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Finnish report Finnish report
by Euro Reporter
2011-01-22 09:28:29
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Finland not ratifying indigenous peoples Convention

Finland will not ratify the UN convention upholding the rights of its indigenous Sámi population in this government’s term, reports media group Alma Media. The EU has pressed Finland to ratify the document, as Finland and Sweden remain the only EU countries yet to do so.

Minister of Justice Tuija Brax of the Greens said to an Alma Media newspaper that the Centre Party is to blame for the failure of the framework law, which has long been under at preparation at the Ministry of Justice.  Land ownership in Sámi territories is at the heart of the dispute. Under the terms of the framework law, the land currently belonging to the state would not be given over to Sámi ownership, but indigenous people's rights to the use of the lands would be significantly expanded.

The UN has criticised Finland for not ratifying the ILO 169 Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention. Of other countries with a significant Sámi population, Sweden and Russia have not ratified the document either, while Norway has done so.  On Thursday, the EU demanded of Finland and Sweden that they ratify the convention as soon as possible. The current legislative term in Finland ends in mid-March 2011.


Finland convicts Latvian human traffickers

A Finnish court has convicted four Latvians of trafficking people into Finland through the Baltic states and Russia. The Helsinki district court said the group had smuggled or tried to smuggle 80 people from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria between 2008 and 2009.

The three men and a woman received jail sentences ranging from 14 months to five-and-a-half years. It is the largest human trafficking case in the Nordic country to date.

The group - who were linked to an international smuggling ring operating in Europe - were also ordered to pay fines and damages totalling some $135,000 (£85,000), the Associated Press reported. Victims were said to have paid about $10,000 each to be smuggled into Europe.


Finland also opposes Bulgarian and Romanian Schengen accession

Finland is also opposed to Bulgaria and Romania joining the Schengen zone, so supporting the Franco-German stance, according to a Finnish government spokesperson, Dnevnik daily reported on January 21 2011. "Finland's committee for European affairs took the official position on the matter in a meeting last week," Mikko Norros said.

Eartlier on January 21, Germany said it was against the entry of Bulgaria and Romania into the Schengen zone because both countries had not reaped sufficient results in the fight against corruption, international media reported.

Bulgaria and Romania were praised for their "hard work" and efforts to meet the technical requirements of joining the Schengen zone, but not enough reforms had been enacted in the two countries' respective judiciaries. More also needed to be achieved in the fight against corruption, German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said.

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