The United States warmly welcomes Minister Heidi Hautala and the Finnish delegation to the UPR Working Group.
We congratulate Finland for its record on the human rights of LGBT individuals and its efforts to protect and promote those rights.
Although the government has made some positive efforts, we are concerned about the excessive length of judicial proceedings and the occasional failure to provide detainees timely access to legal counsel.
We commend Finland for its effective system for monitoring trafficking in persons and its active national rapporteur. However, more work needs to be done in identifying victims and making sure they receive appropriate support services. In some cases, men and women who may have been victims of trafficking were deported rather than properly referred to victim assistance centers.
Finally, we are concerned by reports of societal discrimination against ethnic minority residents in Finland.
Bearing in mind these concerns, the United States makes the following recommendations:
- Allocate additional resources to the judicial system as necessary to ensure timely due process;
- Implement existing procedures upholding internationally recognized standards in combating trafficking in persons and conduct necessary training for law enforcement to properly identify and protect victims of trafficking; and
- Establish broad public outreach programs to discourage discrimination against ethnic minority residents in Finland.