According to Antti Lehtinen, Director of the Asylum Unit at Finland’s immigration agency, the Finnish Immigration Service is granting asylum to Afghan women and girls on the basis of “gender alone“.
The Finnish Immigration Service has decided, following Denmark and Sweden, to grant asylum to female applicants from Afghanistan, updating its guidelines in line with the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) report which advised member states that, given the circumstances, women from Afghanistan were eligible for asylum.
In response to the Taliban’s growing restrictions on women’s rights, the Finnish Immigration Service has decided to grant asylum for Afghan women and girls considering “gender alone” as sufficient grounds for asylum, Director of Asylum Unit at the Finland’s immigration agency, Antti Lehtinen, said to Helsingi Times.
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However, the Finnish Immigration Service’s new policy has been criticised by some, arguing that the decision could encourage illegal migration and the exploitation of vulnerable individuals. In response, the Finnish Immigration Service clarified that no Afghans had been removed from the country since July 2021. Additionally, in 2022, a total of 511 Afghans were granted asylum in Finland.
According to Helsinki Times, the Finnish government’s new asylum guidelines will also consider Hazara asylum applicants based on their exposure to attacks by the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP).
Since the Taliban’s return to power in August 2021 and the resulting economic and humanitarian crises, more than a million people have fled Afghanistan in search of sanctuary both within the region and beyond.