Chechens, Ingush Threatened in Finland
- The Chechen and Ingush diaspora in Finland has turned to the Finnish Ombudsman for Minorities, Eva Biaudet, for protection against threats by Lutheran pastor Juha Molari, member of the "Finnish Anti-Fascist Committee". The pastor claims that refugees from North Caucasus residing in Finland are linked to terrorism.
On 24 September 2010, Molari wrote in his blog that there were no genuine refugees from the Caucasus in Finland. "Everyone who has fled Caucasus and arrived in Finland is linked to terrorism," the pastor claimed. Earlier, he wrote that asylum applicants were "brought into Finland because of their terrorist links."
Chechens and Ingushetians living in Finland regard Molari's allegations as incitement to racial hatred. Moreover, Molari's statements are an affront to the Finnish immigration authorities, given that people guilty of crimes are not eligible for asylum. Read the open letter of the Nakh diaspora to the Finnish Ombudsman for Minorities:
Dear Ombudsman for Minorities,
We, Chechen and Ingush refugees living in Finland, are making this appeal to you, given that one of your and your office's main tasks is to advance the legal protection of ethnic minorities and foreigners as well as good ethnic relations in Finland.
We are all refugees in Finland of Chechen and Ingushetian origin. We have received international protection due to the problems we face in our homeland. We are very grateful to the Finnish people and society for providing us and our children the possibility of conducting a decent life.
We try our best to follow the rules and standards of your society. We still hope that there will be a chance for us to move back to our homeland. The possibility to enjoy Finnish hospitality is something that we will never forget, and it will become part of our national heritage. It is a gift that will be remembered by generations.
However, we now feel threatened, even within Finnish society. There is a group of people in Finland who have targeted us with accusations of crimes that none of us has committed. We are referring to the long campaign directed against us by the group that calls itself the "Finnish Anti-Fascist Committee."
The group's latest accusation comes from one of the leading members of the pro-Kremlin "Anti-Fascist Committee", pastor Juha Molari, in his blog: "Not a single genuine refugee has arrived from the Caucasus to Finland; everyone who has fled from the Caucasus and arrived in Finland is linked to terrorism."
He writes that we are all criminals simply based on our ethnic origin. This is a collective accusation directed against a group of people. We do not know of a single individual among the Caucasian refugees in Finland who would have been involved in terrorism.
Also, Molari's statement is an accusation directed against the Finnish immigration authorities: as we all know, persons involved in crimes abroad are not covered by the legislation which obliges Finnish authorities to grant asylum to people who are in need of international protection.
Dear Ombudsman, we request that you take all legal and other steps in order to protect us from the ethnic hatred that this priest has levelled against us. Please realise that given the situation in our homeland, these sorts of accusations are highly dangerous to ourselves and especially to our children. Please help us.
We request that the signatures of this letter be classified; we are afraid of what might happen to our relatives back home if our names become public. We would also like to draw your attention to the fact that Molari states in his blog that he intends to inform Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) about the names of Chechens living in Finland. This causes severe anxiety among us and fear for the safety of our children and our relatives.
We sign this appeal with great respect for you and your office. The mere existence of your office is a sign of how seriously the Finnish authorities regard human rights. There are some 400-500 Chechens living in Finland; unfortunately, there is no time to collect the signatures of each member of the local diaspora, but you can be sure that we are taking this action on behalf of every single Caucasian living in Finland.
Helsinki, 27 September 2010