed to escape the migration office had interpreted this as proof of them being now safe. While the threats have clearly been directed to the individual in question the actualisation of the threat or part of it has been interpreted as nullifying the threat, which is not how human behaviour works. It seems that whatever you do, whatever happens to you, you cannot comply the rules and wishes of the bureaucrat mind hell-bent on not giving an asylum to anyone. The migration office of what once was one of the most humane and democratic countries in the world has twisted itself to the double standards of the terrorist.

Asad cannot prove the letters were from the Taliban. Even if his mother had not burned them in the family oven, fearing repercussions from officials or neighbours or who knows what parties, they would not tell us much. Asad identified his tormentors early on. The modus operandi was clear and he had travelled in areas controlled by them doing little gigs for the TV-channel he worked for then. His employers knew there might be threats and tried to protect him, which is one reason why he survived. Another reason is that he was smart. He used burner phones and untraceable sim-cards. But still, more than anything, he was lucky. But he knew his luck would run out and when it did the price would not be just his life but possibly that of his family and colleagues.

To add insult to injury, the Finnish migration office, when they rejected Asad’s claim of asylum, even mapped a route to home for him. It runs along the Kabul Jalabad Highway, one of the ten most dangerous routes in the world. They claimed it was absolutely safe.

*Names and some details may have been changed for security reasons.

Mainokset

Todista, että olet vaarassa

liikennevalot2

Tapaan Raminin Helsingin keskustassa. Hän on afganistanilainen turvapaikanhakija, joka on ollut Suomessa nyt noin vuoden ja saanut yhden negatiivisen päätöksen Maahanmuuttovirastolta. Kun ylitän kadun, vaikka jalankulkijoille palaa punainen valo, mutta Ramin odottaa rauhassa valon vaihtumista vihreäksi, ymmärrän jotakin, mikä saa vahvistuksen hänen tarinastaan. Hän pelkää ja on pelännyt jo pitkän aikaa.

Vuonna 2006 Ramin pakeni Daikundissa sijaitsevasta kotikaupungistaan, missä asukkaiden enemmistö on talibaneja. Siihen aikaan hän työskenteli opettajana USA:n rahoittamana. Raminin mukaan joku hänen kotikaupungistaan raportoi talibaneille hänen työstään. Hänen oli pakko lähteä keskellä talvea. ”Ystäväni sanoi, että minun piti lähteä, jos odottaisin kevääseen, he tulisivat tappamaan minut.”

Ramin pakeni Kabuliin, missä hän pystyi opiskelemaan yhden lukukauden, kunnes talibanit saivat tietää hänen olinpaikkansa. He alkoivat soittaa hänelle usein, halusivat ensin tavata hänet ja kyselivät hänen olinpaikastaan ja työstään. Hän tiesi aksentista, että soittajat olivat talibaneja. Kun soitot tihenivät, he esittäytyivät avoimesti talebaneiksi ja uhkasivat häntä.

Raminille kerrottiin, että he tiesivät, missä hän työskenteli ja millaista autoa hän ajoi. Hän ei kertonut ystävilleen, missä hän asui, mutta koska hän työskenteli viranomaiselle (Kaupunkikehityksen ja asumisen ministeriö), talibanit onnistuivat löytämään hänet. Tappouhkaukset lisääntyivät. Ramin ei käyttänyt bussia, joka vei työntekijöitä töihin joka aamu, vaan kulki moottoripyörällä ja pukeutui eri vaatteisiin. Lopulta hän piileskeli kuukauden peläten henkensä puolesta. Sitten hän tuli Suomeen pitkän ja vaarallisen matkan päätteeksi.

