Finland Human Rights - History

Finland Human Rights - History


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A. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining

The law provides for the right to form and join independent unions, bargain collectively, and conduct legal strikes. The law prohibits antiunion discrimination and any restriction or obstruction of these rights.

The government effectively enforced all applicable laws regarding the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. Employers who violate the rights of employees to organize and retain employee representatives may face administrative measures, legal proceedings, and fines. The penalties were generally sufficient to deter violations. Authorities and employers generally respected freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, and there were no reports of violations.

The law does not permit public-sector employees who provide “essential services,” including police officers, firefighters, medical professionals, and border guards, to strike. An official dispute board can make nonbinding recommendations to the cabinet on ending or limiting the duration of strikes when they threaten national security. Employees prohibited from striking can use arbitration to provide for due process in the resolution of their concerns.

B. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor. The government effectively enforced the law. Penalties for forced or compulsory labor depend on the severity of the crime and range from four months to 10 years in prison. Despite strong penalties for violations, some cases of persons subjected to conditions of forced labor in the country were reported during the year.

Men and women were subjected to conditions of forced labor in the construction, restaurant, agriculture, metal, and transport sectors and as cleaners, gardeners, and domestic servants.

The debate on seasonal berry pickers’ situation continued during the year, as the trial of a man charged with trafficking 26 Thai berry pickers began in March. According to media reports, the number of seasonal wild berry pickers from Thailand decreased in part because the Thai government warned potential workers about reports of low pay in Finland. Yle reported that the Finnish embassy in Bangkok received slightly more than 2,000 visa applications for berry pickers compared with 3,000 most other years.

News media reported that numerous asylum seekers worked without pay in the restaurant industry, a barbershop, and at least one retail shop. In May, Yle reported that a labor inspector discovered that asylum seekers worked several months without pay in a restaurant in Lahti. The asylum seekers first began working for the restaurant through a three-week internship arranged by an asylum reception center. According to Yle, the center’s director stated that it advised asylum seekers not to work for free, but many did so voluntarily.

Also see the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.

C. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

The law allows persons between the ages of 15 and 18 to enter into a valid employment contract as long as the work does not interrupt compulsory education. It provides that workers who are 15 to 18 years of age may not work after 10 p.m. or under conditions that risk their health and safety, which the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health defines as working with mechanical, chemical, physical, or biological hazards or bodily strain that may result from lifting heavy loads.

Penalties for violations of child labor regulations range from a fine to up to 12 months in prison. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment effectively enforced child labor regulations. There were no reports of children engaged in work outside the parameters established by law.

D. Discrimination with Respect to Employment and Occupation

The Center for Occupational Safety (OSHA) received 500 reports of work place discrimination in 2016. Of the reports that resulted in further inspection, 14 percent concerned ethnicity, nationality, language, or religion while 24 percent involved alleged discrimination based on age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender. The law requires equal pay for equal work, but there appeared to be a gap in pay between male and female employees.

E. Acceptable Conditions of Work

While there is no national minimum wage law, the law requires all employers, including nonunionized employers, to pay the minimum wages stipulated in collective bargaining agreements. Authorities adequately enforced wage laws.

The standard workweek established by law is no more than 40 hours of work per week with eight hours work per day. The law does not include a provision regarding a five-day workweek, so regular work hours may, at least in principle, span six days. The regular weekly work hours can also be arranged so that the average is 40 hours over a period of no more than 52 weeks. Certain occupations, such as seamen, household workers, road transport workers, and workers in bakeries, are subject to separate workweek regulations. The law entitles employees working shifts or during the weekend to one 24-hour rest period per week. The law limits a worker to 250 hours of overtime per year and 138 overtime hours in any four-month period. Employees are entitled to paid annual holidays and leave.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for labor policy and implementation, drafting labor legislation, improving the viability of working life and its quality, and promoting employment. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for enforcement of labor laws and regulations. In addition, OSHA enforces appropriate safety and health standards and conducts inspections at workplaces. Individuals who commit work safety offenses are subject to a fine or imprisonment for a maximum of one year; individuals who commit working hours offenses are subject to a fine or imprisonment for a maximum of six months. The center informs employers of inspections in advance unless a surprise inspection is necessary for enforcement purposes. A subsequent inspection report gives employers written advice on how to remedy minor defects. In the case of serious violations, the inspector issues an improvement notice and monitors the employer’s compliance. When necessary, OSHA may issue a binding decision and impose a fine. If a hazardous situation involved a risk to life, an inspector can halt work on the site or issue a prohibition notice concerning the source of risk.

Authorities adequately enforced wage and overtime laws. Government resources, inspections, and penalties were adequate to deter most violations.

The law requires employees to report any hazards or risks they discover in working conditions, including in machinery, equipment, or work methods. The law also requires employees, where possible, to correct dangerous conditions that come to their attention. Such corrective measures must be reported to the employer. The law provides employees the right to refuse work that may present a serious danger to their lives or health or the lives or health of others and not to be held liable for any damages that arise from their refusal to work.

According to a 2014 (latest available data) Ministry of Social Affairs and Health report on occupational safety and health, workplace safety concerns were most common in the construction, logistics, health-care, household, and maintenance sectors. According to media reports, men and women faced labor law abuses at approximately equal rates in the construction, restaurant, and health-care services industries.


FINLAND - SOCIETY COMMITTED TO GENDER EQUALITY

Finland has a good track record in gender equality. The Global Gender Gap Report 2018 ranks Finland as 4 th in the world. Finland is a country where women usually work full-time and enjoy equal access to education and healthcare. It is also where women are most likely to be able to participate fully in the country’s political and economic life. As provided for in the Constitution the Finnish society is committed to gender equality.


Contents

Paleolithic Edit

If confirmed, the oldest archeological site in Finland would be the Wolf Cave in Kristinestad, in Ostrobothnia. The site would be the only pre-glacial (Neanderthal) site so far discovered in the Nordic Countries, and it is approximately 125,000 years old. [5]

Mesolithic Edit

The last ice age in the area of the modern-day Finland ended c. 9000 BC. Starting about that time, people migrated to the area of Finland from the South and South-East. Their culture represented mixture of Kunda, Butovo [fi] , and Veretje cultures [fi] . At the same time, northern Finland was inhabited via the coast of Norway. [6] The oldest confirmed evidence of the post-glacial human settlements in Finland are from the area of Ristola in Lahti and from Orimattila, from c. 8900 BC. Finland has been continuously inhabited at least since the end of the last ice age, up to the present. [7] The earliest post-glacial inhabitants of the present-day area of Finland were probably mainly seasonal hunter-gatherers. Among finds is the net of Antrea, the oldest fishing net known ever to have been excavated (calibrated carbon dating: ca. 8300 BC).

Neolithic Edit

By 5300 BC, pottery was present in Finland. The earliest samples belong to the Comb Ceramic cultures, known for their distinctive decorating patterns. This marks the beginning of the neolithic period for Finland, although subsistence was still based on hunting and fishing. Extensive networks of exchange existed across Finland and northeastern Europe during the 5th millennium BC. For example, flint from Scandinavia and the Valdai Hills, amber from Scandinavia and the Baltic region, and slate from Scandinavia and Lake Onega found their way into Finnish archaeological sites, while asbestos and soap stone from Finland (e.g. the area of Saimaa) were found in other regions. Rock paintings—apparently related to shamanistic and totemistic belief systems—have been found, especially in Eastern Finland, e.g. Astuvansalmi.

Between 3500 and 2000 BC, monumental stone enclosures colloquially known as Giant's Churches (Finnish: Jätinkirkko) were constructed in the Ostrobothnia region. [8] The purpose of the enclosures is unknown. [8]

In recent years, a dig in Kierikki site north of Oulu on River Ii has changed the image of Finnish neolithic Stone Age culture. The site had been inhabited year round and its inhabitants traded extensively. Kierikki culture is also seen as a subtype of Comb Ceramic culture. More of the site is excavated annually. [9]

From 3200 BC onwards, either immigrants or a strong cultural influence from south of the Gulf of Finland settled in southwestern Finland. This culture was a part of the European Battle Axe cultures, which have often been associated with the movement of the Indo-European speakers. The Battle Axe, or Cord Ceramic, culture seems to have practiced agriculture and animal husbandry outside of Finland, but the earliest confirmed traces of agriculture in Finland date later, approximately to the 2nd millennium BC. Further inland, the societies retained their hunting-gathering lifestyles for the time being. [10]

The Battle Axe and Comb Ceramic cultures eventually merged, giving rise to the Kiukainen culture that existed between 2300 BC, and 1500 BC, and was fundamentally a comb ceramic tradition with cord ceramic characteristics.

The Bronze Age began some time after 1500 BC. The coastal regions of Finland were a part of the Nordic Bronze Culture, whereas in the inland regions the influences came from the bronze-using cultures of northern and eastern Russia. [11]

The Iron Age in Finland is considered to last from c. 500 BC until c. 1300 AD [12] when known official and written records of Finland become more common due to the Swedish invasions as part of the Northern Crusades in the 13th century. As the Finnish Iron Age lasted almost two millennia, it is further divided into six sub-periods: [12]

  • Pre-Roman period: 500 BC – 1 BC
  • Roman period: 1 AD – 400 AD
  • Migration period: 400 AD – 575 AD
  • Merovingian period: 575 AD – 800 AD
  • Viking age period: 800 AD – 1025 AD
  • Crusade period: 1033 AD – 1300 AD

Very few written records of Finland or its people remain in any language of the era. Primary written sources are thus mostly of foreign origin, most informative of which include Tacitus' description of Fenni in his Germania, the sagas written down by Snorri Sturluson, as well as the 12th- and 13th-century ecclesiastical letters written for Finns. Numerous other sources from the Roman period onwards contain brief mentions of ancient Finnish kings and place names, as such defining Finland as a kingdom and noting the culture of its people.

Currently the oldest known Scandinavian documents mentioning a "land of the Finns" are two runestones: Söderby, Sweden, with the inscription finlont (U 582), and Gotland with the inscription finlandi (G 319) dating from the 11th century. [13] However, as the long continuum of the Finnish Iron Age into the historical Medieval period of Europe suggests, the primary source of information of the era in Finland is based on archaeological findings [12] and modern applications of natural scientific methods like those of DNA analysis [14] or computer linguistics.

Production of iron during the Finnish Iron Age was adopted from the neighboring cultures in the east, west and south about the same time as the first imported iron artifacts appear. [12] This happened almost simultaneously in various parts of the country.

Pre-Roman period: 500 BC – 1 BC Edit

The Pre-Roman period of the Finnish Iron Age is scarcest in findings, but the known ones suggest that cultural connections to other Baltic cultures were already established. [12] The archeological findings of Pernaja and Savukoski provides proof of this argument. Many of the era's dwelling sites are the same as those of the Neolithic. Most of the iron of the era was produced on site. [12]

Roman period: 1 AD – 400 AD Edit

The Roman period brought along an influx of imported iron (and other) artifacts like Roman wine glasses and dippers as well as various coins of the Empire. During this period the (proto) Finnish culture stabilized on the coastal regions and larger graveyards become commonplace. The prosperity of the Finns rose to the level that the vast majority of gold treasures found within Finland date back to this period. [12]

Migration period: 400 AD – 575 AD Edit

The Migration period saw the expansion of land cultivation inland, especially in Southern Bothnia, and the growing influence of Germanic cultures, both in artifacts like swords and other weapons and in burial customs. However most iron as well as its forging was of domestic origin, probably from bog iron. [12]

Merovingian period: 575 AD – 800 AD Edit

The Merovingian period in Finland gave rise to distinctive fine crafts culture of its own, visible in the original decorations of domestically produced weapons and jewelry. Finest luxury weapons were, however, imported from Western Europe. The very first Christian burials are from the latter part of this era as well. In the Leväluhta burial findings the average height of a man was originally thought to be just 158 cm and that of a woman 147 cm. [12] but the recent research has corrected these numbers upwards and has confirmed that the people buried in Leväluhta were of average height for the era in Europe.

