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Finnish immigration authorities suspend Afghan asylum decisions

The Finnish Immigration Service says it is re-evaluating its policies on asylum applicants from Afghanistan in line with new recommendations from the UN.

Mielenosoittajia maahanmuuttoviraston edessä.
Photo from a 2017 demonstration protesting forced returns. Image: Yle

The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) has suspended asylum decisions for applicants from the war-torn country of Afghanistan while it re-evaluates its asylum policy with regard to the Asian country.

It says that new policy guidelines regarding Afghanistan from the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR are behind the move.

"The UNHCR has released a new policy on Afghanistan. We are working through it at the moment and will change our policy if need be. In the interim, we will not be making decisions on asylum applications from Afghani applicants. We will release more details as soon as we have finished analysing the material," Migri tweeted.

Amnesty International recently demanded that Finland end all deportations to Afghanistan, saying that the security situation there has deteriorates considerably.

Police confirm hold on deportations

Amnesty quoted UN statistics that state that over 1,600 people were killed and another 3,500 injured in escalating violence in Afghanistan during the first six months of the year.

The group also noted that France and Italy were not deporting people to Afghanistan for this reason, and that Finland should also put an end to such repatriations.

Meanwhile Finnish police took to Twitter to confirm that it had also suspended repatriations to Afghanistan. "Police will not be deporting persons to Afghanistan in the coming days. We are resolving the situation in cooperation with different officials. We will then outline the required policies," the authority said in a tweet.

Migri statistics indicate that, during the 12 month period leading up to the end of May this year, officials had ruled on a total of 4,229 Afghan asylum applications. Nearly 3,000 applications were approved during that time, while close to 1,000 were rejected.

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