Round Table “Combating racial discrimination and intolerance in Finland”
Helsinki, 7 May 2015
Organisers: ECRI in cooperation with the Finnish Non-Discrimination Ombudsman
Objectives: provide the participants with the opportunity to discuss the follow-up to the recommendations contained in ECRI’s monitoring report on Finland, published in 2013.
The round table was divided into four sessions:
- ECRI report’s main findings;
- Anti-discrimination legislation and the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman;
- Discrimination in access to employment: problems and perspectives;
- Combating racism and intolerance in political discourse.
Opening statements was made by Rainer Hiltunen of the Office of the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, and Miroslaw Wyrzykowsky, ECRI’s Vice-Chair. Reetta Toivanen, Member of ECRI in respect of Finland and the Deputy Member, Anna Rastas, also contributed to the seminar. Ronald Craig of the Office of the Norwegian Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud, Kristina Stenman of the Ministry of Employment and Economy, Krista Oinonen of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Matti Välimäki of the Centre for Parliamentary Studies of the University of Turku, were among the speakers.
In addition to national authorities, the round table brought together NGOs and members of vulnerable groups, as well as minority groups. This event aimed at contributing positively to the national debate on combating racial discrimination and intolerance in the country, as well as raising awareness among the general public about these issues.
In its fourth report on Finland of 9 July 2013, ECRI welcomed positive developments, but regretted that a number of concerns persisted, such as discrimination against immigrants in various fields including employment and the risk of racial profiling of visible minorities by the police. Concerning political discourse, ECRI recommended to the authorities to take steps to ensure that politicians act responsibly when dealing with matters relating to vulnerable groups such as migrants.