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Finland Will Not Return Iraqi Refugees to Baghdad

Finland will no longer return Iraqi asylum seekers to Baghdad. The Supreme Administrative Court has decided that Baghdad is not a safe place. In Finland, asylum seekers from Baghdad are therefore entitled to residence permits on the basis of subsidiary protection.

Kaksi sotilasta partioi kadulla.
Kaksi sotilasta partioi kadulla. Image: Yle

The Supreme Administrative Court found that people coming from Baghdad could be subject to arbitrary violence at home. In so ruling, the Court overturned some decisions previously made by the Finnish Immigration Service regarding Iraqi asylum seekers.

This preliminary ruling has gladdened the Finnish Refugee Council. The council lawyer Ida Staffans says that the court ruling has aroused international interest. She notes that the decision could have international ramifications.

The director of the Asylum Unit at the Finnish Immigration Service, Esko Repo, states that this ruling will influence subsequent decisions made by the Immigration Service.

“This means that, right now, nobody can be sent back to Baghdad,” he says.

On the immediate basis, the ruling will affect several dozen arrivals from Baghdad who received a negative answer to their asylum request last year. Their cases will be reconsidered.

According to Repo, the wide-reaching consequences of the court decision, for example, on the numbers of asylum seekers, will only become clear in the future.

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