You can’t believe a word he says…
PM’s aborted house offer
In 2015, Centrist Prime Minister Juha Sipilä made headlines here, and abroad, with an announcement that he would open his home in Kempele, just outside of Oulu, to a family of refugees.
The offer was later withdrawn, on the advice of security officials.
Oulu’s Kaleva is one of the dailies that picked up fresh comments on the affair made by Sipilä in an Yle radio broadcast on Sunday.
Sipilä said that the intention was that a family which had suffered persecution in their home country would have moved into the house. He described them as Christians from a majority Islamic country who had been persecuted for helping western development aid workers. He did not state what country.
Arrangements for the family to move into Sipilä’s house were never completed, as security officials felt that they would have faced a dangerously high level of hostility.
“We could not have imagined that the atmosphere would have become so bad that a family with children who found asylum here would have to fear for their lives,” Sipilä told reporters. “Fortunately, that family is now safe elsewhere.”
At the time, Sipilä’s decision to take asylum seekers into his home aroused harsh criticism from anti-immigration quarters which claimed that the move would boost the number of people seeking asylum in Finland. There were also protests held near his house and incidents of rocks and fireworks thrown at local refugee centres.
Prime Minister Sipilä has rejected all criticism of his decision at the time. On Sunday, he condemned criminal actions by some asylum seekers, but stated that he stands for the defense of human dignity and basic rights.