Global Independent Analytics

Finland and Russia Temporarily Close Border to Migrants

Due to restrictions, only Finnish, Russian and Belarusian citizens will be allowed to cross the Arctic border between two countries for 180 days

Mark Rivett-Carnac for Time reports:

Finland and Russia agreed Tuesday to tighter restrictions at two Arctic border crossings as an increasing number of asylum seekers try entering the E.U. through the Nordic state. “The aim of this restriction is to prevent organized illegal immigration,” the Finnish President’s office said in a statement.

The 833-mile Arctic border was an alternative for those refugees and migrants who have been seeking entrance to the EU. More than 1,000 immigrants have entered Finland through Russia in the first two months of 2016: the refugees began using this route as the South passages became increasingly restricted as the weather warmed.

“As Moscow and Helsinki announced the new restrictions, the U.N.’s refugee agency rebuked a deal between the E.U. and Turkey designed to stem the flow of asylum seekers into Greece. The agency said the recent agreement has turned Greek reception centers into “detention facilities,” according to a Tuesday statement. “UNHCR is not a party to the E.U.-Turkey deal, nor will we be involved in returns or detention,” the statement read,” continues Rivett-Carnac.

The recent agreement that was concluded between Turkey and the EU implies sending back those immigrants arrived in Greece from Turkey who do not qualify for asylum. However, the U.N. refugee agency stated: “At present, Greece does not have sufficient capacity on the islands for assessing asylum claims, nor the proper conditions to accommodate people decently and safely pending an examination of their cases.”

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

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