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Finnish PM urges parliament not to water down controversial deportation bill

 Finland's Prime Minister Petteri Orpo listens during a news conference in Helsinki, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023.
Finland's Prime Minister Petteri Orpo listens during a news conference in Helsinki, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023. Copyright Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva
Copyright Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva
By Euronews with EVN
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If passed into law, the legislation would allow Finnish border authorities to refuse to accept asylum applications in certain circumstances.

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Finland's Prime Minister Petteri Orpo on Monday urged parliament not to weaken a deportation bill that would allow Finnish border authorities to refuse to accept asylum applications in certain circumstances.

The government is trying to pass the measure in response to what it says is a surge in asylum seekers trying to cross the country's 1,340-kilometre border with Russia.

"The law that we passed can of course be modified here in parliament, but not watered down. It doesn't make sense to create an emergency law that doesn't work" said Orpo.

"From my perspective as Prime Minister, my stance is that Finland needs this law. And I hope that the Parliament will now find such solutions that we can secure the 5/6 majority, and after that, we can feel more secure " added Orpo.

The extraordinary law would be in effect for a year if passed. It requires the backing of five-sixths of MPs, or at least 167 out of 200.

MPs are expected to vote on the bill before the parliament's July vacation holiday.

Human rights concerns over the draft law

Finland has kept the Russian border closed since December due to the mass arrival of undocumented migrants, which Finnish officials say is in fact part of a hybrid influence operation orchestrated from Moscow.

However, some experts have said the deportation law may violate international obligations on non-refoulement and human rights.

More than 200 researchers from universities across Finland and abroad have signed a petition calling on the Finnish parliament to dismiss the draft law, and pointing out that the number of asylum seekers in Finland last year was within the average range.

Michael O'Flaherty, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, said the legislation "raises a number of significant human rights concerns", and urged Finnish lawmakers to reject it.

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