UN Human Rights Committee adopts two Views concerning right to enter electoral roll to Sámi Parliament
On 1 February 2019, the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee published two Views concerning complaints about the definition of who is entitled to enter the electoral roll to the elections to the Sámi Parliament in Finland.
The Committee was of the view that Finland has violated article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (for example, the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives, to vote and to be elected at elections) read alone and in conjunction with article 27 of the Covenant (on the rights of minorities).
The cases concern persons included in the electoral roll of the Sámi Parliament following the Supreme Administrative Court’s decisions of 30 September 2015.
The Human Rights Committee considered that the Supreme Administrative Court’s decisions had affected the rights of the complainants and of the Sámi community to which they belong to engage in the electoral process regarding the institution intended by the State party to secure the effective internal self-determination and the right to their own language and culture of members of the Sámi indigenous people. The Committee further considered that the Supreme Administrative Court’s interpretation was not based on reasonable and objective criteria.
The Committee emphasised the right of the Sámi people to self-determination concerning their status and the membership of their community.
The Committee recommended that section 3 of the Sámi Parliament Act be reviewed with a view to ensuring that the criteria for eligibility to vote in Sámi Parliament elections are defined and applied in a manner that respects the right of the Sámi people to exercise their internal self-determination, in accordance with articles 25 and 27 of the Covenant. The Committee also recommended that Finland take all necessary steps to prevent similar violations in the future.
Finland must report to the Committee within six months on the measures taken to give effect to the Committee’s Views.
The Views are available on the Human Rights Committee’s website: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/FIN/CCPR_C_124_D_2668_2015_28169_E.pdf ja https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/FIN/CCPR_C_124_D_2950_2017_28170_E.pdf
Inquiries: Krista Oinonen, Director, Unit for Human Rights Courts and Conventions, tel. +358 295 351 172.
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