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Language Report discusses the realisation of linguistic rights

Ministry of Justice
Publication date 9.12.2021 13.43
Press release

In its Plenary Session today, on 9 December, the Government decided to submit the Government Report on the Application of Linguistic Rights to Parliament. The Language Report, compiled during each electoral term, contains up-to-date information on the situation in Finland in terms of languages, structures supporting linguistic rights and the impact of administrative changes on language groups.

The main themes of the Language Report of 2021 are digitalisation and the realisation of linguistic rights in teaching, in the police and rescue services and in emergency response centre activities. An analysis of how linguistics rights are realised when a private operator carries out public tasks is also included.

- Linguistic rights are fundamental rights and they are well protected by law. However, there are still shortcomings in how the rights are being realised in practice. To make sure that these rights are duly respected we need better awareness, changes in attitudes, more staff with adequate language skills and ways to organise services in different languages, says Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson.

- Key questions in the Language Report include the differences in access to services in Finnish and Swedish and supply and proper functioning of interpretation services. Safeguarding linguistic rights should be taken into account already when planning the operations so that they are put to practice as part of the regular service process, Minister Henriksson continues. 

Adequate information on the needs and good planning and design of the services are seen as the key measures to ensure the realisation of linguistic rights.

According to the Language Report, the number of lessons in mother tongue and literature should be increased in primary and secondary education so that teaching could place more emphasis on writing skills using standard language. The provision of education in the Swedish language should be developed in a goal-oriented way at all levels and simultaneously with education provided in Finnish. In basic education, it would be important to increase especially the availability of Sámi-speaking staff and to expand distance learning. In early childhood education, care and teaching and in their development it is still important to pay attention to children using sign language 

Based on the Report, the provision of further and special training in the Swedish language and of online courses in Swedish for the police are insufficient to ensure equal training within the police organisation. In terms of digitalisation, the Language Report points out that it is the responsibility of the central government to make sure that linguistic rights and access to services in different languages are duly taken into account in public digital services. In the future it is also important to assess the impacts of the health and social services reform on the realisation of linguistic rights in health, social and rescue services. 

Government report on application of language legislation 2021

Inquiries:
Linda Lindholm, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 150 051, [email protected]

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