“Luotin siihen, että antamani dokumentit luettaisiin ja käsiteltäisiin huolellisesti ja että päätös olisi myönteinen. Menin poliisille kuulemaan vastausta, ja minulle kerrottiin, että en ole vaarassa Afganistanissa. He sanoivat, että dokumentteihini ei uskottu, koska Afganistanissa on paljon väärennettyjä dokumentteja. He sanovat, että minun pitäisi todistaa olevani vaarassa. He kysyivät, olinko nähnyt minua uhanneita talibaneja kasvotusten – sanoin, että jos olisin, olisin kuollut. He sanoivat, että Afganistan on turvallinen – se ei ole. En ole kuvernööri enkä ministeri, jolla on henkivartija. Olen tavallinen valtion virkailija, minulla ei ole suojaa. He tietävät, että valtion virkailijat eivät voi jäädä Afganistaniin, koska se on liian vaarallista.

Afganistanissa ei voi saada apua, koska hallitus ei pysty tarjoamaan kansalaisille suojaa ja turvaa. UNHCR on todennut, että Taliban varta vasten teloittaa julkisen sektorin työntekijöitä. Talibanin mukaan viranomaisille ja kansainvälisesti rahoitetuille projekteille työksenteleminen on islamin vastaista ja tekee ihmisestä uskomattoman. Tästä tiedosta ja Raminin Afganistanissa päivittäin kohtaamista tappouhkauksista huolimatta Suomen maahanmuuttovirasto hylkäsi Raminin turvapaikkahakemuksen.

Miksi Migri ei usko kertomustasi, mitä luulet? Mitä sellaista prosessissa tapahtui, mikä sai heidät hylkäämään hakemuksesi?

“Minulla oli iranilainen tulkki, he puhuvat samankaltaista mutta kuitenkin erilaista kieltä. Hän ei ymmärtänyt kaikkia sanoja – esimerkiksi hän ymmärsi väärin työnimikkeeni. Dokumenteissa on ”työvirasto”, mutta työskentelin ministeriölle. Näitä virheitä oli paljon.  (Haastattelupöytäkirjassa Raminin työ on ”työvirastossa”, vaikka Ramin oli työssä kaupunkikehityksen ja asumisen ministeriössä.) “Näytin dokumentit, haastattelijalla oli suuri osa dokumenteista, selitin ne kaikki. Minulla oli valokopio virallisesta kortista, joka todisti, että olin ministeriön palveluksessa. Kysyin riittikö se ja hän vastasi myöntävästi.

Lakimies ei tehnyt työtään oikein. Virhe oli, että hän ei kertonut minulle, että hän ei hoitanut tapaustani. Hän otti kopiot kaikista dokumenteista ja kerroin hänelle tarinani. 2 – 3 kuukautta myöhemmin halusin lisätä joitakin dokumentteja ja soitin hänelle, mutta hän kertoi, ettei enää hoitanut tapausta. Yritin selvittää, kuka oli lakimieheni ja soitin toimistoon saadakseni asian selville. Lopulta opettajani ja lääkärini soittivat toimistoon ja minä lähetin uudelleen sähköpostia. Nyt minulla on tapaaminen ensi viikolla. En vieläkään tiedä lakimieheni nimeä.”

Suomen maahanmuuttoviraston mukaan Raminin lausunto työnsä luonteesta oli lyhyt ja yleisluontoinen ja siitä puuttui merkityksellisiä esimerkkejä siitä, miksi hän joutuisi kohteeksi ammatillisen asemansa vuoksi. Haastattelussa Raminia ei kuitenkaan pyydetty täydentämään työtään koskevia vastauksiaan eikä haastattelija neuvonut häntä kuvaamaan työnsä luonnetta lisää.

Suomen maahanmuuttovirasto ei pidä Raminin lausuntoa opettajana työskentelemisestä realistisena eikä usko, että Ramin oli vaarassa Daikundissa. He väittävät, että mikään Raminin tapauksessa ei tue lausuntoa, että Ramin on saanut Talibanilta uhkauksia.

Mitkä ovat vaihtoehtosi, jos saat toisen kielteisen päätöksen?

