Centre: Asylum seekers from safe countries should be turned away at border

A Swedish police officer gave instructions to a group of people participating in a demonstration held by asylum seekers in Haparanda, a municipality located at the border between Sweden and Finland, on 5 September, 2017.

The European Union should take a firmer stance on the implementation of the Dublin Regulation, a piece of legislation prescribing that asylum applications should be examined by the member state of first entry, according to the Centre Party - writes helsinkitimes.fi.

The Centre Parliamentary Group on Friday shed light on its approach to asylum policy, urging Finland to waste no time in turning away asylum seekers arriving from safe countries, such as Sweden.

“If an asylum seeker comes to Finland from a safe country, he or she should principally be turned away at the border without delay,” it writes in a press release .

Seppo Kääriäinen (Centre), the chairperson of the task force that drafted the policy paper, emphasises that the country should nevertheless do its due diligence before turning away asylum applicants, as also applicants from safe countries may be genuinely in need of international protection.

“The possibility must be taken into consideration,” he stated in an interview with Uusi Suomi.

Another source from within the party reminded that the term used in the press release, expedited removal, does not mean that an asylum seeker who crosses the border from Sweden into Finland could be turned away immediately. Such a procedure is prohibited under international law, the source explained.

The applicant can, however, be refused entry after an expedited, eight-day asylum procedure.

The Centre has thereby clarified its position on asylum policy twice in the past week.

Matti Vanhanen, the presidential candidate of the Centre Party, demanded a day earlier that the asylum and refugee status determination be made in Africa instead of Europe.

“We and the UN must establish a system of refugee centres in Africa to ensure the refugees in need of protection have a safe and supervised passage to Europe. Europe, in turn, must work together in distributing the refugees,” he wrote in his blog on 28 September, 2017.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

Photo: Panu Pohjola – Lehtikuva

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