Under the EU relocation programme which began on Wednesday Finland will take more than 3,000 asylum seekers over a two-year period.




The Finnish Immigration Service would not reveal where in Finland the 50 Eritrean refugees, predominantly young men, who arrived on Wednesday will be housed.


“Owing to policing concerns, it has been requested that we not provide information on the exact location where these asylum seekers will be housed or the exact schedules of the transfers,” said Kaj Swanljung, Project Manager with the Immigration Service.


“High need for protection”


Eritrea is one of the world’s most secretive and poorest states, where the regime has been accused of a range of human rights violations. Every month about 5,000 people flee the country, with arbitrary imprisonment and indefinite military service among the most common reasons for leaving.


Swanljung said that although this group of asylum seekers does have a high need for protection they will all go through the same channels as other asylum seekers.


“These people will neither automatically be granted refugee status nor given international protection; each case will be handled individually and according to normal procedures,” said Swanljung.


The East African country of Eritrea has been governed by a dictatorship for 22 years, and has not held democratic elections since gaining independence from Ethiopia in 1993.


Finland’s share


EU member states decided earlier this year to accept 160,000 refugees in total. Finland’s share will be 3,200 refugees over two years. The details of around 2,000 asylum seekers to arrive in Finland via Italy and Greece have already been agreed upon. The rest will be decided upon at a later date.


The 50 Eritreans on Wednesday’s flight to Finland are predominantly young men, who arrived in Italy a few days ago. On the same flight from Italy to Finland was a group of Syrian asylum seekers headed for Sweden.