“Tapan varmasti itseni. En voi jatkaa elämää. En voi mennä takaisin. Suomen hallitus tietää, mitä Afganistanissa tapahtuu, annoin heille paljon dokumentteja eivätkä he usko minua. Ainoa toivoni on nyt siinä, että opiskelen ja opettajani motivoivat minua, muuten minulla ei olisi syytä elää. Yritän pysyä toimeliaana, niin että minulla ei olisi liikaa aikaa ajatella, koska olen niin stressaantunut. En saa nukuttua öisin, koska pelkään, ja nyt syön lääkäriltä saamani unilääkkeitä, mutta ne eivät tee oloani hyväksi vaan saavat minut unohtamaan asioita.”

Mitä tapahtuu, jos palaat Afganistaniin?

“Jos menen Afganistaniin, tarvitsen henkilötodistuksen. Heti kun maahan päästyäni saapumiseni rekisteröidään, Taliban tietää, missä olen. Pelkään myös vanhempieni puolesta. He ovat kertoneet Talibanille, että olen kuollut, jos palaan niin heidätkin tapetaan. Talibanit ovat etsineet minua kylästäni. Lakimieheni ja sosiaalityöntekijät eivät kiinnittäneet huomiota tähän tietoon.”

Raminilla on nyt tekemistä hygieniapassia varten opiskelussa ja hän odottaa toisen lakimiehen tapaamista. Jos hän saa jäädä Suomeen, hän tahtoo opiskella edelleen, toivottavasti lääketiedettä.

Maanhanmuuttoviraston mukaan  “Kaikissa Maahanmuuttoviraston turvapaikkapäätöksissä on pohjana palautuskielto, joka on ehdoton. Palautuskielto määrää, että ketään ei saa lähettää maahan, jossa häntä uhkaa kuolemanrangaistus, kidutus, vaino tai muu epäinhimillinen tai ihmisarvoa loukkaava kohtelu. (…) Vainon vaarassa oleville myönnetään turvapaikka ja toissijaista suojelua myönnetään, jos henkilö on vaarassa kärsiä vakavaa haittaa..”

You should prove you’re in danger

I meet Ramin, an Afghani asylum-seeker, in the city center of Helsinki. He has now been here for about a year and has one negative decision from the Finnish Migration Service. As I cross the street despite the red lights for pedestrians while he calmly waits for the light to turn green, I realize something that his story will confirm. He is scared, and he has been scared for a long time.

In 2006 Ramin fled from his hometown Daikundy, an Afghani town located close to Daya, where the majority of the population are Taliban. At the time, he was working as a teacher with a US funded agency. According to Ramin, someone from his hometown reported to the Taliban about his job. He was forced to leave in the middle of the winter. “My friend told me I should go, that if I’d wait until spring they would arrive, and kill me”.

Ramin fled to Kabul where he was able to study for one semester until the Taliban found out about his location. They started calling him frequently, at first wanting to meet him and asking questions about his location and his job. He knew that he was speaking to the Taliban based on their accents. As the calls increased, they openly introduced themselves as Taliban, and threatened him.

Ramin was told they knew where he worked and what car he was driving. He didn’t tell his friends where he was living, but as he was working for the authorities (Ministry of Urban Development and Housing), the Taliban were able to find out his location. The death threats increased. Instead of taking the bus that transported employees to work every morning, Ramin travelled by motorcycle dressed in different clothes. In the end he lived under cover for a month, scared for his life. Then he came to Finland, after a long and dangerous journey.

“I was confident that the documents I provided would be carefully read and treated, and that my decision would be positive. I got my answer and went to the police, they told me I am not in danger in Afghanistan. They said they didn’t believe my documents because there are a lot of fake documents in Afghanistan. They say I should prove I am in danger. They asked if I’ve seen the Taliban face to face- I said I would be dead now if I did. They said Afghanistan is safe- it is not. I am not a governor or a minister with a bodyguard. I am a normal, public person, I have no protection. They know that anyone working for the government is not living in Afghanistan because it is too dangerous”

There is no help to get in Afghanistan as the government is unable to provide shelter or security for citizens. The UNHCR have stated that the Taliban deliberately execute people working in the public sector. According to the Taliban, working with authorities and internationally funded projects is against Islam and makes you an infidel (non-believer). Despite this information and the daily life threats Ramin faced in Afghanistan, his application was declined by the Finnish Immigration Service.

