Practices and initiatives undertaken to combat hate crimes - submitted for the ODIHR's annual Hate Crime Report
8 items: Country is "Finland" and Year contains *
    8 items, format List, sorted by ID    
Project to encourage citizens, providers and moderators to report to the police on their observations of suspicious material on Internet

Country: Finland
Category: Addressing incitement of hatred on the internet

Summary: Hate speech on the Internet is a continuing problem all over the world. The legislation in Finland makes it possible to intervene, when one is spreading unlawful material on internet using a Finnish server or computer located in Finland. However the main challenge of combating racism and hate crimes on the Internet is that the Internet is worldwide ..... and the authorities have territorial jurisdiction. The international legal assistance and co-operation between authorities is crucial. There have been many successful efforts combating racism on Internet in co-operation between the competent authorities and relevant organisations. For example in Finland the police have started a project to encourage citizens, providers and moderators to report to the police on their observations of suspicious material on Internet.

In May 2008, the court convicted 2 perpetrators because of several aggravated defamations, ethnic agitation (or "incitement to hatred") and breach of the sanctity of the religion. The crimes were committed on the Internet. The perpetrators provided and maintained several blogs and websites available for the public. Those included false information, innuendoes, slanders concerning different persons and national, ethnic, racial or religious groups. One was sentenced to imprisonment for 2 years and 4 months (unconditional imprisonment) and the other perpetrator for 1 year and 2 months (conditional imprisonment). The court ordered blogs and websites to be shut down and removed. The court’s decision has been appealed to the higher court and therefore the decision is not final yet. This is not the first judgment in such cases in Finland but comparing the court decision with Finnish legal praxis it gives a significant signal to society that hate speech is not acceptable in any forms in Finland.
See also National action plan

Submitted for the 2008 Hate Crime Report

"Accepted to be heard and seen"

Country: Finland
Category: Combating racism in sports

Summary: Ministry of Education together with the Finnish Sports Federation has implemented antidiscrimination programmes targeted to sport clubs and their employees as well as visibility campaigns targeted to "common public". An example of such programmes is "Accepted to be heard and seen", a programme to raise awareness on LGBT-people in sports. The programme ..... consists of training sessions for professionals (coaches etc.) and sport club members, a guidebook and a training material for sports diversity trainers.

The programme is ongoing, further information:

Submitted for the 2008 Hate Crime Report

Resolution on the Internal Security Programme

Country: Finland
Category: National action plan

Summary: The Government adopted the Resolution on the Internal Security Programme in 2008. The Internal Security Programme is a Government Resolution that specifies the priorities, objectives and measures for the intersectional development of internal security. Several measures to improve security of immigrants and ethnic minorities are included. For example, ..... it will be ensured that legislation and the judicial system can efficiently address racist crimes and racist messages on the Internet by means of criminal law. The need for enacting an obligation for website hosts to monitor and remove material that fulfils the criteria of racist crime will be evaluated. Processing cases of racist crime will be enhanced by improving cooperation between the police and prosecutors, so that the motives for crimes will be examined in sufficient detail. Consideration will be given to whether persons reporting an offence should be offered the opportunity to provide further information at the reporting stage or the pre-trial investigation stage for purposes of compiling statistics pertaining to suspicions of discrimination crimes, such as the grounds for discrimination or ethnic background. An agreement will be reached on the definition of racist crime used in the judicial system for the purpose of developing monitoring. The continuity of qualitative research on the progressing of cases of suspected racist crime in the judicial system will be safeguarded, and sufficient research resources guaranteed. This research will show how suspicions of racist crime reported to the police progress to the prosecutors and the courts, and will thereby increase the scope for monitoring the functioning of the system.

The Internal Security Programme is available in English on$file/252008%20ENG.pdf

Submitted for the 2008 Hate Crime Report

Guidelines and instructions to prosecutors

Country: Finland
Category: Training for criminal justice system

Summary: The Prosecution Service has put special value on the processing of hate-prejudiced crimes and bias incidents in 2008. The Prosecutor General has also given guidelines and instructions to prosecutors. Certain types of crimes and other crimes with certain characteristics of hate or racist motive are always considered socially notable and each case shall ..... thus be reported to the Office of the Prosecutor General.

Submitted for the 2008 Hate Crime Report

Police instructions on promoting tolerance and prevent racism

Country: Finland
Category: Strengthening the response of law enforcement and prosecutors

Summary: In 1997, the Ministry of the Interior issued the police with instructions on promoting tolerance and preventing racism. The Ministry of the Interior’s Police Department issued instructions on how to classify offences involving racist features in the police report information system. According to the instructions, the police officer receiving a report ..... of a crime is required to make an appropriate entry in the police report form, if the report concerns a crime with racist characteristics.

