Human Rights and International Law

Finland’s international human rights policy, as an element of efforts to promote comprehensive security, strives to bring about improvements in the human rights situation in different countries.

Its foundation rests in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human rights conventions and internationally binding human rights documents, premised on the equal implementation of rights irrespective of ethnic origin, gender, age, religion, opinion, sexual orientation or some other comparable reason. Democracy is  promoted and the structures and processes of international law are strengthened to safeguard human rights.

Finland stresses the importance of multilateral cooperation, well-functioning institutions and international rule of law in responding to global threats. Finland supports the development international law and strengthening the means to implement it in the activities of the UN.

Human Rights

Finland aims to have human rights mainstreamed in all UN activities. This means  that a human rights based approach is incorporated in all activities conducted in the UN and between its agencies. Finland supports and strives, in particular, to promote the rights of women, children, minorities, indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities. Finland also pays special attention to the prevention of  multiple discrimination. In addition to fostering civil and political rights, Finland actively advocates economic, social and cultural rights.

Finland aims to contribute to the enhancement of the functioning of the UN Human Rights Council so that it would be able to intervene, at any time, even without the permission of the state in question, in situations where human rights have been violated. Similarly, efforts are made to devise new working methods and to ensure that the Council’s activities bring added value. Finland’s goal is to clarify the roles of the Human Rights Council and the Third Committee of the UN General  Assembly in promoting human rights at global level.

Finland supports the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and considers further reinforcing of the independent position of the High Commissioner important. Finland supports the High Commissioner’s objectives to shift priority from the creation of norms to their implementation. The share of the regular budget appropriations allocated to the Office of the High Commissioner for  Human Rights (OHCHR) should be increased considerably.

Finland considers it important that regional human rights agreements further  advance the human rights norms laid down by the UN. Moreover, it is essential to keep in mind that regional organisations promoting human rights are  complementary to already established UN norms. In the promotion of human rights education, Finland supports close cooperation between the UN agencies and regional actors.

Decent work is an indispensable element of human rights. Finland aims to promote  the fundamental human rights of workers (i.a. the prevention of child and forced labour, freedom of association and equality in working life) as well as the right  to safe and healthy working conditions.

Strengthening International Law

Finland participates actively in the creation of a more comprehensive network of  international agreements and contributes to the codification and progressive development of international law by participating in the work of the UN General Assembly Legal Committee (VI Committee), the UN International Law  Commission and the specialised agencies. Finland also strives to promote the  widest possible ratification and effective implementation of multilateral conventions.  To safeguard the integrity of multilateral conventions, Finland consistently objects to  reservations to human rights conventions which are in conflict with the object and purpose of these conventions. Finland calls for more universal acknowledgement of  the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, safeguarding of its operating prerequisites and reinforcement of other peaceful arbitration mechanisms.

Fighting impunity for the most serious international crimes is one of the priorities of  Finland's policies in the UN. Finland supports the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other international war crimes tribunals. The UN’s role in promoting the universality of the ICC should be strengthened. Cooperation between  the ICC and the UN should be reinforced, and the work of other international  war crimes tribunals completed in an appropriate way.

Rule of Law and Good Governance

Promotion of the principle of the rule of law is one of the priorities of Finland’s UN  policy, cutting across many policy areas. Post-crisis cooperation must focus, in  particular, on the stabilisation of living conditions in conflict areas by lending support  to peace processes and strengthening the legal system of the target country,  including efforts to fight impunity. Strengthening of the UN’s internal cooperation and coordination mechanisms will be continued.

In the UN, Finland is well known for advocating the principle of the rule of law. Finland  strives to promote and strengthen the UN’s efforts to advance the rule of law by supporting the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group, set up within the UN Secretariat. This includes financial support for the group, at least in the initial  phase. In the activities to promote the rule of law, better coordination within the UN as well as good cooperation with external actors are considered important both at  Headquarter level and particularly in the field.

Finland considers it important that development of the rule of law is addressed, in particular, in the work of the PBC and PBF. The legal mechanisms, applied during  transition periods, and consolidation of the rule of law are, in Finland’s opinion, critical  rerequisites for sustainable peace and development. Support for consolidation of the internal cooperation and coordination mechanisms of the UN should be continued.

It is natural for Finland to play an active role in promoting good governance and efforts against corruption. Finland supports the development and implementation of the monitoring mechanism of the UN Convention Against Terrorism.