UN Committee against Torture issues findings on Finland
Press Release 230/2016
7 December 2016
The United Nations’ Committee against Torture (CAT) has considered the seventh periodic report of Finland on the implementation of the provisions of the Convention against Torture. The session included a public, oral hearing with the Finnish delegation. The committee published its concluding observations on 7 December in Geneva, Switzerland.
The committee welcomes Finland’s ratification of several international human rights treaties and its designation of the Parliamentary Ombudsman as the National Preventive Mechanism under the Convention against Torture.
It also takes a positive view of a revision of the Aliens Act prohibiting the detention of underage asylum seekers, the transfer of inmates’ health services to the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) as well as the adoption of a National Action Plan to Reduce Violence against Women for 2010-2015 and the Action Plan for the Prevention of Circumcision (FGM) of Girls and Women for the years 2012-2016.
In its findings, the committee expresses concern over issues including the length of detention of remand prisoners in police detention facilities, the use of handcuffs during transport of prisoners and police use of tasers in closed environments such as police stations.
In regard to asylum seekers, the committee is concerned about recent legislative changes that may weaken asylum seekers’ legal safeguards and increased the risk of their return to countries where they may be subject to persecution.
Other areas of concern included the identification of victims of torture among asylum seekers, the use of protective custody for asylum seekers, particularly in connection with deportation, a lack of statistical data on detained asylum seekers and undocumented people, as well as insufficient recognition and protection of victims of human trafficking.
The committee repeated its concern about the use of cells without toilets, the statute of limitations for acts of torture, the detention of minors in the same prisons as adults and about violence against women.
The findings are accompanied by recommendations. Finland must report to the committee on the implementation of some of these within a year. Finland’s next periodic report on its adoption of the Convention against Torture is due in 2020.
The seventh periodic report of Finland on the implementation of the provisions of the Convention against Torture and the committee’s concluding observations and recommendations are available on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs website at: http://formin.finland.fi/public/default.aspx?contentid=67689
For further information: Legal Counsellor Päivi Rotola-Pukkila, Unit for Human Rights Courts and Conventions, tel. +358 295 351 922.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ e-mail addresses are in the following form [email protected]