The shift of power in Afghanistan also disrupts Western asylum policies. Countries like Finland are currently evaluating the new security conditions in the Asian country, which they must take into account when deciding whether or not to grant asylum to people who are already here awaiting a decision from the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri).
As in other countries, deportations from Finland to Afghanistan were stopped this summer. Now, the Taliban's takeover and images showing further deterioration in security could benefit some Afghan asylum seekers already in Finland.
Migri announced in July the suspension of all decision-making processes leading to a negative decision based on which asylum seekers would be returned to Afghanistan.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, this policy will continue now until the immigration agency has assessed the security situation and reviewed policy guidelines on the country.
Meanwhile, decision-making on positive cases will continue, and new country information and the prevailing situation will also be taken into account when assessing the conditions for granting asylum, the department headed by Maria Ohisalo said in a statement.
This week, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has released a non-return advisory calling for all countries to suspend the return of Afghan nationals to their country of origin. The advisory also applies to the return of asylum seekers who have had their claims rejected. Finland has followed this policy for several weeks now.
“The Finnish authorities have closely monitored the development of the security situation in Afghanistan. In July, Finland was one of the first countries to react to the matter and, in practice, suspended returns to Afghanistan,” says Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo.
No further returns
In Finland, returns of foreign nationals are carried out by the police. Following the decision of the Finnish Immigration Service, the National Police Board decided that returns to Afghanistan would be postponed, and that no further returns would be prepared until Migri has finalized its assessment and reviewed the country guidelines.
The development of the security situation in Afghanistan is closely monitored both in Finland and at EU level. Last week, the Government decided that Finland will receive 170 people from Afghanistan. This quota includes Afghans, and their families, who have worked for the Finnish peacekeepers and diplomats.
“Finland, like all EU countries, complies with the principle of non-refoulement included in international human rights treaties and also in our Constitution and the Aliens Act. No one should be returned to an area where they would face death penalty, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and other irreparable harm. At the moment, the situation in Afghanistan is extremely serious, and human distress in the region is great,” says Minister Ohisalo.