“No means no” – new police instructional videos for asylum seekers

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Still video from a Police and Migri video / Credit: Maahanmuuttovirasto YouTube

A recently published video warns newly arrived immigrants that all forms of harassment and sexual coercion in Finland are criminal offenses.

The message, delivered in Finnish but dubbed into several different languages including English, Arabic, French, Dari, Spanish, Turkish and Russian, appears in the latest video series produced by the Finnish Immigration Service Migri and the Police University College.

There are 11 videos in total, and they give information on basic rights, criminal law and the penalties for crimes in Finland among other subjects.

“In Finland, all kinds of harassment and focing someone into a sexual act are crimes that result in a punishment. Everyone has the right to decide on their own body: men, women and children. The same right applies to those asleep, drunk or, for example, sick” say a female officer in the video presentations.

Although the videos were planned before allegations of asylum seekers abusing young girls in Oulu surfaced, the content has never been more topical, and it’s likely one reason why senior officers have been sharing the content again during the past week.

“Ei tarkoittaa ei. Nej menar nej. No means no. The meaning is same in every language” Superintendent Maarit Pikkarainen from West Uusimaa Police wrote on Twitter this week as she shared a media link to one of the videos.

The series clearly sets out that all judgments in Finland are public, and that the police and prosecutor have the right and duty to report serious crimes to the media, who are also likely to publish the names of criminals.

“The effect of the crime does not end in punishment, but it can make it difficult or hinder obtaining a residence permit and restricting access to work and study places” the video continues.

Still video from a Police and Migri video / Credit: Maahanmuuttovirasto YouTube

Information about Finnish society

According to Seija Hämäläinen, Project Manager at an Oulu reception centre, the instructional videos are used to advance asylum seekers’ understandings of basic and human rights, and to provide them information about Finnish society.

“We have, for example, one video about basic human rights, a few videos dealing with crimes involving assault and theft, and few videos dealing with sexual offenses” says Hämäläinen.

As part of a research project, the Police University College gathered information about asylum-seeker related crimes. The scripts for the new video series are based on the findings of that research.

“The survey found these themes emerging with asylum seekers” says Hämäläinen.

The videos will be also at reception centres, because the format can make the information more easily understandable, and reach more people. It can also be a more effective way to communicate with people who lack literacy skills.

“The reception centers hosts a social course that deals with these same issues that occur in these videos. Earlier the education was only verbal, in which the material was only translated into another language by interpreter. Now we wanted to turn it more impressive and more visual material” Seija Hämäläinen tells News Now Finland.

The project has been financed by the European Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund AMIF.