Republic of Finland
Head of state Sauli Niinistö (replaced Tarja Halonen)
Head of government Jyrki Katainen
Asylum-seekers faced detention in unsuitable facilities. An investigation began into Finland's involvement in the US-led rendition programme. Conscientious objectors to military service were imprisoned.
Migrants and asylum-seekers
At least 1,300 migrants and asylum-seekers were detained during the year. Over 65% were detained in police facilities with people facing criminal charges (contrary to international standards), without access to services, such as rehabilitation for victims of torture and education. An unaccompanied minor was held in the Metsälä Detention Centre for three months in the same facilities as adults and without access to education.
The asylum process still did not provide for an in-country suspensive right of appeal, increasing the risk of people being returned to countries where they might risk torture or other ill-treatment.
In August, a Chechen asylum-seeker was forcibly returned to Russia while his appeal was pending before the Supreme Administrative Court. An hour later, the UN Committee against Torture granted interim measures preventing his return, but the authorities removed him anyway.
Violence against women and girls
In September, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights reported that violence against women continued to be a serious problem. Women and girls remained inadequately protected from rape and other forms of sexual violence. Rape continued to be categorized according to the degree of violence used or threatened by the perpetrator, and few cases reached court or concluded in a guilty verdict.
Counter-terror and security
The Parliamentary Ombudsman of Finland started an investigation into the state's complicity in the CIA rendition programme. The Ombudsman has the power to review classified information and to lay charges against any state actor who may have committed crimes in the course of official duties. In November, the Ombudsman sent detailed written requests for information to 15 government agencies.
On 30 April, the Helsinki Court of Appeals confirmed the conviction of François Bazaramba for crimes of genocide committed in Rwanda in 1994. On 22 October the Supreme Court dismissed François Bazaramba's application for leave to appeal.
Excessive use of force
- On 26 May, a 30-year-old man died in custody at Vantaa police station, after police officers had used an electro-stun device on him. The incident was being investigated to assess whether his death was directly caused by the device.
- In August, police in Miehikkälä used an electro-stun device against a 14-year-old boy, injuring his arm. An investigation into the incident was dropped by the state prosecutor.
Prisoners of conscience
Conscientious objectors to military service continued to be imprisoned for refusing to perform the alternative civilian service, as it remains punitive and discriminatory in length.
Amnesty International visits/reports
- Finland: Limited inquiries into rendition programme fail to meet obligation of investigation under international human rights law (EUR 20/001/2012)