Recent findings suggest that Finnish trade connections already became more active during the 8th century bringing an influx of silver onto Finnish markets. [12] The opening of the eastern route to Constantinople via Finland's southern coastline archipelago brought Arabic and Byzantine artifacts into the excavation findings of the era.

The earliest findings of imported iron blades and local iron working appear in 500 BC. From about 50 AD, there are indications of a more intense long-distance exchange of goods in coastal Finland. Inhabitants exchanged their products, presumably mostly furs, for weapons and ornaments with the Balts and the Scandinavians as well as with the peoples along the traditional eastern trade routes. The existence of richly furnished burials, usually with weapons, suggests that there was a chiefly elite in the southern and western parts of the country. Hillforts spread over most of southern Finland at the end of the Iron and early Medieval Age. There is no commonly accepted evidence of early state formations in Finland, and the presumably Iron Age origins of urbanization are contested.

The legendary Norwegian Swedish dynasty Ynglings are described by Icelandic historian Snorri Sturlasson as being of partial Finnish descent. That supposedly ruled before christ to roughly the 11 century in Sweden and to the 14 century in Norway under the Fairhair dynasty. With legendary kings such as Beowulf (hero) and Ragnar Lodbrok being a part of it. [15]

Chronology of languages in Finland Edit

The question of the timelines for the evolution and the spreading of the current Finnish languages is controversial, and new theories challenging older ones have been introduced continuously.

It is widely believed [16] [17] [18] that Finno-Ugric (the western branch of the Uralic) languages were first spoken in Finland and the adjacent areas during the Comb Ceramic period, around 4000 BC at the latest. During the 2nd millennium BC these evolved—possibly under an Indo-European (most likely Baltic) influence—into proto-Sami (inland) and Proto-Finnic (coastland). In contrast, A. Aikio and K. Häkkinen propose that the Finno-Ugric languages arrived in the Gulf of Finland area around 2000 BC or later in the Bronze Age, as result of an early Bronze Age Uralic language expansion possibly connected to the Seima-Turbino phenomenon. [19] [20] [21] This would also imply that Finno-Ugric languages in Finland were preceded by a North-Western Indo-European language, at least to the extent the latter can be associated with the Cord Ceramic culture, as well as by hitherto unknown Paleo-European languages. [21] The center of expansion for the Proto-Finnic language is posited to have been located on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland. [21] [22] The Finnish language is thought to have started to differentiate during the Iron Age starting from the earliest centuries of the Common Era.

Cultural influences from a variety of places are visible in the Finnish archaeological finds from the very first settlements onwards. For example, archaeological finds from Finnish Lapland suggest the presence of the Komsa culture from Norway. The Sujala finds, which are equal in age with the earliest Komsa artifacts, may also suggest a connection to the Swiderian culture. [23] Southwestern Finland belonged to the Nordic Bronze Age, which may be associated with Indo-European languages, and according to Finnish Germanist Jorma Koivulehto speakers of Proto-Germanic language in particular. Artifacts found in Kalanti and the province of Satakunta, which have long been monolingually Finnish, and their place names have made several scholars argue for an existence of a proto-Germanic speaking population component a little later, during the Early and Middle Iron Age. [24] [25]

The Swedish colonisation of Åland Islands, Turku archipelago and Uusimaa could possibly have started in 12th century but it was in its height in 13th and 14th century, when it also affected Eastern-Uusimaa and Pohjanmaa regions. [26] [27] The oldest Swedish place names in Finland are from this period [28] as well as the Swedish-speaking population of Finland. [27]

Middle Ages Edit

Contact between Sweden and what is now Finland was considerable even during pre-Christian times the Vikings were known to the Finns due to their participation in both commerce and plundering. There is possible evidence of Viking settlement in the Finnish mainland. [29] The Åland Islands probably had Swedish settlement during the Viking Period. However, some scholars claim that the archipelago was deserted during the 11th century. According to the archaeological finds, Christianity gained a foothold in Finland during the 11th century. According to the very few written documents that have survived, the church in Finland was still in its early development in the 12th century. Later medieval legends from late 13th century describe Swedish attempts to conquer and Christianize Finland sometime in the mid-1150s.

In the early 13th century, Bishop Thomas became the first known bishop of Finland. There were several secular powers who aimed to bring the Finnish tribes under their rule. These were Sweden, Denmark, the Republic of Novgorod in northwestern Russia, and probably the German crusading orders as well. Finns had their own chiefs, but most probably no central authority. At the time there can be seen three cultural areas or tribes in Finland: Finns, Tavastians and Karelians. [30] Russian chronicles indicate there were several conflicts between Novgorod and the Finnic tribes from the 11th or 12th century to the early 13th century.

It was the Swedish regent, Birger Jarl, who allegedly established Swedish rule in Finland through the Second Swedish Crusade, most often dated to 1249. The Eric Chronicle, the only source narrating the "crusade", describes that it was aimed at Tavastians. A papal letter from 1237 states that the Tavastians had reverted from Christianity to their old ethnic faith.

