JW Bulletin

Jehovah's Witnesses in the Media

Translation: Aamulehti – 22nd August 2018

Aamulehti – 22nd August 2018

More than 200 Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses have applied for asylum in Finland – the majority received a negative decision

According to the Finnish Immigration Service, every case is examined individually, even though the difficult situation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia is known to the Finnish authorities. “There is no systematic persecution in Russia for all Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

Most of the Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses have so far received a negative asylum decision in Finland.

Nowadays, more than 200 Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses are currently seeking asylum in Finland. Most of them are waiting for the Migration Agency’s (Migrin) decision on asylum.

– Ten asylum applications have been resolved and most of the decisions have been negative, Juha Similä, head of the area of ​​the Asylum Office’s Asylum Unit, tells Lännen Media.

Similarly, there are also positive decisions among them. Those who have refused a decision have appealed to the Administrative Court. One of Migri’s decisions has been legally enforceable after the decision of the administrative court, that is, Migri’s decision has been taken.

Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses seeking asylum live in different parts of Finland. More than 200 people are home to several families and children.

This year more than a hundred applicants

According to Similo, more than 100 Jehovah’s Witnesses came from Finland from Russia last year. Most of them came for the rest of the year.

– This year, over 100 people have come to this year, Similä describes.

The Finnish Immigration Service plans to make more asylum decisions in the autumn.

The religious background and grounds for applying for Finland will ultimately survive only asylum investigations at the Finnish Immigration Service.

Juha Similä says that for all the 200 asylum seekers there is no time to conduct an investigation, but it has become clear from basic information that the underlying background is Jehovah’s testimony. This information indicates the registration of the Frontier Guard or police on basic information on the application.

– Based on the country information acquired by Nigeria, it can not be inferred that in Russia all Jehovah’s Witnesses would be in danger of being subjected to serious violations. There is no systematic persecution in Russia for all Jehovah’s Witnesses.

– When the petition is based on “Jehovah’s Witness from Russia”, it does not yet tell what the decision is to be. Even though we know its difficult position at this time, every case is individually explored, Similä emphasizes.

Role means

For example, the Finnish Immigration Service assesses the status of an asylum seeker in Jehovah’s Witnesses: Does the applicant have a role to play, for example, whether he is a high profile preacher, an active player, or a low profile actor?

-We are going to see how a person is practicing faith in his country of origin and whether there have been domestic violations in the past.

Simila emphasizes that no one can require that a person should abandon his own religion or conceal his religious beliefs in order to avoid being subject to violations.

Being a witness to Jehovah is not forbidden in Russia. In 2017, however, Russia came to a decision by the Supreme Court which banned the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ National Administration Center and was considered the ultimate organization. The activities of local associations were also regarded as extreme.

About 80 in Lappeenranta

The Joutseno reception center in Lappeenranta currently houses some 80 Russians, most of whom have been told to be Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The Joutseno reception center is located about ten kilometers from the Russian border and the Nuijama border crossing point.

-John Jehovah’s Witnesses are now our largest customer group. Most families have lived in families of 2 to 4 people, including relatives, says Jari Kähkönen, head of the reception center.

They have adapted well and have a safety net of Finnish Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Kähkönen estimates that most of the nearly 200 Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses live in southern Finland, Helsinki and Turku.

Yesterday’s news reported that Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses seeking asylum are no longer isolated cases. According to YLE, fleeing had already begun to appear in Swansea.

According to Jehovah’s Witnesses official site, there are nearly 172,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. This figure is reflected in the Migration Report from June.

* all translations provided on JWBulletin.com are for information purposes only and are sourced from automated translation services.  These are not checked for accuracy.  To ensure accuracy, please refer to the original language text.

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