Iraqis who fled to the Nordic country in search of security have been denied the right to remain following policy amendments in May 2016, authorised by Finland’s Immigration Service (MIGRI).
Negative decisions have not only been doled out to Iraqis. Afghans and Somalis have also been forced onto chartered flights to their countries of origin that Finland recognises as 'safe'.
"engaging in what refugee activist hassan ibrahim dubbed 'the diplomacy of shame"
Cases where Iraqis have been returned home and later killed for a whole host of reasons - be it kidnappings, bomb explosions, extrajudicial killings - go largely unreported.
Those present at the sit-in - meters away from the main Finnish parliament building - engaged in what refugee activist Hassan Ibrahim dubbed “the diplomacy of shame”.
"We are here to capture the government's attention. It cannot continue treating our lives as disposable, we deserve the rights enjoyed by citizens wherever they are in the world".
Scenes of bodies pulled out of mounds of rubble, infants barely a year old, mourning mothers and wives consumed by pain of loss are televised daily from Iraq. Despite that, Finland and others are unwilling to concede Iraq is not safe.
“Not a single day passes without an explosion going off, but still, they insist Iraq is fine, and everything is under control” Ibrahim said.
One of the organisers of the sit-in Haidar Obeidi said “adverse decisions like the ones Iraqis have been subject to, completely ignore Iraq’s deteriorating security situation”.
"Young Iraqi boys, some not even 18 years old, are being detained unlawfully and mistreated" he added.
"We want our voices to reach the government and the wider world".
Obeidi stressed that protesters would continue to sit-in until their demands are met by Finnish authorities. He, and his wider support network of activists, have called on the host country to review the decision to forcibly expatriate Iraqis - unrecognised by their own government.
In an interview with Migrant Tales Blog, Iraqi ambassador to Finland Sabti acknowledged that “Iraq will not accept forced deportations”. Speaking on the legality of deportation, Sabti raised doubts about the power Finland has to forcibly repatriate thousands of Iraqis.
The position of the government has not been welcomed by the local population who are working with organisations including ‘the right to life’. Together they seek to shed much needed light on the state of limbo Iraqis are trapped in.