Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities
Report: Finland’s human rights policy should be updated

Government analysis, assessment and research activitiesMinistry for Foreign Affairs 28.8.2019 10.00
Press release 416/2019

The global trends of change mean new challenges to the international human rights system. At the same time, the rules-based global order is fraying. The message of a recent report is that Finland should update the priorities of its human right policy to respond to the new challenges. To pursue a credible human rights policy, the human rights perspective should be better taken into account in Finland’s own actions as well.

The most recent Government of Finland Human Rights Report published in 2014 served as the point of comparison to the report Finland in the International Human Rights System. During the past five years, the global trends of change have started to challenge the functioning of the international human rights system much more clearly than before. The most significant global trends are environmental changes, migration, advancing technologies, and the changing security environment. Besides the problems involved, however, many of these changes may also offer new opportunities to promote human rights.

Changes in political power relations both in the international context and within different countries have impacts on how the human rights system works. For example, because of the rise of China the international human rights system has become more multipolar then before. In western countries, in turn, populist movements try to undermine the significance of a rules-based human rights system. At the same time, non-governmental stakeholders such as towns and cities, companies and civil society organisations have an increasingly important role in human rights work. Many of these changes were already mentioned in the human rights report published in 2014, and many of its themes are such that Finland should continue to pursue them in future. However, the changing international environment demands constant updates to the human rights policy.

The report lists eight key objectives that the researchers consider Finland should pursue in its human rights policy, and recommendations are also given on actions to reach the objectives. Respect for human rights in one’s own country is the cornerstone of a credible policy. This is why the report also gives recommendations on how Finland could take the human rights perspectives better into account in actions within the country.

The main implementer of the project was Oxford Research. In addition, the research team included experts from WOM World of Management, Radboud University Nijmegen and Opinio Juris. The report was published as part of the implementation of the analysis, assessment and research plan in support of decision-making by the Government (2018).

Inquiries: Anna Björk, Analyst, Oxford Research, tel. +358 44 203 2013, anna.bjork(at)oxfordresearch.fi and Janne Jokinen, Desk Officer, chair of the project steering group, Unit for Policy Planning and Research, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 295 350 043, janne.jokinen(at)formin.fi.