UN Committee blasts Finland over electorate ruling for Sami Parliament

The UN has blasted Finland’s administrative courts for adding people to the electoral register for the Sami parliament against the wishes of the parliament’s Sami members. (Vesa Toppari/Yle)
The UN has criticised Finland’s administrative courts for adding 93 people to the electoral register for the Sami parliament against the wishes of the Sami members of that parliament, who did not regard those 93 people as Sami.

A complaint was lodged with the United Nations Human Rights Committee by Tiina Sanila-Aikio, President of the Sami Parliament. She argued that the addition of 93 people to the register in 2015 violated the rights of the Sami as an indigenous people to decide who is a member of their community.

The committee agreed, stating in its ruling that the Supreme Administrative Court “infringed on the capacity of the Sami people, through its Parliament, to exercise a key dimension of Sami self-determination in determining who is a Sami”.

The committee recommended that Finland change the Sami Parliament law to ensure Sami self-determination is fully respected, and that Finland take action to ensure that similar violations don’t occur in the future.

Note: An earlier version of this article did not state which UN committee had issued the ruling. It was the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Indigenous man in Northern Canada waiting for territorial government to waive name change fees, CBC News

Finland: Finnish gov pulls bill to ratify convention on Indigenous peoples’ rights, Yle News

Sweden: Report sheds light on Swedish minority’s historic mistreatment, Radio Sweden

United States: Inuit leaders meeting in Alaska seek greater voice in governance, Radio Canada International

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