Ulkoministeriö / Utrikesministeriet

MFA: Family from al-Hol camp to Finland

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A mother together with her children aged under 10 have returned to Finland from Turkey. The family was previously interned in the al-Hol camp in Syria.

The family had fled to Turkey, and Finnish authorities have assisted them in Turkey in compliance with Finnish legislation. The family have been granted travel documents at the Finnish Embassy in Ankara and their return to Finland has been arranged in cooperation with the Turkish authorities. Under the Constitution, all Finnish citizens have the right to return to Finland. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Finnish embassies abroad are responsible for providing such essential official services as travel documents to enable return to Finland.

The competent authorities in Finland had made arrangements, which are based on an established cooperation model between the domestic authorities, for the reception of the family that had left the camp. In all official activities, priority has been given to the best interests of the child. To ensure the privacy and security of the children, detailed information will not be published.

Public authorities have a constitutional obligation to repatriate the children in the camp, insofar as this is possible. In accordance with this obligation, a resolution on the repatriation of Finnish children from the al-Hol camp was issued by the Finnish Government on 19 December 2019. The Finnish authorities, under the leadership of the Foreign Minister's Special Representative, will continue their work to help the Finnish children who are still staying in the camp to get to Finland.

The conditions in the al-Hol camp continue to be unbearable for children. It is difficult to get access to essential healthcare services. In the camp, children cannot go to school. The camp offers no prospects for the future and the growth environment is characterised by a radical ideology. To ensure the security and the best interests of everybody, it is important to get the children away from the camp as soon as possible. 

Inquiries: Ministry for Foreign Affairs/Unit for Communications on Current Affairs Pekka Shemeikka, Counsellor, tel. +358 50 311 2361.

The email addresses of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are in the format firstname.lastname@formin.fi

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