Newly appointed Finance Minister of Finland Katri Kulmuni publicly apologized for arranging a poll on her Instagram account, asking her followers whether Finnish women from Syrian refugee camps allegedly housing individuals associated with the Islamic State should be allowed to return home from Syria, or just their children.The NGO Human Rights Watch condemned the action by the Finnish minister, causing her to delete the Instagram post which polled whether her followers backed repatriating “children only” or “children and mothers” from the al-Hol camp in a part of Syria held by Kurds. Kulmuni’s Centre Party opposes letting the mothers return to Finland. “Seriously, Finland? This is awful, if true,” Andrew Stroehlein, the European media director of international watchdog HRW, wrote on Twitter. “A state should respect the rights of its citizens in all cases, not put life-and-death decisions about those citizens to a public referendum on social media. What’s next, public hangings based on the volume of stadium cheers?” Kulmuni, the Centre Party’s chief, became finance minister only this week, and posted the informal poll just days following her promotion from Minister of Economic Affairs to replacing Mika Lintilä as finance minister after the newly elected Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin, was sworn into office.“My aim to have a discussion on social media about a complicated topic failed. I apologize for the poll,” Kulmuni tweeted on Friday. “My IG [Instagram] poll aroused condemnation, it has been removed. The style was unsuccessful.” Marin, 34, from the Social Democrats Party, became the Nordic country’s leader and the youngest prime minister in the world on Tuesday. With her election she brought with her a young female-led government - whose Cabinet of 19 ministers includes 13 women.The appointment of a youthful woman to lead the country has been seized on by media around the globe, many of them seeing in her a “role model” for others living in societies where politics have long been dominated by older men.The criticism of the poll was all the more embarrassing as the new prime minister, Sanna Marin, said on Wednesday she would not alter her social media behavior but would be careful in what she posted.Marin, a Social Democrat, said on Wednesday the government had given its “silent blessing” for the foreign ministry to go ahead with a plan to repatriate the children.But the children cannot be repatriated without their mothers because the Syrian Kurdish forces oppose separating the children and their mothers, Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said. Finland claims that it is trying to send supplies of food and medicine to the Finnish citizens being held there, but are not actively advocating for the return of any of these expatriates."A number of people have returned and possibly will return on their own initiative as under Finnish law Finnish citizens or persons with a residence permit cannot be prevented from returning to Finland," a Ministry for Foreign Affairs said. "Finnish citizens always have the right to return. However, Finnish government does not take active measures to help them return to Finland."Adding, "A number of people have traveled from Finland to the conflict zones in Syria and Iraq since 2012 and, to date, 20 people have returned."Finland is one of many EU countries trying to decide what to do about their citizens, with 11 Finnish women and more than 30 children held at al-Hol - the government faces questioning in parliament on the issue on Tuesday.The Centre Party has been alarmed by the rise in polls of the nationalist Finns Party, which says repatriating Islamic State detainees could endanger Finland’s security. In contrast to the nationalist views of the Finns Party, the foreign ministry stated that "currently a number of countries reflect on what measures to take with regard to the children and women who are in a camp in Syria. Finland considers it highly important that children’s rights are respected and children are helped with all available means."Reuters contributed to this report.