Republic of Finland
Suomen tasavalta/Republiken Finland
Joined United Nations: 14 December 1955
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 06 April 2013
5,266,114 (July 2013 est.)
Jyrki Tapani Katainen
Prime Minister since 22 June 2011
President elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a
second term); election last held 5 February 2012
Next scheduled election: February 2018
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
The President appoints the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime
Minister from the majority party or the majority coalition after
parliamentary elections and the parliament must approve the
appointment. Elections last held on 17 April 2011
Next scheduled election: April 2015
|DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Finn 93.4%, Swede 5.6%, Russian 0.5%, Estonian 0.3%, Roma (Gypsy) 0.1%, Sami 0.1% (2006)
Lutheran Church of Finland 82.5%, Orthodox Church 1.1%, other Christian 1.1%, other 0.1%, none 15.1% (2006)
Republic with 6 provinces (laanit, singular - laani)); Legal system is a civil law system based on Swedish law; the president may
request the Supreme Court to review laws; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
Executive: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 5 February 2012
(next to be held in February 2018); the parliament elects a prime minister who is then appointed to office by the president
Legislative: Unicameral Parliament or Eduskunta (200 seats; members are elected by popular vote on a proportional basis to
serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 17 April 2011 (next to be held in April 2015)
Judicial: Supreme Court or Korkein Oikeus (judges appointed by the president)
Finnish 91.2% (official), Swedish 5.5% (official), other 3.3% (small Sami- and Russian-speaking minorities) (2007)
If confirmed, the oldest archeological site in Finland would be the Wolf Cave in Kristinestad, Ostrobothnia. Excavations are
underway and if the so far presented estimates hold true, it would be the only pre-glacial (Neanderthal) site so far found in the
Nordic countries and some 130 000 years old. The earliest traces of modern humans are known from ca. 8500 BCE and are post-
glacial. The people were first probably seasonal hunter-gatherers. Their items are known as the Suomusjärvi culture and the Kunda
culture. Among the finds is the net of Antrea, one of the oldest fishing nets ever excavated (calibrated carbon dating: ca. 8300
BCE). Around 5300 BCE pottery appeared in Finland. The earliest representatives belong to the Comb Ceramic Cultures, known
for their distinctive decorating patterns. This marks the beginning of the neolithic for Finland, although the subsistence was still based
on hunting and fishing. From 3200 BCE onwards either immigrants or a strong cultural influence from south of the Gulf of Finland
settled in southwestern Finland. This culture was a part of the European Battle Axe cultures, which have often been associated with
the movement of Indo-European speakers. The Battle axe and the Comb Ceramic cultures merged giving rise to the Kiukainen
culture which existed between 2300 BCE and 1500 BCE featuring fundamentally a comb ceramic tradition with cord ceramic
characteristics. The Bronze Age began some time after 1500 BCE. The coastal regions of Finland were a part of the Nordic Bronze
Culture, whereas in the inland regions the influences came from the bronze-using cultures of Northern and Eastern Russia. Earliest
findings of imported iron blades and local iron working appear in 500 BCE. From about 50 AD, there are indicators from more
intense long-distance exchange in coastal Finland. Inhabitants exchanged their products, presumably mostly furs, for weapons and
ornaments with the Balts and the Scandinavians as well as with the peoples along the traditional eastern trade routes. In the early
Iron Age Finns appear for the first time in a written document when Tacitus mentions Fenni in his Germania. Contact between
Sweden and what is now Finland was considerable even during pre-Christian times — the Vikings were known to Finns both due
to their participation in commerce and plundering. The Åland Islands probably had Swedish settlement during the Viking Period.
However, some scholars claim that the archipelago was deserted during the 11th century and then re-settled by Swedes during the
12th century. According to the archaeological finds, Christianity gained a foothold in Finland during the 11th century CE. The name
"Finland" signified only the southwestern province that has been known as "Finland Proper" since the 18th century. The concept of a
Finnish "country" in the modern sense developed only slowly during the period of the 15th–18th centuries. During the 13th century
Finland was integrated in medieval European civilization. The Dominican order arrived in Finland around 1249 and came to exercise
huge influence there. In 1362, representatives from Finland were called to participate in the elections of king for Sweden; and this
year is often held to signify the incorporation of what would become Finland into the kingdom of Sweden. During the 1380s a civil
war in the Scandinavian part of Sweden brought unrest to Finland, too. The victor of this struggle was Queen Margaret I of
Denmark, who brought the three Scandinavian kingdoms of Sweden, Denmark and Norway under her rule (the "Kalmar Union") in
1389. The next 130 years or so were characterized by attempts of different Swedish factions to break out of the Union. In 1521 the
Kalmar Union finally collapsed and Gustav Vasa became the King of Sweden. In 1550 Helsinki was founded by Gustav Vasa
under the name of Helsingfors, but remained little more than a fishing village for more than two centuries. The Empire had a colony
in the New World in the modern-day Delaware-Pennsylvania area between 1638–1655. At least half of the immigrants were of
Finnish origin. During the Great Northern War (1700–1721), Finland was occupied by the Russians, and the south-eastern part,
including the important town of Vyborg, was annexed to Russia after the Treaty of Nystad. The border with Russia came to lie
roughly where it returned to after World War II. Both the ascending Russian Empire and pre-revolutionary France aspired to have
Sweden as a client state. The two Russian occupations had been harsh and were not easily forgotten. In 1812, after the Russian
conquest of Finland, "Old Finland" was rejoined to the rest of the country but the landownership question remained a serious
problem until the 1870s. During the Finnish War between Sweden and Russia, Finland was again conquered by the armies of Tsar
Alexander I. The four Estates of occupied Finland were assembled at the Diet of Porvoo on March 29, 1809 to pledge allegiance
to Alexander I of Russia. Following the Swedish defeat in the war and the signing of the Treaty of Fredrikshamn on September 17,
1809, Finland remained an autonomous Grand Duchy in the Russian Empire until the end of 1917, with Karelia ("Old Finland")
handed back to Finland in 1812. In 1906, as a result of the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the associated Finnish general strike of
1905, the old four-chamber Diet was replaced by a unicameral Parliament of Finland (the "Eduskunta"). For the first time in the
world, universal suffrage and eligibility was implemented: Finnish women were the first in the world to gain full eligibility, and
membership of an estate, land ownership or inherited titles were no longer required. The October Revolution turned Finnish politics
upside down. Now the new non-Socialist majority of the Parliament felt a great urge for total independence, and the Socialists came
gradually to view Russia as an example to follow. On November 15, 1917, the Bolsheviks declared a general right of self-
determination, including the right of complete secession, "for the Peoples of Russia". On the same day the Finnish Parliament issued
a declaration by which it assumed, pro tempore, all powers of the Sovereign in Finland. Worried by the development in Russia, and
Finland, the non-Socialist Senate proposed for the parliament to declare Finland's independence, which was agreed on in the
parliament on December 6, 1917. On December 18 (December 31 N. S.) the Soviet government issued a Decree, recognizing
Finland's independence, and on December 22 (January 4, 1918 N. S.) it was approved by the highest Soviet executive body -
VTsIK. Germany and the Scandinavian countries followed without delay. From January to May 1918, Finland experienced the
brief but bitter Finnish Civil War that colored domestic politics and the foreign relations of Finland for many years. During World
War II, Finland fought the Soviet Union twice: she defended herself against the Soviet Union in the Winter War of 1939-1940,
resulting in the loss of Finnish Karelia, and again in the Continuation War of 1941-1944 (with considerable support from Nazi
Germany resulting in a swift invasion of neighboring areas of the Soviet Union), leading also to the loss of Finland's only ice-free
winter harbour Petsamo. The Continuation War was, in accordance with the armistice conditions, immediately followed by the
Lapland War of 1944-1945, when Finland fought the Germans to force them to withdraw from northern Finland back into Norway
(then under German occupation). Finland managed to maintain its independence and democratic constitution, contrary to most other
countries proximate to the Soviet Union. Like other Nordic countries, Finland has liberalized the economy since late 80s. In 1991
Finland fell into a Great Depression-magnitude depression caused by a combination of economic overheating, fixed currency,
depressed Western, Soviet, and local markets. After devaluations the depression bottomed out in 1993. Finland joined the
European Union in 1995. Like most European countries, without further reforms or much higher immigration Finland is expected to
struggle with demographics, even though macroeconomic projections are healthier than in most other developed countries.The GDP
growth rate has since been one of the highest of OECD countries and Finland has topped many indicators of national performance.
Until 1991, President Mauno Koivisto and two of the three major parties, Center Party and the Social Democrats opposed the idea
of European Union membership and preferred entering into the European Economic Area treaty. However, after Sweden had
submitted its membership application in 1991 and the Soviet Union was dissolved at the end of the year, Finland submitted its own
application to the EC in March 1992. The accession process was marked by heavy public debate, where the differences of opinion
did not follow party lines. Officially, all three major parties were supporting the Union membership, but members of all parties
participated in the campaign against the membership. Before the parliamentary decision to join the EU, a consultative referendum
was held on April 16, 1994 in which 56.9% of the votes were in favour of joining. The process of accession was completed on
January 1, 1995, when Finland joined the European Union along with Austria and Sweden. Leading Finland into the EU is held as
the main achievement of the Centrist-Conservative government of Esko Aho then in power. In the economic policy, the EU
membership forced large changes. While politicians were previously involved in setting interest rates, the central bank was given an
inflation-targeting mandate until Finland joined the eurozone. During Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen's two successive governments
1995–2003, several large state companies were privatized fully or partially. Matti Vanhanen's two cabinets followed suit until
autumn 2008, when the state became a major shareholder in the Finnish telecom company Elisa with the intention to secure the
Finnish ownership of a strategically important industry. In addition to fast integration with the European Union, safety against Russian
leverage has been increased by building fully NATO-compatible military. 1000 troops (a high per-capita amount) are simultaneously
committed in NATO and UN operations. Finland has also opposed energy projects that increase dependency on Russian imports.
At the same time, Finland remains one of the last non-NATO members in Europe and there seems to be not enough support for full
membership unless Sweden joins first. The population is aging with the birth rate at 10.42 births/1,000 population or fertility rate at
1.8. With median age at 41.6 years Finland is one of the oldest countries.
Source: Wikipedia: History of Finland
Finland has a highly industrialized, largely free-market economy with per capita output roughly that of Austria, Belgium, the
Netherlands, and Sweden. Trade is important with exports accounting for over one third of GDP in recent years. Finland is strongly
competitive in manufacturing - principally the wood, metals, engineering, telecommunications, and electronics industries. Finland
excels in high-tech exports such as mobile phones. Except for timber and several minerals, Finland depends on imports of raw
materials, energy, and some components for manufactured goods. Because of the climate, agricultural development is limited to
maintaining self-sufficiency in basic products. Forestry, an important export earner, provides a secondary occupation for the rural
population. Finland had been one of the best performing economies within the EU in recent years and its banks and financial
markets avoided the worst of global financial crisis. However, the world slowdown hit exports and domestic demand hard in 2009,
with Finland experiencing one of the deepest contractions in the euro zone. A recovery of exports, domestic trade, and household
consumption stimulated economic growth in 2010-11. The recession affected general government finances and the debt ratio,
turning previously strong budget surpluses into deficits, but Finland has taken action to ensure it will meet EU deficit targets by 2013
and retains its triple-A credit rating. Finland's main challenge in 2013 will be to stimulate growth in the face of weak demand in EU
export markets and government austerity measures meant to reduce its budget deficit. Longer-term, Finland must address a rapidly
aging population and decreasing productivity that threaten competitiveness, fiscal sustainability, and economic growth.
Source: CIA World Factbook (select Finland)
Though Finland has a primarily parliamentary system, the president has some notable powers. The foreign policy is led by the
president, "in co-operation" with the cabinet, and the same applies to matters concerning national security. The main executive
power lies in the cabinet headed by the prime minister. Before the constitutional rewrite, which was completed in 2000, the
president enjoyed more power.
Finns enjoy individual and political freedoms, and suffrage is universal at 18; Finland was the first country to give full eligibility to
women. The country's population is ethnically homogeneous with no sizable immigrant population. Few tensions exist between the
Finnish-speaking majority and the Swedish-speaking minority, although in certain circles there is an unending debate about the status
of the Swedish language. According to Transparency International, Finland has had the lowest level of corruption in all the countries
studied in their survey for the last several years.
The Constitution was rewritten on March 1, 2000 after first being adopted in July 17, 1919. The former constitution consisted of
four constitutional laws and several amendments, which the new constitution replaces. The civil law system is based on Swedish
law. The Supreme Court or korkein oikeus may request legislation that interprets or modifies existing laws. Judges are appointed by
The presidential election was held in Finland in January and February. The first round took place on 22 January 2012 with advance
voting on 11–17 January, and the second round occurred on 5 February with advance voting on 25–31 January. The elected
candidate's term began on 1 March 2012 and will last until 2018. The incumbent Tarja Halonen was ineligible for re-election, having
served the maximum two terms. The election marked an end to an era of Social Democratic presidents. The Social Democrats had
held the office for a continuous period of 30 years. It was also the first time that a Green League candidate was on the runoff ballot.
Source: Wikipedia: Politics of Finland
Various groups in Finland advocate restoration of Karelia and other areas ceded to the Soviet Union, but the Finnish Government
asserts no territorial demands.
|HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
|2011 Human Rights Report: Finland
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
My 25, 2012
The Republic of Finland is a constitutional republic with a directly elected president and a unicameral parliament (Eduskunta). The prime
minister heads a six-party coalition government. Parliamentary elections on April 17 were free and fair. Security forces reported to
While serious abuses were rare, societal discrimination against ethnic minority residents was seen as the country’s most significant
human rights problem. Domestic abuse and other violence against women and children were also a chronic problem. Although the
system for administering justice generally worked well, police at times failed to provide detainees timely access to legal counsel as
required by law.
Other human rights problems during the year included instances of alleged bribery and abuse of trust involving elected officials, and
allegations that local government officials used harsh methods to break up illegal Romani settlements in the country.
The government took steps to prosecute officials suspected of corruption, and there were no reports of impunity during the year.
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31 August 2012
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
6-31 August 2012
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 9 of the convention
Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
2. The Committee welcomes the timely submission by the State party of its twentieth to twenty-second periodic reports drafted in
accordance with the Committee’s revised guidelines for the preparation of reports. The Committee also welcomes the frank, open and
constructive dialogue with the State party as well as its efforts to provide comprehensive responses to issues raised by Committee
members during the dialogue.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee welcomes the various legislative and policy developments which have taken place in the State party to combat racial
(a) Act of the Promotion of Integration (1386/2010) adopted by the Parliament on 30 December 2010, whose scope of application was
extended to cover all immigrants residing in Finland;
(b) Amendments to the Non-Discrimination Act, in 2009;
(c) A new Act on the reception of persons seeking international protection (746/2011) adopted in 2011;
(d)Amendments to the Criminal Code (511/2011) entered into force in June 2011;
Concerns and Recommendations
Demographic composition of the population
7. While noting the explanation provided by the State party with regard to its legislation that precludes the collection of statistical data
based on race or ethnicity, the Committee remains concerned at the absence in the State party’s report of recent reliable and
comprehensive statistical data on the composition of its population including economic and social indicators disaggregated by ethnicity,
including data regarding the Sámi indigenous peoples, other minority groups, an immigrants living in the territory of the State-Party.
In accordance with paragraphs 10 to 12 of its revised reporting guidelines (CERD/C/2007/1), and recalling its General Recommendation
4 (1973) on demographic composition of the population, the Committee reiterates its previous recommendation that the State party
collect and provide the Committee with reliable and comprehensive statistical data on the ethnic composition of its population and
economic and social indicators disaggregated by ethnicity and gender, including data on Sámi indigenous peoples, other minority groups,
and immigrants, in order to enable the Committee to evaluate the enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of
various groups of its population .
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Freedom In The World 2012 Report
Political Rights Score: 1
Civil Liberties Score: 1
In April 2011 parliamentary elections, the True Finns—a nationalist, populist party led by Timo Soini—captured an unprecedented 19
percent of the popular vote, but was eventually excluded from the six-party coalition government. The elections attracted international
attention due to the True Finns’ fierce opposition to European Union economic bailouts for Portugal and Greece. Immigration remained a
politically sensitive topic during the year, and Finland made its first arrest in an anti-terrorism case in September.
In February 2010, the National Bureau of Investigation began investigating accusations of malfeasance against Vanhanen over his
involvement in the distribution of government funds to a nongovernmental organization that had supported his 2006 campaign. The prime
minister announced his resignation in June, but cited medical and family issues for his departure. On June 22, the Finnish parliament
appointed Center Party leader Mari Kiviniemi as Vanhanen’s replacement until the April 2011 elections. In February 2011, parliament
voted to drop the charges of malfeasance against Vanhanen, and decided that he would not have to face a court of impeachment.
The April 2011 parliamentary elections resulted in a dramatic shift in Finnish politics. Most significantly, the populist, nationalist party
True Finns, led by Timo Soini, gained an unprecedented 19 percent of the popular vote, increasing their seats from 5 to 39, making them
the third largest party. The ruling Center Party was ousted with a loss of 16 seats (down from 51), representing the biggest loss of any
party in post-war Finland. Every other party in parliament but the True Finns experienced either a loss or maintained their number of
seats, with left-leaning parties continuing to receive less support. The elections attracted an unusual amount of international attention due
to the very vocal opposition to eurozone bailouts from the vehemently, euro-skeptic True Finns. Finland is the only country in the EU
that has reserved the right to put any bailout to parliamentary vote.
After two months of tense negotiations, a coalition government was formed in June 2011, comprised of the KOK, led by Prime Minister
Jyrki Katainen, along with the SDP, the Left Alliance, the Green League, the Swedish People’s Party, and the Christian Democrats. The
True Finns withdrew from coalition talks in May when Parliament approved the bailout package for Portugal.
Finland is an electoral democracy. The president, whose role is mainly ceremonial, is directly elected for a six-year term. The president
appoints the prime minister and deputy prime minister from the majority party or coalition after elections; the selection must be approved
by Parliament. Representatives in the 200-seat unicameral Parliament, or Eduskunta, are elected to four-year terms. The Åland Islands—
an autonomous region located off the southwestern coast whose inhabitants speak Swedish—have their own 30-seat Parliament, as well
as a seat in the national legislature. The indigenous Saami of northern Finland also have their own legislature.
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Finland: Limited inquiries into rendition programme fail to meet obligation of investigation under international human rights
19 September 2012
Human Rights Council adopts Universal Periodic Review outcome on Finland
Amnesty International welcomes Finland’s support for recommendations to combat violence against women and girls and to protect and
promote the rights of LGBT individuals. Amnesty International also welcomes that Finland engaged with civil society throughout the
UPR process, including by arranging hearings and other events for civil society. However, Amnesty International is dismayed by Finland’
s response to the recommendation that it investigate its participation in the CIA rendition programme.
The authorities claim that they first investigated allegations of Finnish complicity in the rendition programme in 2005, and more recently
conducted an “investigation” in 2011-2012. However, inquiries by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2011 and 2012 to some government
agencies and to the US authorities do not qualify as the independent, impartial, thorough and effective investigation into human rights
violations -- such as enforced disappearance and torture -- that is legally required by Finland according to its international human rights
obligations and that is emphasized in a new report adopted by the European Parliament on 11 September 2012.
In October 2011, Amnesty International published new evidence that aircraft connected to the rendition programme had landed in
Finland between 2001 and 2006. In response, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released data on 250 landings in Finland by aircraft linked
to the CIA programme, including connections between Finland and Lithuania, which has admitted hosting two CIA secret detention sites
on its territory. Finland apparently was also used as a fake destination to conceal flights to and from the secret sites in Lithuania, an
allegation supported by information released in September 2012 by the London-based organization Reprieve, which confirmed that flight
plans were often falsified or planes switched to cover-up the routes of some rendition aircraft alleged to have deposited suspects in
Finland claims that it has exhausted all avenues with respect to revealing the truth regarding its role in the CIA operations and points now
to an inquiry being conducted by the Parliamentary Ombudsman. However, neither Finland’s limited inquiries, nor the Ombudsman’s
process, conform with Finland’s legal obligation to investigate the human rights violations related to the rendition programme. That
obligation can only be achieved by creating conditions for an investigation truly independent of the government. While Finland may claim
to have partially accepted the recommendation to investigate rendition flights, it cannot claim to have actually done so in accordance with
its human rights obligations.
