Maria Ohisalo (the Green Party), the Minister of the Interior
In his written request (KK 229/2019), MP Tavio (the Finns Party) was concerned about the persecution of Christians, particularly in African and Islamic countries, and suggested that the government should give priority to Christian asylum seekers and quota refugees and review its development cooperation taking into account the situation of Christians and freedom of religion in developing partner countries. In her response, the Minister of the Interior, Maria Ohisalo (the Green Party) noted that the right to asylum is guaranteed in Article 14 of the UDHR and Article 18 of the Charter. The national asylum process is a part of the common European asylum system, and Finland has a duty to respect, e.g., the principle of non-refoulement as provided for in international human rights treaties, the Constitution Act and the Aliens Act. She pointed out that the processing of an asylum application is based on an individual and impartial assessment. All applicants are in an equal position, and no application can be prioritized on grounds of the reason for persecution. Quota refugees cannot be selected based on their religion only. Finland’s development cooperation strives to promote human rights and to support partner countries in their development. Such cooperation cannot be directed at supporting the needs of one religious group only.