A Syrian mother released from prison in St. Petersburg and her four-year-old daughter who was being housed in a Russian orphanage have filed a visa application to enter Finland.
The mother was reported to have been released from prison on Thursday and filed the application at the Consulate General of Finland in St. Petersburg on Friday. The four-year-old daughter, whose situation has triggered a nationwide debate on Finland’s refugee policy, has been reunited with her mother.
The mother and daughter fled the conflict in their homeland and had been attempting to make their way to Finland, where they have a relative who is a resident, when they were detained in Russia.
The Finnish Aliens Act states that the mother and daughter would not be eligible to enter Finland because they were in Russia illegally. But Finnish officials have said they evaluate each case individually in accordance with international treaties like the UN’s convention on children’s rights. Immigration laws in Finland also state that authorities should consider a child’s best interests.
A group of MPs urged Interior Minister Paivi Rasanen to take action. The pair’s application was likely to be processed last week.