In January 2004, the Ministry of the Interior’s Police Department revised its instructions on measures to be taken by the police to increase tolerance and combat racism. The main guidelines for police measures are:
- To follow closely organised and racist action-groups and intervene immediately in possible violations as appropriate
- To substantially lower the threshold for intervening in racist acts
- To develop training within police administration so that it is possible to intervene indetected incidents of discrimination more efficiently than before
- To aim to actively improve the qualifications of ethnic minorities to apply for positions within police administration
- To discuss ethnic issues in publications by the Supreme Police Command and police administration
- To improve the compilation of statistics and research related to the status of immigrants.

Furthermore, the instruction includes more detailed demands for carrying out measures. At the moment the instructions are being updated and reassessed. According to section 15 of the Criminal Investigations Act, the police is obliged to inform the prosecutor of any offences reported to and investigated by the police, if someone is suspected of the offences and the offences is not considered simple offence. Further instructions have been given in spring 2008 to the police and the prosecutor to ensure efficient and reliable processing e.g. police informs to prosecutor if the case is considered socially notable.

Submitted for the 2008 Hate Crime Report

One-year NGO Empowering Programme

Country: Finland
Category: Increasing reporting of hate crimes/community confidence

Initiator: National Anti-discrimination Campaign

Summary: Finland has previously taken measures to directly encourage victims of hate crimes for making reports to the police. The results show that the number of suspected racist reports to police has increased until 2007. In 2008 measures were taken to empower NGOs representing different groups exposed to discrimination (immigrant communities, the Roma, the ..... Sámi People, Muslim communities, LGBT-people, people with disability) to carry out anti-discrimination activities, to train their members for better identification of discrimination and to share information on equal opportunities and equal treatment. As a consequence of this one-year NGO Empowering Programme, various visibility campaigns and training seminars were organised, antidiscrimination materials and brochures for the victims of discrimination produced and disseminated. We hope that due to the Programme, potential victims of discrimination and hate crimes are one step more aware on their rights and report increasingly.

The Programme was implemented by the cross-sector National Anti-discrimination Campaign co-financed by the European Commission, Progress Programme.

Submitted for the 2008 Hate Crime Report

Project to improve and expand the monitoring of and statistics on racist crime to cover all hate crimes

Country: Finland
Category: Strengthening data collection

Initiator: Police College of Finland

Summary: Although the Finnish racist crime monitoring system is rated as comprehensive by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, the system is in the progress of developing. So far, there is no information available in Finland on how many hate crimes, other than cases of racist crime, are reported to the police.

As a part of the national anti-discrimination ..... campaign, the Police College of Finland started in November 2008 a project to improve and expand the monitoring of and statistics on racist crime to cover all hate crimes. The first statistical publication on hate crimes was published in December 2009 with extensive media coverage. The research covers hate-crimes reported to the police concerning the following grounds of discrimination: ethnic origin, sexual orientation and expression of gender identity (LGBT persons), religion and disability. A similar research will be made in the future on annual basis.

The results of the research will be reported for the OSCE/ODIHR 2009 report.

Submitted for the 2008 Hate Crime Report

Comparative survey study on processing racist crimes in the Finnish juridical system

Country: Finland
Category: Strengthening data collection

Initiator: Police College of Finland

Summary: The study focused on 107 reports of an offence with racist characteristics filed in the Helsinki jurisdictional district in 2006. The purpose of the study was to explore how suspected crimes with racist characteristics progress in the judicial system from the pre-trial investigation through prosecution to court proceedings. Another purpose was to explore ..... how the officials take the racist characteristics of a deed and its possible racial motivation into account at various stages in the criminal justice process.

According to the results, 46 % of the crimes reported to the police were submitted to the prosecutor for the consideration of charges. The most common reasons for suspected crimes not progressing from the police to the prosecutor were that the suspects remained unknown, or that the victim had presented no demands in the case or that the victim had withdrawn the demand. More than two thirds of the suspects in the cases submitted for consideration of charges were charged with at least one crime. The most common reason for the prosecutor deciding to waive charges was the same as the statistically most common reason for decisions to waive charges – insufficient evidence.

The results indicate that suspected crimes with racist characteristics progress just like 'ordinary' crimes in the criminal justice process. Instead, problems in the progress of suspected crimes with racist characteristics have to do with the identification and investigation of racial motivation and taking it into account as grounds for increasing the punishment. This however is not a problem exclusive to Finland; it has also been observed in studies implemented in other countries.

The study was published November 2008 and is available in Finnish and English on:$file/Raportteja73_Peutere_eng_suojattu.pdf

Submitted for the 2008 Hate Crime Report
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  • Addressing incitement of hatred on the internet (1)
  • Combating racism in sports (1)
  • Increasing reporting of hate crimes/community confidence (1)
  • National action plan (1)
  • Strengthening data collection (2)
  • Strengthening the response of law enforcement and prosecutors (1)
  • Training for criminal justice system (1)
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