Submission: The Human Rights Centre provided additional information to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
May 8, 2023
As part of the periodic reporting on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, last autumn the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) asked the Finnish Government questions about the implementation of children's rights in Finland. Finland answered the questions in March 2023. The Human Rights Centre (HRC) provided the Committee with updated information related to Finland's responses.
In its earlier statement, the HRC addressed issues such as the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on children and young people and the rights of children with disabilities as well as immigrant, LGBTI, Sámi and Roma children. In its statement on additional information, the HRC emphasised that the draft recommendations issued by the HRC to the CRC last time are still topical. In addition, the HRC critically assessed the responses provided by Finland in certain respects and provided the Committee with more detailed information on the situation of the rights of the child.
"Children's rights have been brought up a lot in celebratory speeches, but statistics and studies show that too many children are suffering and that there is plenty to do in terms of children's rights," says Sirpa Rautio, Director of the Human Rights Centre.
In its further statement, the HRC pointed out that the assessments of fundamental and human rights impacts related to children are inadequate in legislative projects. A guide has been prepared to support the impact assessment of legislative drafting, but it does not guarantee that the authorities have sufficient competence to assess the impacts of legal acts on children's well-being, development and growth environment. The HRC requires that the authorities be offered obligatory training on fundamental and human rights in order to promote children's rights.
In its statement, the HRC also discussed violence against children, the right of children with disabilities to education, the right of children to adequate mental health services and the right of children who have disappeared from child welfare substitute care, i.e. children who have left the place of care without permission. Finland has shortcomings in safeguarding children's rights, and these must be addressed promptly.
"The new Country Review on the implementation of the Lanzarote Convention on ending the sexual abuse and exploitation of children has also identified several development areas for the protection of children," Rautio points out.
Background and further process
The Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the UN in 1989. Finland ratified the Convention in 1991. States that have ratified the Convention are obliged to report periodically to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on the implementation of the Convention. The Committee is now simultaneously considering Finland's 5th and 6th report and, among other things, the first report of the Additional Protocol on Trafficking in Children.
The Committee consults the Finnish Government on 15 -16 May 2023. At the end of the session, the Committee will issue conclusions and recommendations to Finland to promote children's rights. In its work, the Committee draws on the opinions issued by NGOs, authorities and the National Human Rights Institution (Human Rights Centre, its Human Rights Delegation and Parliamentary Ombudsman) in its preparation and drafting of recommendations. In 2022, the HRC issued a comprehensive opinion to the CRC and participated in the preparatory session of the CRC.