Antti Häkkänen (NCP), the Minister of Justice, says Finland abandoned the emergency law practice long time ago, thus rejecting a proposal tabled by the Blue Reform. (Credit: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

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MINISTER of Justice Antti Häkkänen (NCP) has shot down calls to adopt a new position on the UN Refugee Convention.

The Blue Reform proposed on Tuesday that Finland re-interpret the convention and amend the constitution in order to allow authorities to deport people found guilty of aggravated sex crimes even if the deportation would otherwise be impossible due to the security situation in their country of origin.

“I’d say we need to keep a cool head right now. We can’t make hasty amendments to the constitutions on issues like these,” Häkkänen stressed in the Parliament House.

“Making amendments to any provisions in the heat of the moment is ill advised.”

Häkkänen reminded that both the constitution and international treaties prohibit the deportation of people if they are at risk of facing death in their country of origin. Members of the Parliament, he gauged, are consequently very unlikely to support demands to abandon the treaties.

“Would it make sense for Finland to abandon its key commitments under the human rights system? I don’t think it’s something we should support,” he said.

Simon Elo, the chairperson of the Blue Parliamentary Group, stated yesterday in a news conference that the asylum system should be patched up and the refugee convention re-examined in regards to people found guilty of sex crimes. The deportations, he added, should be carried out on grounds of a new emergency law.

“Finland gave up on the practice of emergency law a long time ago,” replied Häkkänen. “I’d say it’s very unlikely we’ll deviate from the constitution on core issues such as these. I’ll have to study the proposal further, but in general I don’t think it’s a smart way to move forward.”

Häkkänen admitted that legislative changes are necessary in spite of his reservations about the proposal by the Blue Reform.

“We’ll have to simultaneously keep a warm heart and a cool head. The immigration system must be adjusted to some extent: controls must be developed and the removals of illegal residents made faster. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs must thrash out an agreement with Iraq on removals as soon as possible,” he stated.

“I’m not talking about any extreme measures, but we can’t allow a situation to emerge where we have thousands of people outside the reach of authorities in Finland.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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