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Finland: refugees, religious leaders united against clampdown on family renions

“We express concern for the erosion of the principle of equal treatment for everyone in European societies, for the changed attitude to refugees and asylum seekers, as well as for the rising inequalities with offensive deeds all over Europe”, Catholics Orthodox, Lutherans, Muslims and Jews wrote together in a letter, published in the newspaper “Helsinki Sanomissa” in response to the Government’s proposing to Parliament on 7th April to harshen family reunion criteria, based on which, before one can be eligible for reunion, one should prove they have adequate means. The right to family and reunion applies “regardless of one’s social, cultural or religious background”, and political decisions must be “based on a approach that takes the family into account”. And as they report breaches of human dignity, such as the “confiscation of telephones from unaccompanied refugee children”, they call to abide by “the right to safety and self-determination, even in difficult situations”. “The golden rule, engraved in every man’s heart, makes one treat others the same way one would want to be treated oneself”, the message ends, calling “to treat with care every human being in our society. Finnish values transpire from our words and actions”.

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