The Future of Refugee Protection and Community Relations in Finland – seminar 1.12.2017


We welcome you warmly to join a seminar on the future of refugee protection and community relations in Finland. The seminar is organized at the University of Tampere on Friday 1st December, 12-17 o’clock. The venue is lecture hall PinniB 1100.

Since 2015 refugee protection, asylum policy, the situation of the undocumented, forced returns and social polarisation have emerged as recurrent topics in the Finnish public and political debates. Societal developments and discourses affect people’s lives and their feelings of security and belonging in many ways. This became blatantly clear after the Turku attack, 18th August 2017. The position and rights of asylum seekers, both those in the process and those with a final negative decision, have become topics of heated debate. Besides newcomers in the society, these debates are reflected also on people who have received a refugee status, or who might have formal citizenship.

The seminar responds to a need to create a space to discuss what is happening in the field of refugee protection and how these developments affect not only individual lives, but also community relations. To explore the connections between these spheres, the seminar brings migrants, asylum seekers and refugees together with decision-makers, professionals and experts on integration and human rights. The talks and commentaries offer insight into how asylum seekers, refugees and migrants claim their place in society. The final session of the seminar addresses the human rights effects of current developments and sheds light on Finnish asylum policy from a human rights perspective.

Please find the detailed program of the seminar below or download it here.

The seminar is free of charge, coffee included. However, due to the limited number of seats and the coffee service, we ask you to register for the seminar by 28th November.  Registration is done by filling in the form. Link here.

The invitation can be distributed forward.

Dwellers in Agile Cities (DAC) is a project funded by the Academy of Finland Strategic Research Council. The seminar has been planned in collaboration with participants in the Mun Kaupunki process where researchers of the DAC project have worked together with young adults with a migrant background to understand what kind of processes, practices and policies affect people’s sense of place and belonging. The aim of the Mun Kaupunki process is to find ways in which the voices of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees could be considered in fulfilling their welfare needs and desires for inclusion in society.

For more information of the seminar, please contact Eeva Puumala,

Seminar program

12.00-12.15 Opening words
Professor Liisa Häikiö

12.15-13.30 Tampere kaikille? – films and photos by young asylum seekers on their lives in Tampere
Panelists: Rajkumar Sabanadesan (leadership coach), Juhana Suoniemi (member of the Tampere city council), Ahmed Ramzi (Mun Kaupunki -project), Selene Gama (Mun Kaupunki -project)

Chairs: Henna Luoma-Halkola (University of Tampere) and Jarkko Salminen (University of Tampere)

13.30-14.30 Session 1: Refugees and asylum seekers as a part of the Finnish society

Psychiatrist Tapio Halla (Psychiatric policlinic for immigrants, City of Tampere)
“Traumatised refugees and daily functioning”

Project Coordinator Mia Luhtasaari (TRUST Project, Ministry of Justice)
“The official safety discourse’s effects on good relations and attitudes towards immigration”

Chair: Anna-Kaisa Kuusisto (University of Tampere)
Commentator: Ali Amer Hasan (Mun Kaupunki -project)

14.30-15.00 Coffee break

15.00-16.00 Session 2: Human rights, asylum policy and refugee protection

Senior Officer Heidi Lempiö (The Office of the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman)
“Human Rights approach to Refugee Protection and Asylum Policy”

Expert in refugee issues Kaisa Väkiparta (Amnesty International)
“Asylum seekers’ human rights: do they exist in Finland?”

Chair: Eeva Puumala (University of Tampere)
Commentator: Imran Adan (Mun Kaupunki -project)

16.00-16.45 Discussion: towards sustainable policies and good community relations?
Chair: Liisa Häikiö (University of Tampere)

16:45-17:00 Closing words