Unmasking the Rhetoric: Immigrants Rights Under Scrutiny
Migration is a globally debated issue, impacting people’s lives worldwide. Around 2.3% of the global population, equivalent to 184 million individuals, reside outside their birth countries, with nearly 50% in low- and middle-income nations. This phenomenon has been inherent in humanity since its inception and cannot be disregarded by any country or organization.
Throughout the years, Finland has presented itself as a nation aspiring to lead and champion human rights globally. However, actions must accompany words. Unfortunately, the post-April 2023 election scenario paints a different picture.
Currently, immigrants in Finland often feel targeted, not only due to sporadic racism but also due to certain political figures masking racist rhetoric under the guise of free speech. The government shouldn’t contribute to this sentiment; instead, it should function as a body that places the well-being of all residents at the forefront. Regrettably, the recent observation suggests otherwise.
Instances of the government’s assault on immigrant rights are apparent throughout its new program, affecting various immigrant groups and conveying the impression that the ultimate objective is to undermine these rights, many of which are protected by international laws, agreements, and conventions. This situation also threatens the broader landscape of human rights.
One of the most alarming examples is that the program proposes to reduce refugee quotas significantly to an unprecedented 500, a historic low. In contrast, the UNHCR’s proposed global quotas for 2024 have increased by 20%.
Furthermore, Finland is tightening the asylum policies to bring as strict as possible under EU standards.
For refugees seeking family reunification, the government’s program introduces a pre-entry language test, contrary to international law and agreements. This test would require spouses seeking entry based on family ties and granted international protection to demonstrate a specific level of language proficiency in their country of origin, which can be challenging or even impossible in countries experiencing turmoil.
For immigrants arriving in Finland for educational purposes, the government’s plan to raise tuition fees for those outside the EU and EEA poses financial challenges for existing students and dissuades potential students from considering Finland as an educational destination
Simultaneously, individuals with work permits in diverse fields face insecurity due to a proposed three-month time limit to secure employment or face deportation. Even individuals who have lived in the country for years could be forced to leave if they fail to find new employment within the proposed short period, potentially disrupting families and affecting migrants’ well-being.
This approach also provides employers with additional leverage and may lead to exploitative situations.
Other proposed legislative changes from the government’s program suggest differentiating the social security system, in violation of international agreements, between immigrants and residents, increasing the feeling of discrimination and segregation, and creating a feeling of not belonging.
Considering all these facts, it is easy to understand why immigrants feel disappointed, betrayed, and angry.
Do not lose hope. Your opinion and your rights are important, and it is the duty of all of us as a society to work together against suppression, racism, and xenophobia so no one gets suppressed and stepped on.
These targeted actions make clear why it is important for everyone from all backgrounds to not stand alone but to find a community to get support, to talk about it, and to be vocal about it. By joining our forces and raising our voices, we can remind everyone that Immigrants’ Rights are Human Rights, and we can make real change.
Author: Ditmar Hasanaj
The author works as a language intern at Amnesty International Finnish section. The views expressed in Amnesty’s blog are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the organization’s official position.
Hei vielä! Kun nyt olet täällä…
… niin uskomme, että välität ihmisoikeuksista kaikille, kaikkialla maailmassa. Tiesitkö, että Amnestyn työ perustuu juuri sinunkaltaistesi välittävien ihmisten tukeen? Olemme riippumaton toimija, joka ei ota vastaan julkista rahoitusta. Mutta riippumattomuutemme on mahdollista säilyttää vain yksityishenkilöiden tuen voimalla.
Työmme on tehokasta. Lahjoittajiemme ansiosta vapautamme satoja vääryydellä vangittuja ihmisiä, painostamme hallituksia muuttamaan syrjiviä lakeja paremmiksi, estämme teloituksia ja pelastamme ihmishenkiä. Lahjoittajien avulla asiantuntijamme pystyvät tutkimaan ja paljastamaan ihmisoikeusloukkauksia. Tuomme vääryyksiä julki ja vaadimme päättäjiä korjaamaan ne.
Tämä kaikki on mahdollista, mutta vain sinun avullasi. Yhdessä voimme lopettaa kidutuksen, sorron ja syrjinnän, auttaa pahoinpideltyjä naisia, sekä tarjota paremman tulevaisuuden sotaa ja tuhoa pakeneville ihmisille.