Novgorod gained control in Karelia in 1278, the region inhabited by speakers of Eastern Finnish dialects. Sweden however gained the control of Western Karelia with the Third Swedish Crusade in 1293. Western Karelians were from then on viewed as part of the western cultural sphere, while eastern Karelians turned culturally to Russia and Orthodoxy. While eastern Karelians remain linguistically and ethnically closely related to the Finns, they are generally considered a separate people. [31] Thus, the northern part of the border between Catholic and Orthodox Christendom came to lie at the eastern border of what would become Finland with the Treaty of Nöteborg with Novgorod in 1323.

During the 13th century, Finland was integrated into medieval European civilization. The Dominican order arrived in Finland around 1249 and came to exercise great influence there. In the early 14th century, the first records of Finnish students at the Sorbonne appear. In the southwestern part of the country, an urban settlement evolved in Turku. Turku was one of the biggest towns in the Kingdom of Sweden, and its population included German merchants and craftsmen. Otherwise the degree of urbanization was very low in medieval Finland. Southern Finland and the long coastal zone of the Gulf of Bothnia had a sparse farming settlements, organized as parishes and castellanies. In the other parts of the country a small population of Sami hunters, fishermen, and small-scale farmers lived. These were exploited by the Finnish and Karelian tax collectors. [ citation needed ] During the 12th and 13th centuries, great numbers of Swedish settlers moved to the southern and northwestern coasts of Finland, to the Åland Islands, and to the archipelago between Turku and the Åland Islands. In these regions, the Swedish language is widely spoken even today. Swedish came to be the language of the upper class in many other parts of Finland as well.

The name "Finland" originally signified only the southwestern province, which has been known as "Finland Proper" since the 18th century. The first known mention of Finland is in runestone Gs 13 from 11th century. The original Swedish term for the realm's eastern part was Österlands ("Eastern Lands"), a plural, meaning the area of Finland Proper, Tavastia, and Karelia. This was later replaced by the singular form Österland, which was in use between 1350 and 1470. [32] In the 15th century Finland began to be used synonymously with Österland. The concept of a Finnish "country" in the modern sense developed slowly from the 15th to 18th centuries.

During the 13th century, the bishopric of Turku was established. Turku Cathedral was the center of the cult of Saint Henry of Uppsala, and naturally the cultural center of the bishopric. The bishop had ecclesiastical authority over much of today's Finland, and was usually the most powerful man there. Bishops were often Finns, whereas the commanders of castles were more often Scandinavian or German noblemen. In 1362, representatives from Finland were called to participate in the elections for the king of Sweden. As such, that year is often considered when Finland was incorporated into the Kingdom of Sweden. As in the Scandinavian part of the kingdom, the gentry or (lower) nobility consisted of magnates and yeomen who could afford armament for a man and a horse these were concentrated in the southern part of Finland.

The strong fortress of Viborg (Finnish: Viipuri, Russian: Vyborg) guarded the eastern border of Finland. Sweden and Novgorod signed the Treaty of Nöteborg (Pähkinäsaari in Finnish) in 1323, but that did not last long. In 1348 the Swedish king Magnus Eriksson staged a failed crusade against Orthodox "heretics", managing only to alienate his supporters and ultimately lose his crown. The bones of contention between Sweden and Novgorod were the northern coastline of the Gulf of Bothnia and the wilderness regions of Savo in Eastern Finland. Novgorod considered these as hunting and fishing grounds of its Karelian subjects, and protested against the slow infiltration of Catholic settlers from the West. Occasional raids and clashes between Swedes and Novgorodians occurred during the late 14th and 15th centuries, but for most of the time an uneasy peace prevailed.

During the 1380s, a civil war in the Scandinavian part of Sweden brought unrest to Finland as well. The victor of this struggle was Queen Margaret I of Denmark, who brought the three Scandinavian kingdoms of Sweden, Denmark and, Norway under her rule (the "Kalmar Union") in 1389. The next 130 years or so were characterized by attempts of different Swedish factions to break out of the Union. Finland was sometimes involved in these struggles, but in general the 15th century seems to have been a relatively prosperous time [ citation needed ] , characterized by population growth and economic development. Towards the end of the 15th century, however, the situation on the eastern border became more tense. The Principality of Moscow conquered Novgorod, preparing the way for a unified Russia, and from 1495 to 1497 a war was fought between Sweden and Russia. The fortress-town of Viborg withstood a Russian siege according to a contemporary legend, it was saved by a miracle.

16th century Edit

In 1521 the Kalmar Union collapsed and Gustav Vasa became the King of Sweden. During his rule, the Swedish church was reformed. The state administration underwent extensive reforms and development too, giving it a much stronger grip on the life of local communities—and ability to collect higher taxes. Following the policies of the Reformation, in 1551 Mikael Agricola, bishop of Turku, published his translation of the New Testament into the Finnish language.

In 1550 Helsinki was founded by Gustav Vasa under the name of Helsingfors, but remained little more than a fishing village for more than two centuries.

King Gustav Vasa died in 1560 and his crown was passed to his three sons in separate turns. King Erik XIV started an era of expansion when the Swedish crown took the city of Tallinn in Estonia under its protection in 1561. This action contributed to the early stages of the Livonian War which was a warlike era which lasted for 160 years. In the first phase, Sweden fought for the lordship of Estonia and Latvia against Denmark, Poland and Russia. The common people of Finland suffered because of drafts, high taxes, and abuse by military personnel. This resulted in the Cudgel War of 1596–1597, a desperate peasant rebellion, which was suppressed brutally and bloodily. A peace treaty (the Treaty of Teusina) with Russia in 1595 moved the border of Finland further to the east and north, very roughly where the modern border lies.

