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Home NATIONALFinnish-Afghan refugee deportation deal inked
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Wed, 05 Oct, 2016 12:01:27 AM
FTimes – STT Report, Oct 5
 
Art of flags of Finland and Afghanistan. File Photo Lehtikuva.
Finland and Afghanistan on Tuesday signed an agreement on return of Afghan asylum-seekers from Finland.
 
The agreement is intended to facilitate cooperation between the authorities for both voluntary and forced return.
 
The agreement was signed in Brussels during a conference hosted by the European Union and the government of Afghanistan.
 
Interior Minister Paula Risikko who signed the document on behalf of Finland said the agreement is intended to prepare for the fact that the number of asylum seekers from Afghanistan may grow in the future.
 
“I think this is extremely important. The EU’s assessment is that the pressure will grow specifically in the form of Afghan migration,” Risikko told the news agency STT.
 
Finland has been negotiating an agreement with Afghanistan regarding the return of refugees under the leadership of the interior ministry since May. 
 
Similar negotiations are taking place with Iraq and Somalia, but agreements have not yet been reached.
 
Refugees at a reception centre. File Photo Lehtikuva.
Last year, Afghans constituted the second largest group of asylum seekers in Finland, after Iraqis.
 
There were more than 5,200 Afghani applications for asylum last year, and this year, by the end of September, there were only 700.
 
Nearly two-thirds of Afghans who have applied for asylum this year have received negative decisions. 
 
More than one hundred Afghans have voluntarily agreed to return to their home country.
 
Parliamentary Administrative Committee Chairman Juho Eerola holds the agreement as an excellent achievement.
 
“I hope the agreement will [also] work in practice. We now have from Afghanistan an official promise to receive the asylum seekers,” Eerola said in a statement.
 
According to Eerola, the official agreement prevents submission of unfounded asylum applications in Finland.
 
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