On 31 December 2019, Parliamentary Ombudsman Petri Jääskeläinen appointed Sirpa Rautio, Master of Laws with court training, to her third term as Director of the Human Rights Centre, having received an opinion from the Constitutional Law Committee in support of her appointment. The Director’s term of office is four years, and the new term begins on 1 March 2020.
The Director of the Human Rights Centre also chairs the Human Rights Delegation.
Sirpa Rautio, Master of Laws with court training, has held positions of responsibility in the areas of fundamental rights and human rights since 1993. In 2012, she left her position at the World Bank in Washington, where she handled human rights duties associated with the Nordic Trust Fund, to become the Director of the Human Rights Centre.
Rautio had previously held positions including advisor to the European Council’s Commissioner for Human Rights in Strasbourg, as well as manager of the Human Rights and Equality Office of the EU’s Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, unit manager at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in Warsaw, and various human rights roles for the UN in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Rautio served as a member of the management board of the European Agency for Fundamental Rights from 2015 to 2017, and she has chaired the board since 2017.
Eight applicants declared their candidacy for the position of Director of the Human Rights Centre.
An independent institution
The Human Rights Centre is tasked with monitoring the realisation of fundamental and human rights, promoting related communication, training, education and research, preparing reports on the realisation of fundamental and human rights, and launching initiatives and issuing statements for the promotion and realisation of fundamental and human rights.
The Centre also participates in European and international cooperation associated with promoting and safeguarding fundamental and human rights.
The Human Rights Centre operates autonomously and independently, although administratively it is part of the Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman.