11 Dec 2023 14:56

CoE concerned about closure of Finnish-Russian border

HELSINKI. Dec 11 (Interfax) - Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic has expressed concern about Finland's breach of the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants by the temporary closure of the Finnish-Russian border.

"It is crucial that Council of Europe member states, even when dealing with challenging situations at their borders, react in a manner that fully aligns with their human rights obligations," Mijatovic said in a letter to Finnish Interior Minister Mari Rantanen, as reported by the Yle broadcaster on Monday.

That is noted, in particular, in a resolution adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 2021, Mijatovic said.

"The actions of another state, as reprehensible as they may be, do not negate Finland's obligations under international refugee and human rights law," the letter said.

The rights of refugees include non-refoulement, the protection of the right to life, the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment, and the prohibition of collective expulsions, Mijatovic said.

The Finnish government decided in November that all eight checkpoints should close at the eastern border under the alleged pretext of Russia's massive admission of immigrants from third countries to the Finnish border.

Only the Vainikkala railroad station at the Finnish-Russian border remains open for traffic.