4th Jul 2022

Belgium rejects Finnish asylum seeker's application

Belgium has refused to grant political asylum to a Finnish citizen, who had refused to take part in Finnish military service.

The Raad van State, the highest administrative court of Belgium, rejected the appeal of Jussi Hermaja, by saying that the asylum procedure should not be taken up once again.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Belgium refused to grant political asylum to a Finnish citizen (Photo: European Commission)

The Belgian Commissioner General for Refugees had previously also rejected Mr Hermaja's asylum application, stating that the Finnish law is neither discriminatory nor punitive, and that the length of civilian national service is not unreasonably long, writes Helsingin Sanomat.

Mr Hermaja refused to take part in both the military service and the alternative civilian service in Finland - citing pacifist beliefs - and was sentenced to 197 days in prison.

The Finn then started a legal process to seek asylum in Belgium, as there is no military service there and its legislation recognizes EU-citizens as possible asylum seekers.

"To admit that there are problems of human rights abuses in another EU member state puts the whole of the European Union in a difficult position", says Hermaja's press release.

"The EU likes to present itself as a promoter of human rights around the world. This is another possible reason for the negative decision in this case".

The Finnish authorities will now have to decide whether to ask Belgium for his extradition. Mr Hermaja has also appealed against his prison sentence by the Finnish state to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Pegasus spyware makers grilled by MEPs

"We will not continue to work with a customer that is targeting a journalist illegally," Chaim Gelfand, chief compliance officer of NSO Group told MEPs — but shed little light on EU governments' use of its Pegasus spyware.


Romania — latest EU hotspot in backlash against LGBT rights

Romania isn't the only country portraying lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people as a threat to children. From Poland and Hungary in EU, to reactionary movements around the world are prohibiting portrayals of LGBT people and families in schools.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. Ex-Frontex chief 'uninvited' from parliament committee
  2. Czech presidency and key nuclear/gas vote This WEEK
  3. The human rights aspects of Grenoble's 'burkini' controversy
  4. Council must act on core of EU migration package
  5. Nato's Madrid summit — key takeaways
  6. Czech presidency to fortify EU embrace of Ukraine
  7. Covid-profiting super rich should fight hunger, says UN food chief
  8. EU pollution and cancer — it doesn't have to be this way

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us