Recommendations for Finland from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) published its fifth report on Finland today 10 September. ECRI acknowledges the many measures that have already been made or are in progress. At the same time, it presents 20 recommendations for Finland to combat racism and intolerance.

ECRI recommends that the mandate of the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman be changed to include the right to examine individual cases of alleged discrimination in employment and the right to bring cases before the courts in proprio motu. In addition, it recommends the opening of local and regional offices for the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman for which adequate resources should be provided. It also recommends that the authorities increase the capacity and staff of the Equality Ombudsman, empower the National Non-Discrimination and Equality Tribunal to deal with complaints concerning discrimination in employment on all prohibited grounds of discrimination, as well as empower it to grant compensation to victims of discrimination and substantially increase the resources of the Tribunal.

As regards hate speech and hate crimes, ECRI recommends setting up of a comprehensive data collection system for racist and homophobic/transphobic hate speech and hate crime cases and the development of a comprehensive strategy to tackle the problem of racist and homophobic/transphobic hate speech. With respect to hate speech and hate crimes, the training activities of law enforcement officials and the judiciary must be scaled up and the investigation of these alleged offences strengthened.

ECRI repeats its recommendation set up a body which is independent of the police and prosecution authorities and entrusted with the investigation of alleged cases of racial discrimination and misconduct by the police. The diversity in the police should be increased to better reflect the diversity of the population. It also reiterates its recommendation for consistent and comprehensive system for collecting data on the basis of ethnic origin, language, religion, gender and citizenship. ECRI also stresses the need to provide sufficient funding for National Roma Strategy (2018–2022) and to increase awareness of the Sámi culture among majority population. ECRI also recommends that the Act on Legal Recognition of the Gender of Transsexuals be amended by removing the requirement of infertility.

The recommendations also include revising the provisions on family reunification of refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, in particular with regard to financial resources, in order to facilitate family reunification and a thorough assessment of the action plan on integration.

Of the recommendations of the Fifth Round report, ECRI draws particular attention to certain recommendations, the implementation of which is considered to be a priority. A mid-term monitoring on them will be carried out no later than two years from now.

Website of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance: www.coe.int/ecri

Inquiries: Päivi Rotola-Pukkila, Legal Councellor, tel. +358 295 351 922 and Krista Oinonen, Director, Unit for Human Rights Courts and Contracts, tel. +358 295 351 172.

The Foreign Ministry's email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname@formin.fi.