An important part of the 16th-century history of Finland was growth of the area settled by the farming population. The crown encouraged farmers from the province of Savonia to settle the vast wilderness regions in Middle Finland. This often forced the original Sami population to leave. Some of the wilderness settled was traditional hunting and fishing territory of Karelian hunters. During the 1580s, this resulted in a bloody guerrilla warfare between the Finnish settlers and Karelians in some regions, especially in Ostrobothnia.

17th century Edit

In 1611–1632 Sweden was ruled by King Gustavus Adolphus, whose military reforms transformed the Swedish army from a peasant militia into an efficient fighting machine, possibly the best in Europe. The conquest of Livonia was now completed, and some territories were taken from internally divided Russia in the Treaty of Stolbova. In 1630, the Swedish (and Finnish) armies marched into Central Europe, as Sweden had decided to take part in the great struggle between Protestant and Catholic forces in Germany, known as the Thirty Years' War. The Finnish light cavalry was known as the Hakkapeliitat.

After the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, the Swedish Empire was one of the most powerful countries in Europe. During the war, several important reforms had been made in Finland:

  • 1637–1640 and 1648–1654 Count Per Brahe functioned as general governor of Finland. Many important reforms were made and many towns were founded. His period of administration is generally considered very beneficial to the development of Finland.
  • 1640 Finland's first university, the Academy of Åbo, was founded in Turku at the proposal of Count Per Brahe by Queen Christina of Sweden.
  • 1642 The whole Bible was published in Finnish.

However, the high taxation, continuing wars and the cold climate (the Little Ice Age) made the Imperial era of Sweden rather gloomy times for Finnish peasants. In 1655–1660, the Northern Wars were fought, taking Finnish soldiers to the battle-fields of Livonia, Poland and Denmark. In 1676, the political system of Sweden was transformed into an absolute monarchy.

In Middle and Eastern Finland, great amounts of tar were produced for export. European nations needed this material for the maintenance of their fleets. According to some theories, the spirit of early capitalism in the tar-producing province of Ostrobothnia may have been the reason for the witch-hunt wave that happened in this region during the late 17th century. The people were developing more expectations and plans for the future, and when these were not realized, they were quick to blame witches—according to a belief system the Lutheran church had imported from Germany.

The Empire had a colony in the New World in the modern-day Delaware-Pennsylvania area between 1638 and 1655. At least half of the immigrants were of Finnish origin.

The 17th century was an era of very strict Lutheran orthodoxy. In 1608, the law of Moses was declared the law of the land, in addition to secular legislation. Every subject of the realm was required to confess the Lutheran faith and church attendance was mandatory. Ecclesiastical penalties were widely used. [33] The rigorous requirements of orthodoxy were revealed in the dismissal of the Bishop of Turku, Johan Terserus, who wrote a catechism which was decreed heretical in 1664 by the theologians of the Academy of Åbo. [34] On the other hand, the Lutheran requirement of the individual study of Bible prompted the first attempts at wide-scale education. The church required from each person a degree of literacy sufficient to read the basic texts of the Lutheran faith. Although the requirements could be fulfilled by learning the texts by heart, also the skill of reading became known among the population. [35]

In 1696–1699, a famine caused by climate decimated Finland. A combination of an early frost, the freezing temperatures preventing grain from reaching Finnish ports, and a lackluster response from the Swedish government saw about one-third of the population die. [36] Soon afterwards, another war determining Finland's fate began (the Great Northern War of 1700–21).

18th century Edit

The Great Northern War (1700–1721) was devastating, as Sweden and Russia fought for control of the Baltic. Harsh conditions—worsening poverty and repeated crop failures—among peasants undermined support for the war, leading to Sweden's defeat. Finland was a battleground as both armies ravaged the countryside, leading to famine, epidemics, social disruption and the loss of nearly half the population. By 1721 only 250,000 remained. [37] Landowners had to pay higher wages to keep their peasants. Russia was the winner, annexing the south-eastern part, including the town of Viborg, after the Treaty of Nystad. The border with Russia came to lie roughly where it returned to after World War II. Sweden's status as a European great power was forfeited, and Russia was now the leading power in the North. The absolute monarchy ended in Sweden. During this Age of Liberty, the Parliament ruled the country, and the two parties of the Hats and Caps struggled for control leaving the lesser Court party, i.e. parliamentarians with close connections to the royal court, with little to no influence. The Caps wanted to have a peaceful relationship with Russia and were supported by many Finns, while other Finns longed for revenge and supported the Hats.

Finland by this time was depopulated, with a population in 1749 of 427,000. However, with peace the population grew rapidly, and doubled before 1800. 90% of the population were typically classified as "peasants", most being free taxed yeomen. Society was divided into four Estates: peasants (free taxed yeomen), the clergy, nobility and burghers. A minority, mostly cottagers, were estateless, and had no political representation. Forty-five percent of the male population were enfranchised with full political representation in the legislature—although clerics, nobles and townsfolk had their own chambers in the parliament, boosting their political influence and excluding the peasantry on matters of foreign policy.

The mid-18th century was a relatively good time, partly because life was now more peaceful. However, during the Lesser Wrath (1741–1742), Finland was again occupied by the Russians after the government, during a period of Hat party dominance, had made a botched attempt to reconquer the lost provinces. Instead the result of the Treaty of Åbo was that the Russian border was moved further to the west. During this time, Russian propaganda hinted at the possibility of creating a separate Finnish kingdom.

Both the ascending Russian Empire and pre-revolutionary France aspired to have Sweden as a client state. Parliamentarians and others with influence were susceptible to taking bribes which they did their best to increase. The integrity and the credibility of the political system waned, and in 1771 the young and charismatic king Gustav III staged a coup d'état, abolished parliamentarism and reinstated royal power in Sweden—more or less with the support of the parliament. In 1788, he started a new war against Russia. Despite a couple of victorious battles, the war was fruitless, managing only to bring disturbance to the economic life of Finland. The popularity of King Gustav III waned considerably. During the war, a group of officers made the famous Anjala declaration demanding peace negotiations and calling of Riksdag (Parliament). An interesting sideline to this process was the conspiracy of some Finnish officers, who attempted to create an independent Finnish state with Russian support. After an initial shock, Gustav III crushed this opposition. In 1789, the new constitution of Sweden strengthened the royal power further, as well as improving the status of the peasantry. However, the continuing war had to be finished without conquests—and many Swedes now considered the king as a tyrant.

With the interruption of the Gustav III's war (1788–1790), the last decades of the 18th century had been an era of development in Finland. New things were changing even everyday life, such as starting of potato farming after the 1750s. New scientific and technical inventions were seen. The first hot air balloon in Finland (and in the whole Swedish kingdom) was made in Oulu (Uleåborg) in 1784, only a year after it was invented in France. Trade increased and the peasantry was growing more affluent and self-conscious. The Age of Enlightenment's climate of broadened debate in the society on issues of politics, religion and morals would in due time highlight the problem that the overwhelming majority of Finns spoke only Finnish, but the cascade of newspapers, belles-lettres and political leaflets was almost exclusively in Swedish—when not in French.

The two Russian occupations had been harsh and were not easily forgotten. These occupations were a seed of a feeling of separateness and otherness, that in a narrow circle of scholars and intellectuals at the university in Turku was forming a sense of a separate Finnish identity representing the eastern part of the realm. The shining influence of the Russian imperial capital Saint Petersburg was also much stronger in southern Finland than in other parts of Sweden, and contacts across the new border dispersed the worst fears for the fate of the educated and trading classes under a Russian régime. At the turn of the 19th century, the Swedish-speaking educated classes of officers, clerics and civil servants were mentally well prepared for a shift of allegiance to the strong Russian Empire.

King Gustav III was assassinated in 1792, and his son Gustav IV Adolf assumed the crown after a period of regency. The new king was not a particularly talented ruler at least not talented enough to steer his kingdom through the dangerous era of the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars.

Meanwhile, the Finnish areas belonging to Russia after the peace treaties in 1721 and 1743 (not including Ingria), called "Old Finland" were initially governed with the old Swedish laws (a not uncommon practice in the expanding Russian Empire in the 18th century). However, gradually the rulers of Russia granted large estates of land to their non-Finnish favorites, ignoring the traditional landownership and peasant freedom laws of Old Finland. There were even cases where the noblemen punished peasants corporally, for example by flogging. The overall situation caused decline in the economy and morale in Old Finland, worsened since 1797 when the area was forced to send men to the Imperial Army. The construction of military installations in the area brought thousands of non-Finnish people to the region. In 1812, after the Russian conquest of Finland, "Old Finland" was rejoined to the rest of the country but the landownership question remained a serious problem until the 1870s.

Peasants Edit

While the king of Sweden sent in his governor to rule Finland, in day to day reality the villagers ran their own affairs using traditional local assemblies (called the ting) which selected a local "lagman", or lawman, to enforce the norms. The Swedes used the parish system to collect taxes. The socken (local parish) was at once a community religious organization and a judicial district that administered the king's law. The ting participated in the taxation process taxes were collected by the bailiff, a royal appointee. [38]

In contrast to serfdom in Germany and Russia, the Finnish peasant was typically a freeholder who owned and controlled his small plot of land. There was no serfdom in which peasants were permanently attached to specific lands, and were ruled by the owners of that land. In Finland (and Sweden) the peasants formed one of the four estates and were represented in the parliament. Outside the political sphere, however, the peasants were considered at the bottom of the social order—just above vagabonds. The upper classes looked down on them as excessively prone to drunkenness and laziness, as clannish and untrustworthy, and especially as lacking honor and a sense of national spirit. This disdain dramatically changed in the 19th century when everyone idealised the peasant as the true carrier of Finnishness and the national ethos, as opposed to the Swedish-speaking elites.

The peasants were not passive they were proud of their traditions and would band together and fight to uphold their traditional rights in the face of burdensome taxes from the king or new demands by the landowning nobility. The great Cudgel War in the south in 1596–1597 attacked the nobles and their new system of state feudalism this bloody revolt was similar to other contemporary peasant wars in Europe. [39] In the north, there was less tension between nobles and peasants and more equality among peasants, due to the practice of subdividing farms among heirs, to non farm economic activities, and to the small numbers of nobility and gentry. Often the nobles and landowners were paternalistic and helpful. The Crown usually sided with the nobles, but after the "restitution" of the 1680s it ended the practice of the nobility extracting labor from the peasants and instead began a new tax system whereby royal bureaucrats collected taxes directly from the peasants, who disliked the efficient new system. After 1800 growing population pressure resulted in larger numbers of poor crofters and landless laborers and the impoverishment of small farmers. [40]


Finland accused of 'human rights abuses' for prosecuting biblical beliefs

Law professors from several elite universities in the United States are accusing Finland of “human rights abuses” for prosecuting people there who expressed their biblical beliefs, specifically the Bible’s teachings on marriage and sexuality.

The Christian Institute explained one of the prosecutions involves Finland’s former Minister of the Interior Päivi Räsänen, who could face up to six years in prison for publicly supporting the Bible’s teachings, and sharing a Bible verse.

The professors’ comments were published in an open letter at Real Clear Politics.

The signers included Peter Berkowitz of Stanford, Keegan Callanan of Middlebury College, Carlos Eire of Yale, Robert P. George of Princeton, Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard and others.

It’s addressed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

“The Prosecutor General of Finland has undertaken criminal prosecutions that will compel Finland’s clergy and lay religious believers to choose between prison and abandoning teachings of their various faiths,” they warn.