 

Why do you think that Migri does not believe your story? What happened in the process that made them decline your appeal?

“I had an Iranian translator, the language they speak is similar but different. She didn’t understand some of the words- for example she misunderstood the title of my work. In the documents it says “work office”, but I worked for the ministry. There were a lot of these mistakes.” (In the interview record the Ramins job has been translated into “työvirasto” (agency), although Ramin was employed by the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing.)

“I showed them all the documents, a lot of my documents were with the person who interviewed me, I explained all the documents. I had a photocopy of an official card proving that I was employed by the Ministry, I asked if it was enough and he said yes.

The lawyer didn’t do her job correctly. The mistake was that she didn’t tell me she wasn’t working on my case. She took copies of all the documents and I told her my story.  After 2-3 months I wanted to add some documents, and I called her, but she told me she wasn’t working on the case anymore. I tried to find out who was my lawyer and called the agency to find out. My teachers and doctor finally called them and I sent an email again. Now I have an appointment next week. I still don’t know who it is”

According to the Finnish Immigration Service Ramin’s statement regarding the nature of his work was short and general, lacking significant examples of why he would be profiled due to his professional position. However, during the interview Ramin was not asked to elaborate his given answers about his job and the interviewer did not instruct him to further describe the nature of his work.

The Finnish Immigration Service does not find Ramin’s statement about working as a teacher realistic, and do not believe that Ramin was threatened in Daikundy. They claim that there is nothing in Ramin’s case that supports the statement indicating that Ramin has faced threats by the Taliban.

What are your options if you get denied another time?

“I will kill myself for sure. I cannot continue living. I can’t go back. The government of Finland knows what is going on in Afghanistan, I gave them a lot of documents and they don’t believe me. The only hope I have now is because I am studying and my teachers motivate me, otherwise I would have no reason to keep living. I try to keep myself busy so I won’t have so much time to think because I am so stressed.  I can’t sleep at night because I am afraid, and now I eat sleeping pills that I got from the doctor but they don’t make me feel good, they make me forget things.”

What happens if you go back to Afghanistan?

“If I go to Afghanistan, I need an ID card. As soon as they register that when I enter the country, the Taliban will know where I am. I also fear for my parents. They have told the Taliban that I am dead, if I come back they will kill them too. They’ve been looking for me in my village. My lawyers and the social workers didn’t pay attention to this information.”

Ramin is currently keeping himself busy by studying for the Hygieniapassi and waiting to meet another lawyer next week. If he gets to stay in Finland, he wants to continue studying, hopefully medicine.

According to the Finnish Immigration Service; “The basis of all asylum decisions made by the Finnish Immigration Service is unconditional non-refoulement. According to non-refoulement, no one can be sent to a country where he or she faces a risk of being subjected to the death penalty, torture, persecution or other inhuman or degrading treatment (…) Persons facing the risk of persecution are granted asylum and subsidiary protection if the persons face the risk of being subjected to serious harm.”

 

 

Vainojen uhrien muistopäivänä 27.1. #JeSuisHazara

Afganistanin etninen vähemmistö, hazarat, eivät ole tervetulleita edes omassa kotimaassaan. Heitä vainotaan, heitä kidutetaan, heitä tapetaan. Vainon syyksi riittää se, että olet hazara – muuta ei tarvita.
Muistamme tietysti kaikkia vainojen uhreja, mutta tänä vainojen uhrien muistopäivänä 27.1. haluamme nostaa esiin hazarat, joita afganistanilaisista turvapaikanhakijoistamme on suurin osa.

