Press release 158/2013
25 July 2013
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has on 25 July published its concluding observations on the implementation of civil and political rights in Finland. The Committee reviewed the sixth periodic report submitted by Finland under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights at its 108th session and in a public dialogue with the delegation of Finland held in Geneva on 12 July.
The Committee welcomes the adoption of the Act on the Promotion of Immigrant Integration and the Act on the Reception of Seekers of International Protection. Furthermore the Committee takes positive note of the adoption of the National Action Plan on Fundamental and Human Rights and the amendments made to the Criminal Code and the Aliens Act.
In its concluding observations the Committee expresses its concern over the equality of men and women in the labour market and particularly over the gender wage gap and the dismissal of women due to pregnancy.
The Committee is also concerned about violence against women in Finland and recommends that more services and shelters be made available to women victims of violence. Furthermore the Committee expresses its concern over shortcomings in identifying victims of human trafficking.
With respect to the detention of asylum seekers and migrants, the Committee is particularly concerned about the capacity of the Metsälä detention centre and the placement of detained individuals in police detention facilities. The Committee recommends that Finland develop alternatives to the detention of asylum seekers, guarantees the legal remedies for detained individuals, and improves living conditions at the Metsälä detention centre.
The Committee also expresses its concern over the legal remedies for individuals deprived of their liberty. The Committee reminds that all persons arrested on a criminal charge must have access to legal assistance and points out that the decision on continued detention or release must be brought before a judge within 48 hours of initial apprehension. The Committee is concerned about prison overcrowding and the lack of appropriate sanitation facilities in some prisons. Furthermore the Committee underscores the importance of segregating juveniles from adult prisoners.
In its concluding observations the Committee reiterates its concern over the length of non-military service as an alternative to conscript service and recommends that the preferential treatment accorded to Jehova’s Witnesses be extended to other groups of conscientious objectors.
With respect to asylum seekers and migrantConcluding observations of the Human Rights Committees awaiting deportation, the Committee recommends that Finland take steps to ensure that that appeals under the accelerated asylum procedure have a suspensive effect on the enforcement of a deportation order.
The Committee also remains concerned about the rights of the Sámi people to participate in decision-making concerning their own culture and way of life, drawing specific attention to their rights to land and resources. Furthermore the Committee recommends that Finland take appropriate measures to guarantee that all Sámi children are entitled to be taught in their own language.
Furthermore, the Committee’s concluding observations draw attention to the discrimination faced by Roma and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Additional information: Legal Officer Katja Fokin, tel. +358 295 351 175, Counsellor Jaakko Halttunen, tel. +358 295 351 170, Unit for Human Rights Courts and Conventions, firstname.lastname@example.org