Responding to the Global Detention Project’s Covid-19 survey, the deputy director of the Joutseno Reception Centre reported that no moratorium on new immigration detention orders had been established in the country. The administration said that new detention orders have been issued during the Covid-19 crisis period but that the number of detainees has been lower than usual as the police and border guard have considered it unfeasible to detain individuals whose deportations is hindered due to the lack of flight connections.
According to the deputy director, no detainees have been released solely due to the pandemic, but several detainees have been released from detention as their deportations have become temporarily impossible due to unavailable flights connections to countries of origin. Released detainees have been encouraged to follow the national guidelines regarding anti-pandemic measures. The deputy director indicated that “alternatives to detention” (ATD) measures are used alongside detention in normal circumstances and that this had been the case during the Covid-19 crisis as well, but that no specific ATD program to release detainees has been put in place during this period.
Police and the border guard service have been cautious in transferring individuals showing any symptoms of respiratory illness or fever into detention units. So far, neither of the detention units in Finland (Joutseno and Metsälä) have had any Covid-19 cases. Detainees showing the slightest signs of symptoms connected to Covid-19 are tested for the virus. However, mass testing has not been necessary.
- Deputy Director of the Joutseno Reception Centre (Finnish Immigration Service), Global Detention Project’s Covid-19 survey, 11 August 2020.
- Global Detention Project, Immigration Detention in Finland, August 2018, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/europe/finland
- Metsälä Detention Centre, Helsinki, Finland, (Otto Karvonen, “Alien Palace Birdhouse Collection,” accessed on 13 August 2020, https://ottokarvonen.com/2018/04/16/alien-palace-birdhouse-collection/)