Foreign policy and security policy

02.04.2019

Finland’s foreign and security policy aims at preserving its independence and the democratic core values of society and promoting the well-being and security of its citizens.


Finland’s foreign and security policy aims at preserving its independence and the democratic core values of society and promoting the well-being and security of its citizens.

As a Member State of the European Union and a member of the international community, Finland exercises foreign policy with a view to securing its national interests and endeavors to contribute to world peace.

Foreign and security policy is based on good bilateral and international relations, a strong role in the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the EU, effective multilateral cooperation and credible national defence.

The COVID-19 crisis is a test for human rights

The COVID-19 crisis is a test for human rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto assessed the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the international human rights situation on 12 May in Helsinki.

The UN commended Finland’s approach to raising human rights and solidarity in the management of the COVID-19 crisis when it comes to healthcare, social security and the protection of vulnerable groups. As Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto emphasised, the pandemic is also a human rights crisis. The discussion was launched by the Advisory Board for International Human Rights (IONK), which was re-appointed by the Government on 8 April 2020 and is chaired by Eva Biaudet.

Minister Haavisto noted that the coronavirus pandemic is a major threat to international and regional peace and security. In some places, the pandemic has also brought internal conflicts to the surface and made room for actors seeking to exacerbate existing tensions. Haavisto emphasised that the pandemic must not be used as a pretext for imposing unjustifiable and prolonged restrictions on people’s freedoms. Finland supports UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ ceasefire initiative. Finland is also a candidate for membership in the UN Human Rights Council for 2022–2024.

While many countries have taken justified, temporary measures to curb the pandemic, Michelle Bachelet is concerned about the worrying human rights violations committed by certain countries under the pretext of mitigating the virus epidemic, which have included arbitrary restrictions on fundamental rights and other actions that undermine the rule of law.

The virus does not discriminate or choose its victims based on their background, but the consequences of the pandemic affect different population groups in unequal ways. Excessive use of force in the implementation of restrictive measures has particularly affected the most vulnerable populations. Bachelet called on Finland and other states to invest in promoting global solidarity in the midst of the crisis.

The Advisory Board has continued to work actively since its inaugural meeting. It monitors fundamental issues related to international human rights and serves as a channel for cooperation between civil society organisations, parliamentary groups, experts and public officials working on human rights.

The Advisory Board is chaired by Eva Biaudet, and Members of Parliament Anne-Mari Virolainen and Hilkka Kemppi were selected as its vice-chairs. The Advisory Board’s term of office will continue until the end of 2023.

Inquiries: Tarja Kangaskorte, Director of the Unit for Human Rights Policy, tel. +358 295 350 292

Composition of the Advisory Board

Members:

Eva Biaudet, Chair of the Advisory Board, National Council of Women in Finland
Hilkka Kemppi, Member of Parliament, Centre Party Parliamentary Group
Anne-Mari Virolainen, Member of Parliament, National Coalition Party Parliamentary Group
Antero Laukkanen, Member of Parliament, Christian Democratic Parliamentary Group
Kristiina Kartano, Pastor, disability activist, Liike Nyt Parliamentary Group
Sebastian Tynkkynen, Member of Parliament, Finns Party Parliamentary Group
Kristina Stenman, Mayor, Swedish Parliamentary Group
Tarja Filatov, Member of Parliament, Social Democratic Parliamentary Group
Veronika Honkasalo, Member of Parliament, Left Alliance Parliamentary Group
Inka Hopsu, Member of Parliament, Green Parliamentary Group
Tuomas Tuure, Advocacy Coordinator, Abilis Foundation
Niina Laajapuro, Policy Director, Amnesty International Finland
Annika Launiala, Director for Advocacy, Fingo
Kaari Mattila, Secretary-General, Finnish League for Human Rights 
Kim Remitz, Executive Director, KIOS Foundation
Tomi Järvinen, Director of International Cooperation, Finn Church Aid
Marko Stenroos, Chair, Minority Rights Group Finland
Ossi Heinänen, Secretary-General, Plan International Finland
Krister Karttunen, Member of the Board, Seta
Ben Malinen, Domestic Programme Director, Refugee Council
Veera Tyhtilä, President, Finnish PEN
Aleksi Seilonen, Planner, Finnish Red Cross
Rosa Puhakainen-Mattila, Training Officer, UN Association of Finland
Atik Ali, Member of the Board, CORE Forum

Deputy members:

Markus Lohi, Member of Parliament, Centre Party Parliamentary Group
Ruut Sjöblom, Member of Parliament, National Coalition Party Parliamentary Group
Sari Essayah, Member of Parliament, Christian Democratic Parliamentary Group
Juhani Klemetti, Acting Party Secretary, Liike Nyt Parliamentary Group
Leena Meri, Member of Parliament, Finns Party Parliamentary Group
Thomas Elfgren, Detective Superintendent, Swedish Parliamentary Group
Hussein Al-Taee, Member of Parliament, Social Democratic Parliamentary Group
Mikko Aarnio, Senior Officer for Legislative Affairs, Left Alliance Parliamentary Group
Saara Hyrkkö, Member of Parliament, Green Parliamentary Group
Marjo Heinonen, Executive Director, Abilis Foundation
Anu Tuukkanen, Policy Officer, Amnesty International Finland
Rilli Lappalainen, Director, Advocacy and Policy, Fingo
Heli Markkula, Head of Advocacy, Finnish League for Human Rights 
Katja Ilppola, Expert, KIOS Foundation
Eva-Marita Rinne-Koistinen, Senior Adviser, Finn Church Aid
Eilina Gusatinsky, Member of the Board, Minority Rights Group Finland
Terhi Heinilä, Secretary-General, National Council of Women in Finland
Karoliina Tikka, Head of Advocacy, Plan International Finland
Kerttu Tarjamo, Secretary-General, Seta
Leena Kumpulainen, International Programme Director, Refugee Council
Oula Silvennoinen, Vice-President, Finnish PEN
Eeva Holopainen, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, Finnish Red Cross
Elina Laiho, Advocacy Communications Officer, UN Association of Finland
Katri Kuusikallio, Executive Director, CORE Forum

Experts:

Sirpa Rautio, Director, Human Rights Centre
Tarja Kangaskorte, Director of Unit, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Krista Oinonen, Director of Unit, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Katri Viinikka, Ambassador for Equality Issues, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Rauno Merisaari, Ambassador for Human Rights Issues, Ministry for Foreign Affairs