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Daily: Youths sent to Somalia against their will

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Children with Finnish citizenship or with Finnish residence permits are being sent to Somalia to live against their will, reports the mainstream daily Helsingin Sanomat. The cases generally involve teens or young adults.

The Finnish embassy in Ethiopia receives several young adults from neighbouring Somalia every year, who either have Finnish citizenship, or Finnish residence visas, according to Helsingin Sanomat. The young people want to return to Finland.

The daily reports that the cases usually involve teens or young people on the cusp of adulthood. In many cases their parents had placed them in the care of relatives; however in Somalia they do not have ready access to health care or schooling.

According to Helsingin Sanomat, in 2010 research by the League for Human Rights showed that at least 40 children with immigrant backgrounds had been taken from Finland to their parents’ homelands.

About ten years ago a report by the National Bureau of Investigation showed that nearly 150 Somali children had disappeared from Finland and that at least one-third of them had been taken to Somalia or neighbouring countries.

Officials do not know how many children leave Finland and stay in Somalia voluntarily.

Helsingin Sanomat reports that the Finnish embassy in Ethiopia occasionally receives requests to contact children taken to Somalia, but officials are not able to travel to Somalia because of the violence.


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