How to submit a communication (complaint) to a UN Committee
As regards the key human rights treaties of the United Nations (UN), Finland has recognised the competence of seven Committees to consider human rights communications (complaints).
As a private individual or a member of a group of private individuals, you may submit a communication against the State of Finland if you regard that you have personally and directly been a victim of a violation of a right guaranteed under a UN human rights treaty or its Optional Protocol.
Submit your communication to no more than one Treaty Body, that is, only to one Committee. The Committees that can receive individual communications concerning Finland are:
- the Human Rights Committee(Link to another website.) (CCPR)
- the Committee against Torture(Link to another website.) (CAT)
- the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights(Link to another website.) (CESCR)
- the Committee on the Rights of the Child(Link to another website.) (CRC)
- the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women(Link to another website.) (CEDAW)
- the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities(Link to another website.) (CRPD) and
- the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination(Link to another website.) (CERD).
The communication must meet certain criteria for the Committee to be able to admit it for consideration. Otherwise, the communication will not be examined.
It is important to submit the communication as soon as possible after all domestic remedies have been exhausted. This usually means that you must have first pursued the claim through the national court system until the highest instance before the Committee can admit the communication for its consideration.
Please note that the time limits set for submitting a communication calculated from the moment of exhaustion of domestic remedies vary depending on the Committee. For more information about the time limits, see the guidance below.
The communication must be in writing, preferably typed. It is recommended that you use the UN Communication Form to submit the communication:
Communications sent by email must have an electronic signature or be signed manually, scanned and attached to an email addressed to the OHCHR Petitions and Urgent Actions Section (PUAS). An unsigned Word version must also be submitted. No paper communications will be processed unless it is justified that it would be impossible to submit the communication electronically.
Email the communication to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do not send the communication to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The Ministry will not provide legal aid to submit a communication or forward any documents on your behalf to the Committee. If your communication becomes pending in the Committee, the Unit for Human Rights Courts and Conventions of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will represent the Government of Finland in the communication procedure.
Annexes to your communication must include any decision(s) adopted at the national or international level, as well as other relevant official documents. The Committees only accept communications presented in English, Spanish, French or Russian. If annexes are not in one of these languages, an unofficial translation summary must be provided. Only copies should be submitted, not originals. No documents will be returned by the Committee.
In view of the current backlog of cases, it may take quite some while before the Committee can proceed with its initial examination of your communication. Some communications may be treated as urgent and dealt with as a matter of priority, particularly if the complainant is regarded as being in imminent physical danger. In urgent cases, the Committee may order interim measures, which means requesting Finland to adopt measures to prevent irreparable harm to the alleged victim while the case is still pending consideration by the Committee.