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Minister Häkkänen: Council of Europe’s system for protecting human rights must be defended especially in challenging times

Ministry of Justice 7.6.2017 14.05
Press release
Minister Häkkänen: Council of Europe’s system for protecting human rights must be defended especially in challenging times

The Finnish Minister of Justice Antti Häkkänen met with the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks today. Discussion topics included the functioning of the Council of Europe’s system for the protection of human rights and the rule of law and the current human rights situation in Europe.

Minister Häkkänen emphasised that the Council’s system for the protection of human rights must be defended especially in challenging times. “In recent years, we have witnessed a development where the core values and legal obligations of the Council have increasingly been questioned. Finland has been among the ones in the front line in nearly all topical human rights issues that have been raised in the Council of Europe. The binding norms issued by the Council have resulted in the creation of a unique system for protecting and monitoring human rights and the rule of law in Europe,” said Häkkänen.

Häkkänen and Muižnieks also discussed the current migration situation from the perspective of human rights.

The Finnish legislation on equality and non-discrimination was also touched upon. “Finland has established a functioning model in its non-discrimination legislation, and we have been praised for this,” Häkkänen said.

One of the special questions brought up at the meeting was the intelligence legislation that is being prepared in Finland. “Commissioner Muižnieks and I discussed the relationship between the intelligence legislation and fundamental rights.”

The basic task of the Council of Europe is to promote human rights, a pluralistic democracy and the rule of law. Finland will hold the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe from November 2018 to May 2019. The task of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights is to promote the implementation of human rights and awareness of and respect for human rights in general. The Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights was originally established on Finland’s initiative. The Commissioner for Human Rights has conducted an official visit to Finland in 2001 and 2012.

Inquiries: Lauri Koskentausta, Special Adviser, tel. +358 295 150 131