Racial Violence will not be Tolerated!

Our international COST Network ‘Decolonising Development’ has been shocked and appalled to learn about the racist attack by Finnish security forces on the son of our friend, colleague and network member Dr. Faith Mkwesha in Helsinki, Finland, on 4th July 2020. The attack has been followed by the unlawful interrogation of her son, a minor, by the police, without parents or legal support. Having publicised this unjust, racist and unlawful treatment through her social media (FB , twitter and instagram) accounts, documented through photos and videos of the violence sent to her by witnesses, Dr Faith Mkwesha is now confronted by the police with the accusation of slander. Not only is the expression of sorrow and pain a human right, and a natural act for a mother whose son has been affected by deep trauma, the documentation also gives clear proof and evidence of the unlawful racist treatment her son had to suffer.

As a network of scholars and activists strongly committed to anti-racist action we condemn the treatment of our colleague and her teenage son and demand the following: 

  1. We demand the police withdraw the accusation of slander and cease to engage in discriminatory racial treatment of black residents, some of them minors, in Finland. Racial violence is growing in Finland, and behaviours of this kind from security officers cannot be tolerated. 
  2. We demand the Finnish government express a public statement in solidarity with Dr. Faith Mkwesha and to recognize and condemn the excessive use of force and violence, especially against vulnerable people, such as people of colour and adolescents.
  3. We demand socio-economic reparations, including legal costs and psychological services support for Dr Mkwesha, her son and family to be covered by the Finnish Government. 

As a network of European based scholars, we ask for your solidarity to show support by sharing this statement among your networks. 

You can pressure the Finnish Government to take action by using these hashtags: #finnishpolice #BLM #blacklivesmatter #blacklivesmatterFinland #protectblackchildrentoo #solidaritywithFaith

You can contribute to this crowdfunding to support the covering of legal fees.

Prof Wendy Harcourt, Dr Rosalba Icaza Garza, Dr Paola Minoia, Prof Lata Narayanaswamy, Dr Julia Schöneberg, Dr Juan Telleria, on behalf of the COST Action DecolDEV Core Group

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