Monitoring removal from the country
One of the duties of the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman as an external and independent authority is to monitor the removal from the country of foreigners being deported or refused entry. The monitoring obligation is based on the EU Directive on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals, according to which the Member States must provide for an effective forced-return monitoring system. In Finland, the duty has been assigned to the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman in the Aliens Act.
The legislation grants the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman the authority to monitor the enforcement of all removals from the country. The central focus of monitoring is on forced returns, during which the police escort the person being returned. The monitoring is focused on the forced return of persons in a vulnerable position as well as forced return to challenging destination countries (such as Afghanistan and Iraq), in addition to forced returns with a heightened risk of use of force.
In practice, the scope of monitoring work may vary from covering all stages of removal from the country to focusing on only one part of the process. The monitor has access to all premises and situations during a forced return. The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman does not have the authority to interrupt a forced return, interfere with the enforcement of forced return, the use of forcible measures or the time of forced return.
The goal of monitoring removal from the country is to develop the forced-return process so that the activity is humane and respects human rights. In fact, the core of the monitoring by the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman involves assessing the enforcement of forced returns from the point of view of basic and human rights.