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ft-iraqi-refugees

Sadah Anzi, 39, an asylum seeker from Iraq has been hunted by the terrorists for a decade. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

The Finnish Immigration Service froze its decision-making on Iraqi and Somali asylum claims on September 30 for the time being.

With the aid of the Free Movement Network,  about 50 Iraqi asylum seekers gathered to protest the decision at the Paasikivi square in Helsinki’s Kamppi district on Monday afternoon.

“We, refugees from Iraq, ask the Finnish people and the Finnish government for protection and asylum. Iraq, especially its capital Baghdad, are dangerous areas with arbitrary violence,” Omar, an asylum seeker, said with a shivering voice while reading their their appeal addressed to the Finnish people and the government at the Annex of the Parliament.

The present guidelines of the immigration service have granted residence permits especially for the Iraqis on the basis of international protection solely due to the security situation in their home region. Now, the EU’s ongoing security assessment in Iraq and Somalia is under re-evaluation: “It has already emerged that asylum seekers who come from, for example, Baghdad and surrounding regions and from Mogadishu are not granted protection automatically in other EU countries,” the immigration service said in a bulletin.

If the EU decides to apply stricter guidelines, the Iraqi asylum seekers may face deportation.

“We cannot go back to Iraq since most of us will face death or incarceration. We came to Finland to find hope, safety and a dignified life,” the Iraqis said.

Watch the interviews and highlights of the demonstration: