UPR Media Briefing Note

Wednesday, 23 May 2012 (Afternoon)
For use of information media; not an official record

State under review

Finland
Represented by 25-member delegation headed by Ms. Heidi HAUTALA, Minister for International Development of Finland.

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Finland page on UPR website.

Troika *

Djibouti, Jordan, Peru.

Opening statement by State under review

Key points from opening statement of State under review:

  • The Finnish Government maintained a fully transparent approach in the preparations of its national report, and shared information with the relevant human rights actors, including civil society organizations;
  • In the area of non-discrimination, the Finnish equality legislation was under reform and a renewed legislation should enter into force before the next Parliamentary elections in spring 2015;
  • The first National Policy on Roma was adopted by the Government in 2010 and was human right-based;
  • In terms of domestic violence, the Government had an Action Plan covering the period 2010-2015 to reduce violence against women, which promoted the prevention of violence, victim protection and support, as well as bringing offenders to justice; the situation of immigrant women, persons with disabilities and members of sexual and gender minorities were specifically addressed;
  • The number of fatal attacks involving entire families had risen sharply in the past year; the Ministerial Working Group on Internal Security had set up a panel to study family killings;
  • As to the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, among other things, the Government was currently implementing its Programme for Children and Youth Policy 2012-2015, adopted in 2011;
  • On the rights of persons with disabilities, the Government will soon adopt a resolution on dismantling institutional care for persons with intellectual disabilities till 2020;
  • The Government was also stepping up its work to combat racism, intolerance and xenophobia and an amendment to the Criminal Code took effect in June 2011 providing additional powers to intervene in racist and other hate speech, and in other racist crimes;
  • In connection with the deportation of asylum-seekers, Finland was committed to full and effective implementation of the 1951 Geneva Convention related to the status of refugees and to respecting the principle non-refoulement;
  • The head of delegation noted that after the delivery of Finland's national UPR report, the Government approved the first national Human Rights Action Plan of Finland.

(See full statement on the Finland page on UPR Extranet)

Participants

In total, 42 States participated in the discussion:  18 HRC members and 24 observers  (Statements available on Finland page on UPR Extranet)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The extent of the implementation of recommendations accepted during their first UPR;
  • The State’s commitment to improve the livelihoods of people worldwide through development cooperation and its achievement of the MDG committing 0.5% of its GNP for ODA by 2010;
  • The National Action Plan on Fundamental and Human Rights and the establishment of the National Human Rights Institution; 
  • Policies to prevent violence against women and care to victims of such acts;
  • Efforts to protect and promote the human rights of LGBT individuals.

Issues and Questions

Main issues and questions raised by the Working Group:

  • Challenges in combatting racism and xenophobia;
  • The rights of the Roma and efforts to raise awareness in that regard;
  • Measures to advance the rights of the Sami people;
  • The situation of asylum seekers and the bill in place to review the detention of foreigners;
  • The State’s policy on promoting gender equality;
  • Measures to address domestic abuse and violence and measures to protect victims of trafficking;
  • The length of judicial proceedings and occasional failure to provide detainees timely access to legal counsel.

Recommendations

In total, States participating in the discussion posed a series of recommendations to Finland. These included, among others: 

  • To take additional measures to combat domestic violence against women including the allocation of additional funds to ensure the effective implementation of the National Action Plan to prevent violence against women;
  • to ensure that women victims of trafficking were recognized as such and provided with protection and assistance; to conduct necessary training for law enforcement to properly identify and protect victims of trafficking;
  • To ensure that rape was categorized as a sexual violation; to train educators and health workers in identifying signs of sexual abuse in children;
  • To provide a framework to prohibit the use of child labour by Finnish companies engaged with businesses abroad and multinational companies headquartered in Finland;
  • To ratify the OPCAT and the OP to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ILO Convention 169 concerning indigenous people and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, as well the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the Government has already signed;
  • To hasten implementation of programmes towards the realization of the principle of equal pay for equal work so as to root out any discriminatory practices and taken new initiatives to eliminate the gender-based pay gap;
  • To pursue appropriate, efficient policies to eliminate the social exclusion of the most vulnerable groups; to establish broad public outreach programmes to discourage discrimination against ethnic minority residents in Finland; to take practical measures to prevent and combat racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic propaganda and hate speech in the media and on the Internet;
  • To allocate additional resources to the judicial systems necessary to ensure timely due process;
  • To ensure that there were qualified staff in schools to address mental health concerns among adolescents.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Finland is scheduled to take place on Friday, 25 May 2012.

The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR. 

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