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‘A status’ has again been awarded to the Finnish National Human Rights Institution

The highest possible status, the ‘A status’, has again been awarded to the National Human Rights Institution of Finland. The decision to grant the status was taken by the Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) and became final at the end of the year. The Finnish National Human Rights Institution was awarded ‘A status’ for the first time in 2014. The accredited status is reassessed every five years. 

National human rights institutions are independent and autonomous bodies established by law to promote and safeguard human rights. Their position, duties and composition are defined by the criteria approved by the UN in 1993, the Paris Principles. Human rights institutions with the ‘A status’ fully meet these requirements.

The National Human Rights Institution of Finland consists of the Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Human Rights Centre along with its Human Rights Delegation.  The ‘A status’ will be formally awarded in March at the UN office in Geneva.

By virtue of its ‘A status’, the Finnish National Human Rights Institution is accorded speaking rights at the UN Human Rights Council and voting rights at GANHRI meetings. The ‘A status’ is considered highly significant in the UN and, in more general terms, in international cooperation.

There are 80 national human rights institutions in the world with ‘A status’. In total, there are now 123 human rights institutions.

Duties of the Finnish National Human Rights Institution

The duty of the Ombudsman is to monitor that all authorities and civil servants comply with the law and fulfil their responsibilities. The Ombudsman has a particular duty to ensure that fundamental and human rights are upheld. In addition, the Ombudsman has been assigned certain special duties, such as the secret coercive measures used by the police and the realisation of children’s rights. The Ombudsman also acts as the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) referred to in the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.As the NPM, the Ombudsman may inspect places where persons deprived of their liberty are held.

The Human Rights Centre is tasked with promoting information,  training, education and research associated with fundamental and human rights. The Centre also prepares reports on the realisation of these rights, takes initiatives  and issues statements for the promotion of the rights, and participates in international cooperation in the area. The Centre does not handle complaints. 

The Human Rights Centre’s Delegation functions as a national cooperative body for fundamental and human rights actors. The Delegation deals with far-reaching and significant matters of fundamental and human rights and approves the Centre’s plan of action and annual report. The Delegation is chaired by the Director of the Human Rights Centre and has 20–40 members who serve terms of four years.

For further information, please contact expert Kristiina Kouros, kristiina.kouros@eduskunta.fi, tel. +358 9 4321 3782