Secrecy is statutory and protects asylum seekers’ safety
The police have stated that the persons who harmed themselves on Friday in front of the Parliament House are asylum seekers. The persons have personally revealed more about their background in the media.
The information presented in public does not always, however, provide a full picture of the situation. In spite of this, the authorities cannot breach statutory secrecy which is based on the Act on the Openness of Government Activities and the Act on the Register of Aliens. The purpose of secrecy is to protect asylum seekers, not to conceal information under any circumstances.
An applicant may for example personally choose to reveal a decision made by an authority, and the grounds of the decision. However, the fact that the persons in question have made the matter public does not release the authorities from their obligation of secrecy.
Self-injury is always taken seriously
It is sad when any person ends up harming himself or herself. However, public officials cannot discuss individuals’ actions in the media.
On a general level it is possible to say that such actions may be linked to reasons that are outside the influence of the Finnish Immigration Service or the reception centres. Asylum seekers receive help and support at the reception centres and are directed to receive external help, if necessary. The reception centres have for example received instructions on how to act when there is a heightened risk of suicide or after someone has self-harmed. Reception centre employees have been trained in psychological first aid.
Sexual orientation may constitute grounds for asylum
The asylum seekers have told the media that they have applied for asylum on the grounds of their sexual orientation. On a general level it can be said that this may provide grounds for granting international protection. No one should be demanded to hide his or her sexual orientation from the authorities of his or her home country in order to stay safe. Information about how the Finnish Immigration Service investigates belonging to a sexual or gender minority.
Further information for the media:
Juha Similä, Head of Section, Asylum Unit, tel. 0295 430 431, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pekka Nuutinen, Director of Reception Unit, tel. 0295 430 431, e-mail: email@example.com