The Finnish Immigration Service Migri says it won’t forcibly deport Afghan women and children to Kabul if their asylum applications have been rejected, conceding that the city is too unsafe.
Previously, Kabul had been considered a ‘safe haven’ by the Finnish authorities, meaning that an asylum application could be rejected on the grounds that someone who is in danger in one part of Afghanistan, could reasonably have been expected to move to ‘safety’ in Kabul. This is known as ‘internal flight’.
In a statement today, Migri said they realise that’s not the case any more.
“The Finnish Immigration Service is of the opinion that the general situation in Kabul has deteriorated with regard to internal flight. It has updated its policy in such a manner that internal flight to Kabul can only be considered on a case-by-case basis for two groups of applicants” – those are healthy, able-bodies unmarried men; and working age couples without children who have some sort of safety net or support system in Kabul.
“The Finnish Immigration Service does not require families with children to flee internally to Kabul” says the statement.
Evolving policy on deportations
Finland’s policy on deporting failed asylum seekers has evolved rapidly over the last month, as pressure has mounted from anti-deportation campaigns and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees UNHCR.
UNHCR’s latest guidance says that in certain parts of Afghanistan the security situation may be so serious that no one should be required to return there, and notes that many specific parts of Afghanistan are subject to extreme violence.
Migri had called a temporary halt to Afghanistan deportations. However, those have now started again albeit with the new Kabul guidance in place.