Friday 9/17/21

Amnesty International slams Finland for women and refugees situation

The human rights organization echoes the recommendations of a working group that suggested aligning the legislation on rape with international standards.
Feminis woman campaign. Photo: nicoladreyer/Pixabay.
Photo: Pixabay.

The human rights situation remains far from ideal in Finland, as described in the latest global report published by the organization Amnesty International.

In the chapter dedicated to Finland of the Amnesty International Report 2020-2021, the human rights organization draws attention to a number of issues, including the situation of women and refugees, the situation of minorities and the cases of excessive use of force by the police.

"Refugee family reunification remained difficult due to legislative and practical obstacles. Intimate partner violence against women increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many social security benefits remained inadequate," the organization highlights.

Gender violence

With regard to violence against women and girls, Amnesty echoes the recommendations published in July by a working group, which suggested aligning the legislation on rape with international standards.

Finland is often criticized for having mild penalties for rape offenses compared to other European countries.

According to the organization, intimate partner violence against women "increased significantly" during the last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced them to stay indoors longer. To the same extent, the number of women who sought help against these crimes increased.

The Government launched a program to combat violence against women in October.

Regarding the LGBTI collective, the report highlights that a working group published its proposal to reform legislation to increase the protection of the rights of those seeking legal gender recognition.


Amnesty International also denounces in its report that Finland applies "severely restrictive" policies to deny family reunification for refugees, in some cases putting children's rights at risk.

According to the human rights organization, there are legislative and practical obstacles, including very high income requirements, that prevent reunification.

The organization also highlights that in Finland unaccompanied children and families with children continue to be detained based on their immigration status. The recently introduced legal changes have not helped to avoid the risk of asylum seekers being returned to countries where there is real danger for them.

Police, Sámi people

Amnesty also stresses in its report that the Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a police officer for excessive use of force. The officer had used a Taser unannounced on a man who refused to lie down. Also a district court convicted a police officer for the violation of official duties in 2018 when using a Taser on an intoxicated woman.

Another police officer was convicted of aggravated assault and breaching official duties for using excessive force on a handcuffed man, who had to be resuscitated,in police detention in 2019.

According to the report, Finland still failed to ratify International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 169, which would improve the monitoring of the rights of the indigenous Sámi people."