Not even a close call……
All of the countries deemed by political opponents of these deportations as ”not being safe”, have in fact safe areas within those countries and just outside their borders. Many of these economic migrants waiting to be deported also have relatives still living in those areas ‘they fled from’ and in other places around these countries.
How that differs with Soviet dissidents is that the entire Soviet Union and its satellite (Eastern Block) states were unsafe for them, there was no area under the Soviet regime’s control that it couldn’t operate. These dissidents had deaths warrants on their heads, there was NO place to go, there were non refugee camps just outside its borders to flee to. These were the people that the Finnish state repatriated during the Cold War to the Soviet regime due to the intimidation, and subversion, of its political system by the latter.
Finland’s history of forced returns: Deporting conscientious objectors and a sedated family
A recent furore over since-refuted reports that Finnish officials planned to deport an Afghan family to Kabul has ignited debate about the ethics of returning asylum seekers to potential conflict areas. Yle delved into its archives to dust off decades-old deportation cases involving conscientious objectors facing persecution and forcibly-drugged family members.
In early April, demonstrators gathered at Helsinki-Vantaa airport, the Pasila police station and downtown Helsinki to protest the deportation of rejected asylum seekers back to the Afghan capital Kabul. The protests were ignited by rumours that an Afghan family had been on the manifest of the deportation flight. Police later confirmed that while the family had been detained for repatriation, they were later released when it emerged that their asylum appeals were still being processed.
The protests turned on concerns that people fleeing violence were being returned to conflict zones. Last year Finland changed its guidance for assessing asylum applications from Somali, Iraqi and Afghan nationals, making it easier to reject asylum claims and therefore deport people back to those countries. However opponents point out that these countries are still considered unsafe for visitors.
Controversial deportation decisions are not a new phenomenon. Yle’s Finnish-language news travelled back in time to relive deportation dramas that played out in 1990 and 2002.
Conscientious objectors flee Soviet Russia
On September 9, 1990, Soviet national Oleg Kozlov hijacked an airliner en route from Riga to Murmansk and ordered the pilot to land in Stockholm, Sweden. However the plane unexpectedly taxied into Helsinki, striking a fateful blow to the young Soviet’s plan to defect to the West.