Turvapaikanhakijoita ei saa palauttaa Afganistaniin. #JeSuisHazara

Olemme kiitollisia, jos jaatte tätä muistopäivän postaustamme.

Oikeus elää

Kuvan on piirtänyt alaikäinen hazara turvapaikanhakija. Se esittää afganistanilaisia tyttöjä. Afganistanissa ei ole rauha, vaan siellä soditaan uskonnon ja kulttuurin erilaisuuden takia. Lapsia ja nuoria voidaan kidnapata terrorijärjestöihin.
Kun isä lähtee töihin, ja äiti vaikka torille, ei voi tietää,
 tulevatko he enää illalla kotiin, koska missä tahansa voi räjähtää pommi. Kuvan tytöt odottavat, milloin perhe tulee kotiin.
Afganistanissa ei ole tasa-arvoa naisille Naiset eivät saa mennä töihin ja ei saa valittaa. Naiselle ei ole yhtään oikeuksia Afganistanissa. Sen takia aina pitää olla kotona ja laittaa ruokaa, pestä pyykkiä ja hoitaa lapsia. Olisi hyvä jos olisi tasa-arvoa kaikille.
Näin selittää se piirtäjä.

Luukku 6: Auttamalla turvapaikanhakijoita kunnioitamme holokaustin uhreja

*På svenska nedan / In English below

Auttamalla turvapaikanhakijoita kunnioitamme holokaustin uhreja

Arvoisa pääministeri Juha Sipilä. Lähetitte tervehdyksen tilaisuuteen, jossa muistettiin Suomesta natsi-Saksan käsiin luovutettua kahdeksaa juutalaista, joista kaksi oli lapsia. He kaikki joutuivat holokaustin uhreiksi. Totesitte tervehdyksessänne, että toisen maailmansodan aikaiset tapahtumat, erityisesti holokausti, ovat rikos ihmisyyttä vastaan. Ne ovat meille raskas taakka kantaa.

– Mutta kantaa se meidän pitää, jotta me ja tulevat sukupolvet sen muistamme, te jatkoitte.

On meidän yhteinen velvollisuutemme pitää huoli siitä, ettei marraskuun 6. päivä vuonna 1942 enää ikinä toistu

Oikein. Holokaustin taakka pitää muistaa. Mutta me emme kunnioita holokaustin uhreja oikealla tavalla ja riittävästi, jos tuijotamme vain menneisyyteen. Oikea tapa kunnioittaa on toimia tässä päivässä niin, että  emme aiheuta lisää uhreja emmekä syökse ihmisiä kuolemaan. Tämän päivän Suomessa se merkitsee turvapaikanhakijoiden oikeudenmukaista ja humaania kohtelua. Valitettavasti se ei toteudu, vaan Suomen linja on Euroopan tiukimpia esimerkiksi irakilaisia turvapaikanhakijoita kohtaan.

Toinen sokea pisteemme on Afganistan. Siellä vallitsee sota ja kaaos, eikä sinne pidä palauttaa turvapaikanhakijoita. Erityisen kriittinen tilanne on hazara-heimoon kuuluvien kohdalla sekä niiden nuorten kohdalla, joiden suku ja perhe ovat Iranissa. Jos turvapaikanhakijat nyt palautetaan Afganistaniin, heillä ei ole siellä minkäänlaista turvaverkkoa, eikä kaaoksessa oleva heimoyhteiskunta pysty heistä huolehtimaan. Jo nyt Afganistanissa on noin miljoona maan sisäistä pakolaista. EU-maista ja Pakistanista ollaa karkottamassa 1,5 miljoonaa turvapaikanhakijaa – esimerkiksi Kabulin lähettyvillä on pakolaisleiri, josta kerätään joka aamu kylmään ja nälkään kuolleita lapsia.

Koko Euroopan tulisi muistaa, mitä tapahtui meidän silmiemme edessä toisen maailmansodan aikaan – ja toimia nyt niin, etteivät vastaavat murheelliset ja epäinhimilliset tapahtumat toistu.