They list the case against Räsänen, a member of the Finland’s Parliament, as well as the bishop-elect of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, Rev. Dr. Juhana Pohjola.

Among other offenses, Räsänen wrote a booklet called “Male and Female He Created Them: Homosexual Relationships Challenge the Christian Concept of Humanity,” and Pohjola published it.

“The Prosecutor General’s pursuit of these charges against a prominent legislator and bishop sends an unmistakable message to Finns of every rank and station: no one who holds to the traditional teachings of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and several other religions on questions of marriage and sexual morality will be safe from state harassment should they, like Bishop Pohjola and Dr. Räsänen, express their moral and religious convictions.”

The lawyers wrote, “These prosecutions constitute serious human rights abuses. They violate Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 10 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, all of which affirm the right of every human ‘to manifest his religion or belief in teaching.’ They likewise violate multiple provisions of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, including its affirmation of the right ‘[t]o write, issue and disseminate relevant publications’ expressing one’s religious beliefs,” they explain.

These cases are not “hate speech,” the confirm.

“No reasonable balance of the goods of public order, civil equality, and religious liberty can ever support this suppression of the right to believe and express one’s beliefs. The prosecutions are straightforward acts of oppression,” they warned.

They call on the U.S. to “respond to the abuses in Finland” as it responded to human rights abuses in China and other nations.

That would include targeting Finnish Prosecutor General Toiviainen with a denial of visas under a charge of “a gross violation of Human Rights.”

“We further request that USCIRF call on U.S. Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen to designate Prosecutor General Toiviainen under the Global Magnitsky Act and related statutes. Executive Order 13818 empowers the Secretary to designate and impose economic sanctions on individuals determined ‘to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse.’ Prosecutor General Toiviainen and any line prosecutors who choose to assist her plainly meet this description,” they said.

The Institute said Räsänen has been charged with three “hate crimes,” including sharing a Bible verse in 2019, comments made on TV in 2018 and a 2004 pamphlet she wrote supporting traditional marriage.

In 2019, Räsänen shared a picture of her Bible open at Romans 1:24-27 in response to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland’s decision to sponsor a local LGBT pride event.

She wrote: “How can the church’s doctrinal foundation, the Bible, be compatible with the lifting up of shame and sin as a subject of pride?”

Räsänen is a medical doctor who is a leader of the Christian Democrats in Finland.

“I do not consider myself guilty of threatening, slandering or insulting any group of people,” Räsänen said in a statement after what she considers “shocking” charges.

“These are all based on the Bible’s teachings on marriage and sexuality.”

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The Current State of Human Rights in Finland

Finland has a population of about 5.5 million, and is seated next to Sweden and Norway. Human rights in Finland are ultimately made a priority by the country’s government, and this country is considered more progressive than most, although there are still a few areas that could be improved.

According to a report from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, the Nordic country strives to dedicate time and attention to minorities in the country, including the Roma, linguistic or religious minorities and other ethnic minorities. On the other hand, the report also states that residents who belong to multiple of these minority groups are typically “the most vulnerable to human rights violations.” Finland promotes openness in respect to human rights policy and works toward “effective empowerment of the civil society,” according to the same report.

Human rights in Finland are also supported by nongovernment organizations in the region. In addition, human rights defenders work with minority groups. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs states that, “the key message is to encourage and urge the Ministry’s entire staff to collaborate actively with human rights defenders.”

Finland prioritizes areas including women’s rights, the rights of persons with disabilities, the rights of sexual and gender minorities, the rights of indigenous peoples and economic, social and cultural rights, according to the report. Regarding the rights of sexual minorities, in March of this year, Finland became the 13th country in Europe to allow same-sex marriage, according to the Human Rights Watch.

While human rights in Finland are heavily prioritized, there are still areas in need of improvement.

The U.S. Department of the State reports that human rights problems in Finland include the failure of police to provide detainees with timely access to legal council, “questionable” donations and contributions to political campaigns and violence against women and members of the LGBT community.

The report also included information on issues surrounding the treatment of survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence. It stated that survivors seeking justice have encountered many obstacles with respect to their interactions with police and judicial officials. However, it also stated that police and government officials strongly encourage victims to report rapes through “various public awareness campaigns.”

While human rights in Finland have a few shortcomings, they are one of the more progressive nations in Europe, meaning that further progress is certainly possible.


Refugees and asylum-seekers

In November, the European Court of Human Rights held that Finland violated the European Convention on Human Rights in the case of an Iraqi asylum-seeker who was returned to Iraq in December 2017 and killed only a few weeks later. According to the court, the quality of assessment of the relevant facts, including the risk to which the asylum-seeker would be exposed upon return, was not satisfactory.

Legal changes introduced in 2016, including restrictions to free legal representation and reduced time frames for appeals, continued to place asylum-seekers at risk of human rights violations such as refoulement. Asylum-seekers’ rights were further restricted in June 2019, when amendments to the Aliens Act made it possible to execute deportation orders already while the first subsequent application was pending.

Finland continued to forcibly return asylum-seekers whose applications were rejected to Afghanistan.

The authorities continued to detain unaccompanied children, and families with children, based on their immigration status. There was no time limit on detaining families with children.

Family reunification remained difficult for most refugees due to both legislative and practical obstacles, including high income requirements.


The goals to be achieved

The report lists 8 key objectives that the researchers consider Finland should try to achieve in its human rights policy, and recommendations are also given on actions to reach the objectives. Those goals are:

  1. Develop the link between human rights and environmental change on all levels of governance.
  2. Human rights of migrants should be promoted through international coordination.
  3. Keep a human rights based approach to new technologies on the agenda.
  4. When new elements emerge in security agendas, include a human rights approach in the discussions.
  5. Promote gender equality actively at the time of resistance and anti-genderisms.
  6. Utilise and create new possibilities of cooperation across professional and political silos.
  7. Support the states’ commitment to multilateralism by promoting activities that increase its legitimacy.
  8. Promote a broad concept of participation and the right to education to mitigate the negative impacts of global trends.

