Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muižnieks visited Finland from 11 to 13. June. During his visit, he met with representatives of government, ministries, legality supervision, and civil society. In addition, the Commission made an on-site visit to housing units for older people run by the association Leevi ry.
The newly published report based on the visit contains recommendations on the promotion of human rights in Finland. The Human Rights Commissioner assesses the general situation of human rights in Finland as good and welcomes the new structures, including the establishment of a national human rights institution. In his report, Commissioner Muižnieks reviews issues related to the equal treatment of different population groups, equality and, with special emphasis, the rights of the Sámi people.
The report of the Human Rights Commissioner gives Finland recommendations, for instance, on the ratification of international human rights treaties, including the International Labour Organization Convention No. 169 concerning indigenous peoples, as well as the rights of minorities, persons with disabilities, sexual minorities and older people. Muižnieks is concerned, among others, about the increase of hate speech in Finland, shortcomings in ensuring the good and equal treatment of older people, discrimination of trans and intersex persons, violence against women, equal treatment legislation and the rights of the Sámi people.
The Human Rights Centre and the Advisory Board on International Human Rights Affairs will hold a follow-up seminar on the report in Helsinki on 30 November. The aim is to promote awareness of the recommendations contained in the report and to discuss the measures their implementation may require together with the authorities and civil society.
The Council of Europe established the post of Human Rights Commissioner in 1999. The task of the Human Rights Commissioner is to promote respect for human rights, human rights education and awareness of human rights by using the means available to the Council of Europe. As part of the work to monitor the implementation of human rights, the Human Rights Commissioner visits the Member States of the Council of Europe and makes recommendations on developing the implementation of human rights. Nils Muižnieks of Latvia assumed the post in April 2012.
Additional information: Erik Lundberg, Head of the Unit for Human Rights Policy, mobile tel. +358 40 352 0955, e-mail: erik.lundberg(a)formin.fi; Counsellor Krista Oinonen, Unit for Human Rights Courts and Conventions, mobile tel. +358 40 158 5482, e-mail: krista.oinonen(a)formin.fi