The 52nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council 

Outcome of the review

27 February – 31 March 2023 

Agenda item 6: Universal Periodic Review – Finland

Joint Statement with Meezaan Center for Human Rights and Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ)

By Juanita Beltran 

Thank you.

We commend the reports and thank Finland for participating in the UPR. However, we remain deeply concerned about issues regarding minorities and children's rights.

Although Finland has undertaken significant steps to ensure justice, the Sami people are still targets of discrimination and marginalization. With the new reform on the Sámi Parliament Act, Finland has failed to find common ground on matters of the eligibility criteria for voting and running elections. In matters of education the finish government should consider the idea of implementing within the educational system incentives for students to learn about the Sami culture and avoid a future marginalization.

Additionally, we remain concerned about the situation of the Finnish children detained in northern Syria. These children have been held in Syrian camps due to alleged links of their parents with Daesh.  The dire conditions in which they currently are living are deplorable. These camps are overcrowded, unhygienic and lack clean drinking water. A country like Finland that has the legal resources to take action in the matter and repatriate these children should not be facing serious violations of the Convention on the rights of the child or the  Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict. Discrimination and blacklisting against people from Arabic countries with no proven link to terrorist organizations accentuate the unwillingness of Finland to make a case-by-case assessment and find evidence to make those claims or disregard them. 

Meezaan Center for Human Rights and Geneva International Centre for Justice join along with other states to the following recommendations:

  1. Ratify the ILO convention 169 on indigenous people’s rights. 
  2. Guarantee the right to freedom and life through repatriation of the children in Northern Syria and 
  3. Reform the Sami Parliament Act to ensure a fair eligibility criterion for voting elections

I thank you.

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