Genom att hjälpa asylsökande hedrar vi Förintelsens offer

Ärade statsminister Juha Sipilä. Ni sände en hälsning till en tillställning som ordnades till minnet av de åtta judar, varav två barn, som utlämnades till Tyskland. De blev alla Förintelsens offer. Ni konstaterade i er hälsning att händelserna under tiden för andra världskriget, särskilt Förintelsen, var brott mot mänskligheten. De är en tung börda för oss att bära.

– Men vi måste bära den, så att vi och kommande generationer ska minnas den, fortsatte ni.

Det är vår gemensamma plikt att se till att den 6 november 1942 aldrig upprepar sig.

Det stämmer. Vi måste minnas Förintelsens börda. Men vi hedrar inte holocaustens offer på rätt sätt eller tillräckligt om vi bara stirrar på det förgångna. Det rätta sättet att hedra Förintelsens offer är denna dag idag att handla så, att vi inte orsakar flera offer eller sänder människor i döden. I dagens Finland innebär det att bemöta asylsökandena på ett rättvist och humant sätt. Tyvärr uppfylls detta inte: Finlands linje hör till Europas strängaste mot bland andra irakiska asylsökande.

En annan av våra blinda punkter är Afghanistan. Där råder krig och kaos, och dit bör inga asylsökande återbördas. Särskilt kritisk är situationen för dem som tillhör hazaraklanen liksom de ungdomar vars släkt och familj befinner sig i Iran. Om asylsökande återbördas till Afghanistan nu, saknar de fullständigt säkerhetsnät, och det klansamhälle som befinner sig i kaos kan inte ta hand om dem.  Redan nu har Afghanistan ungefär en miljon flyktingar inom landet. Från EU-länderna och Pakistan är man i färd med att utvisa 1,5 miljoner asylsökande – till exempel i närheten av Kabul finns ett flyktingläger där man varje morgon samlar in barn som dött av kyla och svält.

Hela Europa måste minnas vad som hände framför våra ögon under andra världskriget och agera så att motsvarande sorgliga och omänskliga händelser inte upprepas.

By helping asylum seekers we honour the victims of the Holocaust

Dear Prime Minister Juha Sipilä,

You sent your greetings to an event held to commemorate the eight Jews Finland handed over to Nazi Germany, two of whom were children. They all became victims of the Holocaust. In your message, you stated that the events that occurred during the Second World War – in particular the Holocaust – were a crime against humanity. That they are a heavy burden for us to bear.

‘But we must bear this burden so that we, and generations to come, remember what happened’, you continued. ‘It is our common responsibility to ensure that 6 November 1942 is never repeated.’

This is true. The burden of the Holocaust must be remembered. But by focusing solely on the past we are not honouring the victims of the Holocaust in the way we should, and as much as we should. The right way to honour their memory is to act today to ensure that we do not create more victims and drive people to their deaths. In today’s Finland this means just and humane treatment of asylum seekers. Unfortunately, this is not what is happening; instead, Finland has adopted one of the harshest stances in Europe regarding Iraqi asylum seekers, for example.

Our second blind spot is Afghanistan; war and chaos are rife in the country, and asylum seekers from Afghanistan should not be sent back there. The situation is particularly critical for the Hazara people, and young Hazaras, whose families are in Iran. If asylum seekers are returned to Afghanistan now, they will have no form of safety net to rely upon, and the tribal society – in the midst of the chaos – will be unable to look after them. There are already approximately a million internally displaced people in Afghanistan. EU member states and Pakistan are deporting 1.5 million asylum seekers, contributing to situations such as that at a refugee camp located close to Kabul, where the bodies of children who have died from the cold and from hunger are collected up every morning.

Europe in its entirety should remember what happened in front of our eyes during the Second World War – and act now to make sure such tragic and inhumane events are not repeated.

Right To Live | Oikeus elää – kampanja

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