In a letter addressed to the Minister of Interior of Finland, Mari Rantanen, published today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, raises concerns about the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants following the temporary closure of Finland’s Eastern land border.
While acknowledging concerns about the potential instrumentalisation by the Russian Federation of the movement of asylum seekers and migrants, “it is crucial that Council of Europe member states, even when dealing with challenging situations at their borders, react in a manner that fully aligns with their human rights obligations”, writes the Commissioner.
The Commissioner expresses her concern that decisions to restrict and subsequently close access to the border may impact notably on the right to seek asylum, as well as the principle of non-refoulement and prohibition of collective expulsion. She asks for several clarifications on safeguards implemented and measures taken to ensure human rights protection, and to prevent a humanitarian crisis from unfolding in the context of worsening weather conditions at the border.
The letter follows up on previous dialogue regarding legislative amendments allowing the Finnish government to restrict access to the border and concentrate applications for international protection at one or more crossing points.
- Read the Commissioner's letter addressed to the Minister of Interior of Finland
- Reply of the Minister of Interior of Finland to the Commissioner’s letter