October 5, 2010 § Leave a comment
Ministers of Finland’s Evangelical Lutheran Church are becoming as some of the most vocal defenders of refugees. Citizens’ groups are also increasingly helping asylum seekers fight deportation orders. Earlier this year, the plight of two grandmothers, Eveline Fayadel and Irina Antonova, caught the sympathy of the public and many politicians. Now the deportation of an Angolan boy living in northern Finland is in the public eye. The young Angolan’s Facebook support group has more than 4,000 followers. He has also received support from Lutheran ministers as well as some politicians. Samuel Salmi, bishop of the Oulu diocese, says that deportation would put a violent end to the boy’s hopes of being a part of Finnish society. “He has learned Finnish, and he has strong ties to Finns,” says Salmi. The boy is now staying at a deportation centre while his support group pressures authorities to issue him an alien’s passport as well as the right to stay in Finland. The European Court of Human Rights has meanwhile yet to rule on the grandmothers’ cases.