Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, published today a report on the human rights situation of Finland, based on a country visit in June. The human rights organization Seta – LGBTI Rights in Finland welcomes Muiznieks´ views.
The Commissioner urges Finland to abolish infertility and non-marriage as requirements for gender reassignment. He also demands that the specific protection needs of intersex persons, including intersex children, should be identified and addressed in cooperation with civil society organisations. These are requirements that have been strongly put forward by Seta and a wide range of other civil society organisations, but they were left out of the government´s National Plan of Action for human rights in early 2012.
According to the Commissioner, the reform of equal treatment legislation should address the current gaps concerning the grounds of sexual orientation, and special focus should be on the mandate and expertise of an independent monitoring mechanism, such as an ombudsman, within employment. The authorities should give particular attention to improving the protection afforded to trans people and intersex persons.
The Commissioner welcomes the explicit prohibition of homophobic hate crime in the Penal Code. He urges the Finnish authorities to extend the prohibition also to hate crime with specific reference to gender identity.
In the report it is stated that the government should assess whether the recently founded inter-ministerial network of contact persons for human rights can provide sufficient coordination for LGBTI-related issues, or whether a particular ministry should be entrusted with the task specifically.
Seta finds the Commissioner´s recommendations very important and central to the human rights situation of LGBTI people in Finland. Seta hopes that the authorities take action to implement the recommendation without further delay. For example, a decision has been made already in January in the ministry for social affairs and health to establish a working group for reviewing the law on gender reassignment but the decision has still not been implemented.
Report on Finland by the CoE Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks: https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=1977837
More information about Seta´s views: Aija Salo, Secretary General, Seta – LGBTI Rights in Finland, email firstname.lastname@example.org