Annual Winter Course on Forced Migration, 2006

Short Term Visiting Fellowship


Priyanka Mathur Velath and Nanda Kishor
PhD. Students in Jwaharlal Nehru University and Hyderabad Central University respectively. They won the Junior Research Fellowships designated for South Asian candidates and traveled to Tampere, where they were hosted in TAPRI for a week.

Their Visiting Report  

Our short term Junior Research Fellowship was part of the Indo-Finnish exchange segment in the Winter Course on Forced Migration 2006 and co-operation between the Department of political science and International Relations of the University of Tampere, Tampere Peace Research Institute (TAPRI) and the Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group. We visited Tampere, Finland for a week to gain an insight into migration issues in Finland and would like to first thank all the members of TAPRI for their warm hospitality specially Prof Tarja Vyrynen. Our special thanks also to Prof. Jyrki Kakonen, at the Department of International Relations for not just facilitating our stay but also for spending his valuable time engaging in a discussion with us on globalisation and its impact on migration and refugee laws at large. We visited the Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers at Pohjolankatu in Tampere which provides services to around 200 asylum seekers and is one of the 13 reception centres in Finland. Along with discussions with other staff members we also conducted a detailed interview of the senior counselor there, a man of Sri Lankan origin who himself had been an asylum seeker in Finland 13 years ago and had just been granted Finnish citizenship. The talks enriched our understanding of not just the state of asylum policies in Finland but also illuminated a whole range of issues like, from where the whole process of asylum seeking begins, who is directly responsible for it, different countries people seeking asylum, the official data, the mechanism in giving asylum and security issues involving refugees. A tour of the building also showed us first hand how some Somalian asylum-seeking families were living.

We both also presented papers on our ongoing doctoral researches on the rights of development-induced displaced persons in India and on displacement of Urban settlers by development projects respectively. We received valuable comments and suggestions by all the members of TAPRI and would particularly like to thank Helena Rytuvuori-Apunen, Unto Vesa, Tuomo Melasuo for engaging in discussions with us and widening our perspectives and particularly Eeva Puumala, our local host. The experience of not just living in a European country but also witnessing and analyzing Refugee Laws and policies firsthand has been indispensable and most memorable for us.