Finland Not Ratifying Indigenous Peoples Convention

Image: YLE UutisgrafiikkaFinland will not ratify the UN convention upholding the rights of its indigenous Sámi population in this government’s term, reports media group Alma Media. The EU has pressed Finland to ratify the document, as Finland and Sweden remain the only EU countries yet to do so.

Minister of Justice Tuija Brax of the Greens said to an Alma Media newspaper that the Centre Party is to blame for the failure of the framework law, which has long been under at preparation at the Ministry of Justice.

Land ownership in Sámi territories is at the heart of the dispute. Under the terms of the framework law, the land currently belonging to the state would not be given over to Sámi ownership, but indigenous people’s rights to the use of the lands would be significantly expanded.

The UN has criticised Finland for not ratifying the ILO 169 Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention. Of other countries with a significant Sámi population, Sweden and Russia have not ratified the document either, while Norway has done so.

On Thursday, the EU demanded of Finland and Sweden that they ratify the convention as soon as possible. The current legislative term in Finland ends in mid-March 2011.

Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb admitted that the situation is detrimental for Finland’s foreign policy.

Yle News

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