Finland elected as member of UN Human Rights Council
The three-year term 2022-2024 is Finland’s first full membership in the Human Rights Council. Finland will continue its long-term work to promote universal human rights.
Finland received 180 votes in the election held at the UN General Assembly in New York on 14 October. Together with Luxembourg and the United states, Finland was elected to the Council as a Member of the Western European and Others Group. Finland has previously been a Member of the Council for one year in 2006-2007 when the Human Rights Council was established.
“Finland is prepared to assume responsibility and cooperate with different actors to ensure that human rights are not just empty words. A well-functioning multilateral rules-based system and the realisation of human rights are the key to the wellbeing and security of Finnish society as well as to the promotion of global peace, security and sustainable development,” says Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto.
“Finland has, as I have, excellent experience of involving civil society in the management of matters. We will work in close cooperation with both domestic and international NGOs and human rights defenders. It is vital that not only the voice of states but also the views and expertise of civil society, researchers and the private sector are heard in the work of the Human Rights Council,” Minister Haavisto says.
The Human Rights Council of 47 member states convenes in Geneva and is the United Nations’ most important body on human rights. Its mission is to promote and protect human rights worldwide, for example by addressing serious human rights violations. The Council has taken a stand and appointed independent experts to monitor the situation in different countries, such as Syria, Myanmar and recently Afghanistan.
In addition, the Human Rights Council adopts initiatives and issues recommendations on human rights themes. These include the rights of women, children and different minorities, human rights issues related to climate change and digitalisation, and the rights and safety of human rights defenders, journalists and civil society.
Membership in the Council continues Finland’s human rights based foreign policy
Membership in the Human Rights Council supports the implementation of Finland’s human rights based foreign and security policy and long-term work to promote human rights.
Finland will be active in defending and promoting the multilateral rules based system and universal human rights in the Council’s decision-making. We support the work of the UN’s independent human rights experts and the participation of civil society and human rights defenders in the work of the Human Rights Council.
In addition to the work in the Council, Finland will continue to give strong support in the coming years to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and her office. They play a key role in monitoring Council initiatives and realising human rights at the practical level.
Women’s rights and gender issues face particular pressure in multilateral for as part of the efforts to undermine human rights. Finland is working to ensure full realisation of gender equality and women’s rights. We promote the principle of non-discrimination and the rights of vulnerable persons, and we focus on the rights of persons with a disability, indigenous peoples and LHBTQ+ people.
Finland supports strongly the mandate of the UN Human Rights Council to take a stand on serious violations of human rights. It is highly important that the Council pursue a direct and constructive dialogue also on challenging topics to promote human rights.
Paula Parviainen, Senior Adviser, Unit for Human Rights Policy, tel. +358 295 535 0104
Ann-Mari Fröberg, Team Leader, Unit for Human Rights Policy, tel. + 358 295 350 896
Jeri Aalto, Special Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 50 472 0725