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Finland Joins Landmine Ban Treaty
US Should Conclude Policy Review and Ban Landmines
January 11, 2012
(Washington, DC) – Finland’s action to join the international treaty banning antipersonnel landmines should spur the United States and
others to get on board without delay, Human Rights Watch said today.
Finland deposited its instrument of accession to the Mine Ban Treaty with the United Nations in New York on January 9, 2012. The
Mine Ban Treaty comprehensively prohibits use, production, trade, and stockpiling of antipersonnel mines and requires their clearance
and assistance to victims.
“Finland’s accession to the Mine Ban Treaty has been 14 years in the making,” said Steve Goose, director of the Arms division at Human
Rights Watch. “It had been one of the most notable holdouts, and its decision to go ahead shows that the global stigma against
antipersonnel mines keeps getting stronger.”
With Finland’s accession, a total of 159 nations are party to the Mine Ban Treaty, which was negotiated in 1997 and entered into force
on March 1, 1999. Others that joined recently include South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, in November and Tuvalu in September.
Poland, which signed the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997, has indicated that it will ratify in 2012, making all European Union countries party to
the treaty. In November, Somalia pledged to join in the coming months.
The majority of the other 35 nations that remain outside the ban treaty are in de facto compliance with most of the treaty’s provisions,
including the United States. The US has not used antipersonnel mines since 1991, has not exported them since 1992, has not produced
them since 1997, and is the largest donor to international demining programs.
The Obama administration began a comprehensive landmine policy review in late 2009. The Clinton administration, in 1998, set the
objective of joining the Mine Ban Treaty in 2006, but the Bush administration reversed course in February 2004, and announced that it
did not ever intend to join.
“The United States should conclude its landmine policy review and accede to the Mine Ban Treaty as Finland has done,” Goose said.
“Further delays simply aren’t justified, on any grounds.”
Finland enacted legislation approving accession to the Mine Ban Treaty in late 2011, after several years of internal landmine policy
reviews. In November, Finland’s minister of international development, Heidi Hautala, announced that her government would join the
Mine Ban Treaty within weeks.
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Conference to combat violence against women and domestic violence in Helsinki
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs, together with the Council of Europe and the Finnish delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe, is organising a regional conference on the Council of Europe convention to combat violence against women and
domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, on 17 January. Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja will open the conference.
The purpose of the conference is to increase the awareness of parliamentarians, NGOs, the media and other professionals of the Istanbul
Convention and to discuss the benefits and challenges of ratification, as well as to share positive experiences and good practices.
The conference will be attended by representatives of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Germany, Poland and Russia. Several international and national experts will speak at the conference.
Violence against women, including domestic violence, is a violation of human rights as well as a form of discrimination and a serious
global problem. The Istanbul Convention is the first legally binding European Convention and globally the most far-reaching agreement to
address the problem of violence against women.
The objectives of the Convention are to prevent and eliminate violence, protect victims and to see that perpetrators of acts of violence
are prosecuted. It also seeks to influence individuals’ attitudes and ways of thinking in order to eliminate violence from society. An
objective of the Convention is also to eradicate all forms of discrimination against women and to promote actual equality between women
Finland signed the Istanbul Convention in May 2011, and the intention is to submit the Government’s proposal on ratification of the
Convention to the Finnish Parliament in 2013. The Convention is not yet in force internationally.
The conference language is English, with simultaneous interpreting into Russian.
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Observation jumpsuits are an intervention in prisoner's fundamental rights
Ombudsman: Legislator should adopt a stance on the matter
Prisons should not continue the use of so-called observation jumpsuits before the European Court of Human Rights has adopted a
position on the matter and the legislation has been explicated, in the view of Ombudsman Petri Jääskeläinen.
