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UN Human Rights Council to discuss gender equality, Finnish education system and several conflicts at its summer session

Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Publication date 18.6.2024 7.55 | Published in English on 18.6.2024 at 8.01
Press release

The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold its 56th session in Geneva, Switzerland, from 18 June to 12 July.

The summer session will focus on the rights of women and girls and gender equalityand on the prevention of violence and discrimination against sexual and gender minorities. These issues are of longstanding importance to Finland. Finland will make a strong contribution to negotiations on the prevention of discrimination against women and girls and on the promotion of menstrual hygiene and health.

Special Rapporteur Richard Bennett will present to the Council his report on the systematic discrimination and segregation of women and girls in Afghanistan. Minister for Foreign Affairs Elina Valtonen will speak about Afghanistan on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries. 

The Council will also discuss rights of participation, such as freedom of expression and the right to peaceful demonstration, and issues related to climate change and business.

Special Rapporteur on the right to education Farida Shaheed will submit to the Council her report on Finland and the recommendations made to Finland. Shaheed visited Finland in 2023 to find out more about the Finnish education system. Finland will participate in the dialogue on Shaheed’s report and its recommendations.      

In addition to the dialogues on Afghanistan, the Council will hold dialogues on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the situation in the Palestinian territory and the human rights situation in Burundi, Sudan, Syria, Myanmar and Belarus. The commission of inquiry on the Palestinian territory established by the Council will deliver a report. The commission of inquiry has collected information on the actions of all parties in the conflict of Gaza since the terrorist attack by Hamas on 7 October 2023.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will give an overview of the situation in Ukraine. The OHCHR has carried out important, independent work in registering civilian victims since the start of Russia’s illegal aggression against Ukraine. The Nordic and Baltic countries will deliver joint statements during the Council’s dialogues on these themes.

Finland will organise a side event with Ukraine on the environmental damage that Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has caused and its human rights implications.  With Belgium, Finland will organise a side event on the right to adequate housing for Syrian women. 

The Human Rights Council is the UN’s most important intergovernmental body protecting and promoting human rights. Finland’s three-year membership of the UN Human Rights Council will continue until the end of 2024. At the Council, Finland works to promote and protect universal human rights. Ambassador Heidi Schroderus-Fox, Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations Office at Geneva, is one of the Council’s Vice-Presidents.

Learn more:


  • Ann-Mari Fröberg, Team Leader, Unit for Human Rights Policy, tel. +358 295 350 896
  • The email addresses of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are in the format [email protected].