Report: The Human Rights Centre submitted draft recommendations to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
Aug 15, 2022
The draft recommendations were given for the consideration of the Finnish Government's periodic report on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In its report, the Human Rights Centre addressed, among other things, the effects of the corona pandemic on children and young people, as well as the rights of children who are disabled, migrants, Sámi, Roma or belong to LGBTI groups.
The Human Rights Centre emphasized the need to develop opportunities for children who speak Swedish or minority languages to receive education in their own language. For example, there is a shortage of Swedish-, Sámi- and Romani-speaking teachers. There are also not enough resources to properly organize education. The Human Rights Centre recommended, among other things, that Finland should enhance the efforts to educate more Swedish and minority language teachers, enable Sámi children access to basic education in their own language even outside the Sámi homeland, and protect the right of children whose first language is sign language to receive early education.
Another central topic was children’s right to health. The corona pandemic has caused inequality between, for example, municipalities and regions. The strengthening of the child's right to self-determination in social welfare and health care as well as the opportunity for disabled children to receive disability services were also highlighted in the report.
The Government's report did not discuss the situation of children and young people belonging to sexual and gender minorities at all. According to the Government's draft proposal for the reform of the Trans Act, one of the requirements of the recognition of gender will continue to be that the person is at least 18 years old. The Human Rights Centre recommended that trans children's right to self-determination over their gender and gender identity must be respected in the ongoing reform. Furthermore, Finland should introduce a legal ban on medically unnecessary procedures on intersex children done without their free and informed prior consent.
The Human Rights Centre also emphasized the consideration of the best interests of the child in migration matters. For example, family reunification should be accessible for all beneficiaries of international protection without discrimination. In addition, the Human Rights Centre addressed the development of human rights structures, the impact of climate change on children, violence against girls and children with disabilities, the lack of resources in child welfare, discrimination against Roma children, and the rights of the child in connection with corporate responsibility.