These garments, which prisoners are required to wear while they are isolated for inspection purposes, have been in use in some prisons.
The sleeve and neck openings of a jumpsuit are closed and the zip fastener at the back is locked with cable ties so that the prisoner can
not himself take off the garment.
The Ombudsman regards the use of observation jumpsuits as a restriction of fundamental rights of a kind that should absolutely be
regulated by a clear legal provision.
Observation jumpsuits not mentioned in legislation
The Ombudsman draws attention to the fact that the Prison Act does not contain a mention of observation jumpsuits. Under the Act, a
prisoner can be isolated from other prisoners and can be observed by technical means if there is a suspicion that he or she has
contraband substances or objects concealed within his or her body.
Using observation jumpsuits impinges on fundamental rights in a different way from, for example, video surveillance, which limits
mainly protection of the prisoner's privacy. A jumpsuit, in contrast, restricts a prisoner's free will and right of self-determination.
Investigation on own initiative arising from prisoners' complaint
The matter was investigated on the Ombudsman's own initiative on this occasion. Inmates of prisons in Riihimäki and Helsinki had
complained to the Ombudsman about the matter as long ago as 2005, but the complaint could not be investigated then, because court
proceedings were still in progress.
The matter has since been referred to the European Court of Human Rights, where it is pending.
Ombudsman Jääskeläinen has sent his decision to the Criminal Sanctions Agency's central administration and asked it to inform him, by
28.2, what measures the decision has given rise to.
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21 March 2012
ENAR Finland press release to launch its national Shadow Report on racism 2010-11
In Finland, the risk of discrimination often aware of, but not taken into account European Union-wide report on racism and
discrimination was released UN Racism Awareness Day
On International Day against Racism 03.21.2012 published in the annual European Racism and discrimination against non-governmental
organization (ENAR) report discrimination in the European Union period 03/2010-03/2011. Finnish report of the section he points to
segregation of multiple discrimination, as well as challenges in the Finnish anti-discrimination activity. ENAR report in Finnish on the
proportion of ENAR Shadow Report - Racism and related Discriminatory practices in Finland, Released at the same time, the Union-wide
The Finnish contribution raises the Finnish discrimination policy in the coming challenges, in particular segregation, health and
deprivation, as well as the connection of multiple discrimination taken into account. Although the problems are identified in various
reports and reports are often practical measures to improve the situation little attention. For example, the immigrant population focus on
a small number of suburbs is widely recognized, but the suggested solutions to the problem is not been offered. Similarly, multiple
discrimination is experienced in many cases special reports problematic, even though at the same time maintaining the system in which
the various grounds of discrimination are not support each other but mutually exclusive. Thus, in many cases, the actual cause of
discrimination may be a person's religion, but due to the improved protection from having sex, say, looking for a job are invoked
explicitly discriminate on the basis of their gender. Along with the problems also a positive performance in the report. As such, can be
considered in particular the National Human Rights Institute of the Parliamentary Ombudsman's office in connection with.
European Union at the level of particular note in the economic downturn impacts national discrimination and anti-racist activities. At the
same time cause of concern in many European countries, a significant rise of the extreme right. Hardened attitudes and the economic
recession appears to immigrants in unemployment, as well as anti-discrimination the financing of projects. In Spain, more than half in
Morocco, as well as sub-Saharan Duties of immigrants from Africa at the end of first half of 2010 unemployed. Lithuania again a three-
year anti-discrimination project received only 1% of the originally envisaged funding.
Many of the global challenges and concerns for the Finnish. On the positive side Note, however, that the funding for projects has not
decreased in the same proportion as in Finland of the other EU countries. Also, the laws of Finland was able to adjust the number of
significant changes in the primary school, for example, as well as the Integration Act, which promote equality pluralism. The report,
however, is brought out in Finland, too many of the public concern about the fragility of values stiffening of the more open and more
racist or discriminatory speech as the mainstream media and the social media.
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President since 1 March 2012
Deputy Prime Minister since 22 June 2011