Authorities and Governmental Networks on Human Rights

Advisory councils and committees

The Non-Discrimination and Equality Board is an autonomous and independent legal protection body appointed by the government. It monitors compliance with the Non-Discrimination Act and Gender Equality Act both in private activity and in public administration and business. Issues which come under the sphere of private or family life and religious practice are not part of the Board's area of competence.

The Non-Discrimination and Equality Board was established by the new Non-Discrimination Act which entered into force at the start of 2015. The former National Discrimination Tribunal and Equality Tribunal were abolished at the same time.

Further information

The advisory board on non-discrimination (yhdenvertaisuusasioiden neuvottelukunta) operates in conjunction with the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman. The board is responsible for the general promotion of non-discrimination, serving as a channel for dialogue and exchange of information between non-discrimination actors and authorities, and reviewing questions relating to non-discrimination.

The board supersedes the former advisory board for minority issues (vähemmistöasiain neuvottelukunta). At the same time, the area of competence of the new board was extended to include all bases of discrimination except discrimination on the basis of gender or gender identity, which is part of the remit of the Council for Gender Equality.

Further information

The Council for Gender Equality is a parliamentary advisory council which is appointed by the government for a parliamentary term.

The purpose of the council is to promote gender equality in society. It highlights structures that help to maintain gender inequality and actively works to remove them. The council works to combat gender discrimination, improve women’s status and dismantle stereotypical gender norms.

Further information

The National Advisory Board on Romani Affairs serves as a cooperation and expert body liaising between the Roma people and the authorities. It is responsible for promoting equal opportunities for civic engagement and improving the economic, social and cultural conditions for the Roma.

The advisory board operates under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. It is appointed by the government for a three-year period at a time. The board consists of a chair, deputy chair and up to 16 members. Half of the members are Roma representatives.

Further information

The Advisory Board for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the national coordinating mechanism for the UN Convention of on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Its function is to promote national implementation of the Convention and to take into account the rights of persons with disabilities in all aspects of government.

The advisory board operates under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. It consists of representatives of ministries, persons with disabilities and their families, labour market organisations as well as representatives from regional and local government.

Further information

Regional state administrative agencies

The agencies promote the implementation of fundamental rights that have a bearing on citizens’ well-being in various areas of responsibility and review complaints relating to them.

Occupational safety and health districts monitor issues relating to e.g. workplace discrimination, harassment and work conditions at a regional level.

The basic services, legal rights and permits branch promotes the implementation of fundamental rights and legal protection that influence citizens’ well-being and health. It steers and oversees municipal and private health and social care and issues permits to private health and social care service providers. In addition, the branch carries out an annual assessment of the statutory and equal implementation of access to basic services. The branch is also responsible for promoting the legal rights of pupils and students, for example, by disseminating information and serving as an appeal authority.

Further information:

Enforcement and reporting violations
Workplace discrimination, non-discrimination
Workplace discrimination, unfair treatment

Human Rights networks
Government network of contact persons for fundamental and human rights

The Network of Contact Persons for Fundamental and Human Rights consists of representatives from each ministry. It also has expert representatives from the Office of the Chancellor of Justice and the Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

The network clarifies the handling of fundamental and human rights issues and expedites information flow within the Council of State. The network also seeks to increase the awareness of fundamental and human rights in the different sectors of administration.

The network has followed the implementation of the National Action Plan on Fundamental and Human Rights and prepared a report on human rights policy. The network also reviews the situation of fundamental and human rights in Finland, the implementation of Finland’s human rights obligations and commitments and the related periodic reporting.

Human Rights in Foreign Policy

On 8 April 2020, the Government re-appointed the Advisory Board for International Human Rights, operating under the administration of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Its task is to follow international human rights questions and to issue statements on related matters that are of fundamental importance.

The Advisory Board consists of representatives of all parliamentary groups and different civil society organisations engaged in human rights work. 

In accordance with the Government Programme, a report on human rights will be prepared during the government term, and Finland is seeking membership of the UN Human Rights Council for 2022–2024.

Ministry for Foreign Affairs' press release