Finland’s human rights situation was reviewed at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 23 May. During a dialogue held in Geneva that lasted for three and a half hours, UN Member States posed questions about the implementation of human rights in Finland and gave approximately 90 recommendations for improving the national human rights situation.
Attention was paid, in particular, to domestic violence, xenophobia and hate speech, as well as to the rights of Sámi people and minorities. In the answers given to the questions, the Finnish delegation led by Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala described the measures that would be taken to deal with human rights challenges.
At the universal periodic review (UPR), Finland was also given much recognition for the country’s strong commitment to human rights, for the promotion of equality, and for the first national action plan for fundamental and human rights adopted this spring. Finland’s open and inclusive approach to the preparation of the national UPR report, to the implementation of the earlier recommendations, and to the dialogue itself was also praised.
The UPR Working Group of the UN Human Rights Council is adopting the report on the review of Finland on 25 May. The report incorporates all of the recommendations Finland now received. Finland is expected to consider the adoption of the recommendations and to give its stand on them no later than in September, when the UN Human Rights Council adopts the review report. In the dialogue, Finland also pledged to give a voluntary interim report on the implementation of the recommendations that it has adopted. This report will be given in 2014, two years before Finland’s next UPR review in 2016.
In her video comment, recorded outside the UN premises in Geneva immediately after the dialogue, Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala commented on the dialogue and its importance to the work done in Finland for improving the implementation of human rights (in Finnish).