The asylum application of 20 year-old Yussef Khaled Al-Rawi, pictured to left, was recently turned down after immigration authorities reached the verdict that his case was undeserving of residency.
Having fallen victim to a bomb blast outside his home in Al Amiriyah, west of Baghdad back in March 2014, Al Rawi fled in search of a safe and dignified life abroad. Al Rawi’s injuries - nerve damage and deafness - from which he continues to suffer, were not deemed serious enough for him to be granted a residency permit.
The rejection letter issued by the department of Finnish Immigration (MIGRI) came one year after he had arrived to the nordic country. The young Iraqi, as outlined in the letter, had been refused on the grounds that “he was able to remain in Iraq for several months after the blast occurred”.
Iraqi activist Mustafa D., currently awaiting the verdict of his own asylum, told FRB that “the government has not maintained a consistent attitude”, adding that “there is no repatriation agreement between both governments that allows for the expulsion of refugees, whether they are Iraqi, Afghani, or Somali”.
He described the asylum process as one which “is discriminatory at its heart”. “Asylum is granted to those that have converted from Islam to christianity, or homesxuals, but not others discriminated against for other reasons back home” he said.
In an telephone interview, Al Rawi spoke to FRB about his fears of being sent back against his will. “I cannot return. The bomb blast is one of several examples of how I and my family were directly targeted by unknown assailants”.
Speaking to Migrant Tales magazine, Iraqi ambassador to Finland Matheel Chayif Al Sabti said that without an agreement “the Iraqi government does not accept forced deportations”. Those that refuse to repatriated, will not be issued with the necessary documentation, the ambassador concluded.
The opinion of the Iraqi ambassador, no different to Iraqi refugees residing in Finland, is that while the host government deems Iraq a ‘safe’ country, the deportation campaign violates human rights conventions and norms.
Finnish and Iraqi refugee campaigners with whom FRB spoke, charged the government with unlawful treatment and premeditated plans to expedite large-scale deportations. “Earlier this month Finnish police apprehended two asylum seekers of Iraqi origin without charge” said an Iraqi refugee whose name cannot be disclosed for security reasons.
“This is one of methods exercised by the government in an effort to round us up before flying us home”, he said. “They will be placing us in harms way, uncaring of what may happen”, he lamented.
Finland's foreign minister Timo Soini asserts that the national laws of his country should take precedent, without passing judgement on the current state of security in Iraq.