Zimbabwean asylum seeker faces deportation from Finland

HELSINKI, FINLAND – The Finish police is preparing to deport a Zimbabwean man who has applied for asylum in Finland three times. A demonstration in support of the man is being staged in Helsinki on Wednesday by Seta, the Free Movement network, and Amnesty International.

The Zimbabwean man had applied for asylum on the basis of persecution in his home country because of his sexual orientation. At the moment the man is being held in the Metsälä reception centre for asylum seekers in Helsinki.

The man first arrived to study in Finland in 2002. He applied for asylum the following year.

According to the Free Movement network, the man has stayed in Finland illegally because he is very afraid of returning to Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe’s government is openly hostile towards homosexuals.

The Free Movement network says that the Finnish Immigration Service has gone against international human rights in failing to grant asylum to the man. Seta, the Finnish non-governmental organisation campaigning for rights of sexual minorities, claims that authorities have little awareness of the distress suffered by members of sexual and gender minorities.