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Home NATIONALSomalis worried at discrimination, racism
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Tue, 19 Apr, 2016 12:08:21 AM
FTimes – STT Report, Apr 19
 
University of Helsinki, Academy Research Fellow Marja Tiilikainen spoke at the joint report launching programme in Helsinki on Monday. Photo Lehtikuva.
The Somali community in the country is concerned about discrimination and racism, said a joint report prepared by the government and a non-governmental organisation. 
 
The community is particularly concerned about the way discrimination and racism have been normalised.
 
According to a joint report by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy and the Open Society Foundation, discrimination has become very normal with its threshold rising high. For this reason, people do not feel that reporting discrimination or hate crime has any effect.
 
This situation has to be changed, said Finnish Somali League chair Arshe Said.
 
The report is important for the authorities concerned in order to ensure that all crimes related to discrimination and racism are documented.
 
“People should report to the authorities irrespective of whether there would be a consequence or not,” pointed out Said.
 
Said also said that due to the immigration crisis, racism and discrimination experienced by people of Somali origin have increased. According to Said, the trend was positive at the beginning of 2000s.
 
“Nowadays immigration is topical in each and every election. This has increased hate speech and racism,” Said stated.
 
Ministry's immigration director Sonja Hämäläinen spoke at the joint report launching programme in Helsinki on Monday. Photo Lehtikuva.
The Somali community, however, according to both the report and the Finnish Somali League, generally consider Finland a safe country of residence.
 
According to Marja Tiilikainen, a University of Helsinki researcher involved in the drafting of the report, the interviews revealed that the Somali community brings security, but, on the other hand, it is good that all different kinds of people live in the neighbourhood.
 
The report also looked at the areas where integration of the Somali community has been successful. According to the report, the voter turnout of both Somali men and women during the 2012 municipal elections was 40 per cent.  Said expressed delight at the figure, saying that it showed that integration has been successful. There were also 10 candidates who stood for elections during the previous municipal elections.
 
The Finnish Somali League is also encouraging its members to venture into entrepreneurship. 
 
According to Said, the number of Somali entrepreneurs is less compared to, for instance, Turks.
 
Another challenge is the low unemployment rate among the people of Somali origin. The figure is around 50 per cent for Somalis, while the corresponding figure for the whole nation is around 50 per cent.
 
Chairman of the Finnish Somali League Arshe Said. File Photo Lehtikuva.
Tiilikainen pointed out the lack of language skills. In addition, often the expertise or training of Somali people lacks the support of the Finnish labour market.
 
Furthermore, the low rate of unemployment among the Somalis is explained by the low average age. Forty-eight per cent of the Somali population in the country is under 20. Many of the Somali people also take care of children at home.
 
The report is part of a wider research project of Open Society Foundation on the living conditions of Somali communities in different cities in Europe.
 
Finland is home to 16,000 Somalis, of which the majority live in the capital city region.
 
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