The security situation in Afghanistan is constantly monitored
The Finnish Immigration Service is closely monitoring the security situation in Afghanistan.
The security situation has deteriorated especially in Ghazni after the Taliban launched an offensive in the province in April. The province of Ghazni has about 1.3 million inhabitants and consists of 19 districts. Because the security situation varies also within provinces, the Finnish Immigration Service monitors the situation on district level. At the moment, the level of violence is high in some parts of Ghazni. Some districts in Ghazni are controlled by government security forces.
The Finnish Immigration Service estimates that the security situation has also deteriorated in the province of Faryab during the spring and summer.
When applications from asylum seekers coming from these regions are decided, the agency takes into account the varying security situation in the country. Up-to-date country information is always used when making asylum decisions, and the agency is constantly assessing the situation in Afghanistan.
No one is returned to areas where the threat of violence is extreme
The Finnish Immigration Service emphasises in its directions that the security situation in Afghanistan may change quickly. That is also why the agency’s assessment is always based on what the situation in a certain region is like at the time when the application is decided.
In practice, the level of violence in conflict zones is evaluated on a scale from low to extremely high. Factors that are taken into account include the number of civilian victims, the nature and intensity of the conflict, the number of people forced to flee within the country and the geographical spread of the conflict.
When the level of violence is estimated to be extreme in a certain area, everyone is considered to be in danger in that area. In this case, a person can be granted subsidiary protection in Finland on the basis of his or her place of residence. There are several areas in Afghanistan to which no one is required to return (see our press release from 3 August 2018).
Asylum seekers are always granted international protection if they are at risk of personal persecution or serious harm everywhere in their home country.
The lower the nature of the conflict in an applicant’s home region is, the more emphasis is put on the applicant’s individual grounds for international protection. As the level of violence in areas such as Ghazni is high, the situation in the applicant’s home region is deemed central to the decision.
Decision-making is also guided by court decisions
In decisions involving Kabul, the Finnish Immigration Service follows a precedent given by the Finnish Supreme Administrative Court in June 2018. The court stated that the security situation in Kabul is not such that everyone returning to the town would be at risk of being subjected to armed violence. However, the situation in Kabul, too, is constantly monitored.
The Finnish Immigration Service applies the Aliens Act in accordance with the decisions of the Supreme Administrative Court and other binding judicial practice.
If an applicant’s situation or the situation in his or her home country changes during the appeal process, the Administrative Court takes the current situation into account in its assessment. In Finland, the police is responsible for returning applicants whose application is refused to their home countries.
Further information for the media
Juho Repo, Head of Section at the Asylum Unit, tel. 0295 430 431, email: firstname.lastname@example.org