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Parish did not hide asylym seeker

"The Church as a Refuge" publication is not of a binding nature

27.11.2008

Deputy-Ombudsman Jukka Lindstedt takes the view that the Parish Council and Vicar of the Mikaelinseurakunta (Parish of St. Michael) in Turku did not act in contravention of their official duty when, in 2007, the parish provided a woman from Iran with support and accommodation. The woman's application for asylum had been refused.

The parish based its action on the Finnish Ecumenical Council's publication "The Church as a Refuge", which it regarded as binding on the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. The woman was the first person to seek refuge from the church after the guide booklet had been published.

However, it was pointed out in other statements received that the publication was not binding in nature. Deputy-Ombudsman Lindstedt concurred with this view.

The Deputy-Ombudsman found on the basis of reports that the asylum seeker had not been hidden, but that instead the matter had been dealt with openly and in accordance with the spirit of the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires authorities to assist each other and strive to promote inter-authority cooperation. Thus no improper procedure had been followed in the matter.

Additional information will be provided by Senior Legal Adviser Henrik Åström, tel. + 358(0)9 432 3347.