Human Rights in Interwar Finland

N2 - n the 1930s, activists fought for the protection of civil rights in the Republic of Finland, expanding the notion of rights to include also categories of people who had been previously excluded, such as political prisoners, the mentally ill, and foreign refugees. Two of these activists were the editor of the journal Tulenkantajat, Erkki Vala, and the chair of the League of Human Rights in Finland, Väinö Lassila. Their usage of the concept ‘human rights’, drawing from the traditions of liberal humanism, Christian anarchism and the socialist labour movement, is analysed in the national and international context of the interwar era. During the 1930s, Erkki Vala increasingly used the concept ‘human rights’ in ways that seem to predate the so-called starting point of modern human rights discourse in the 1940s. He met with compact resistance from the authorities, which contributed to his political marginalisation and radicalisation. This article shows that the notion of universal human rights was not unthinkable before the end of the Second World War, but it was heavily politicised and controversial even in a democratic country such as the Republic of Finland.

AB - n the 1930s, activists fought for the protection of civil rights in the Republic of Finland, expanding the notion of rights to include also categories of people who had been previously excluded, such as political prisoners, the mentally ill, and foreign refugees. Two of these activists were the editor of the journal Tulenkantajat, Erkki Vala, and the chair of the League of Human Rights in Finland, Väinö Lassila. Their usage of the concept ‘human rights’, drawing from the traditions of liberal humanism, Christian anarchism and the socialist labour movement, is analysed in the national and international context of the interwar era. During the 1930s, Erkki Vala increasingly used the concept ‘human rights’ in ways that seem to predate the so-called starting point of modern human rights discourse in the 1940s. He met with compact resistance from the authorities, which contributed to his political marginalisation and radicalisation. This article shows that the notion of universal human rights was not unthinkable before the end of the Second World War, but it was heavily politicised and controversial even in a democratic country such as the Republic of Finland.


Hobbies / National interests

Finland is a the northernmost country in the European Union which borders the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and the Gulf of Finland, as well as Sweden, Norway, and Russia.


Section 7. Worker Rights

A. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining

The law provides for the right to form and join independent unions, bargain collectively, and conduct legal strikes. The law prohibits antiunion discrimination and any restriction or obstruction of these rights.

The government effectively enforced all applicable laws regarding the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. Workers without permanent residence may not be eligible to join voluntary unemployment insurance funds. Employers who violate the rights of employees to organize and retain employee representatives may face administrative measures, legal proceedings, and fines. The penalties were generally sufficient to deter violations. Authorities and employers generally respected freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, and there were no reports of violations. All workers, regardless of sector union membership, or nationality, are entitled to the same wages negotiated between employers and trade unions via generally applicable collective agreements.

The law does not permit public-sector employees who provide “essential services,” including police officers, firefighters, medical professionals, and border guards, to strike. An official dispute board can make nonbinding recommendations to the cabinet on ending or limiting the duration of strikes when they threaten national security. Employees prohibited from striking can use arbitration to provide for due process in the resolution of their concerns.

B. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor. The government effectively enforced the law. Penalties for forced or compulsory labor depend on the severity of the crime but were generally sufficient to deter violations. Despite strong penalties for violations, some cases of persons subjected to conditions of forced labor in the country were reported during the year.

Men and women working in the restaurant, cleaning, construction, and agriculture industries were the most likely to face conditions of forced labor. The sexual services sector, legal in certain circumstances, also saw incidences of trafficking and forced labor.

Also see the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at https://www.state.gov/trafficking-in-persons-report/.

C. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

The law prohibits all of the worst forms of child labor but allows persons between the ages of 15 and 18 to enter into a valid employment contract as long as the work does not interrupt compulsory education. It provides that workers who are 15 to 18 years of age may not work after 10 p.m. or under conditions that risk their health and safety, which the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health defines as working with mechanical, chemical, physical, or biological hazards or bodily strain that may result from lifting heavy loads.

Penalties for violations of child labor regulations are sufficient to deter violations. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment effectively enforced child labor regulations. There were no reports of children engaged in work outside the parameters established by law.

D. Discrimination with Respect to Employment and Occupation

The Occupational Safety Administration (OSHA) received 500 reports of work-place discrimination in 2018. Of the 157 reports that resulted in further inspection, 7 percent concerned ethnicity, nationality, language, or religion, a number similar to previous years, 12 percent concerned age discrimination, and 2 percent concerned disability. The government effectively enforced applicable laws against employment discrimination.

E. Acceptable Conditions of Work

While there is no national minimum wage law, the law requires all employers, including nonunionized employers, to pay the minimum wages stipulated in collective bargaining agreements. Authorities adequately enforced wage laws.

The standard workweek established by law is no more than 40 hours of work per week with eight hours work per day. Because the law does not include a provision regarding a five-day workweek, regular work hours may, at least in principle, span six days. The regular weekly work hours can also be arranged so that the average is 40 hours over a period of no more than 52 weeks. Certain occupations, such as seamen, household workers, road transport workers, and workers in bakeries, are subject to separate workweek regulations. The law entitles employees working shifts or during the weekend to one 24-hour rest period per week. The law limits a worker to 250 hours of overtime per year and 138 overtime hours in any four-month period.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for labor policy and implementation, drafting labor legislation, improving the viability of working life and its quality, and promoting employment. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for enforcement of labor laws and regulations. In addition, OSHA enforces appropriate safety and health standards and conducts inspections at workplaces. Individuals who commit work safety offenses are subject to a fine or imprisonment for a maximum of one year individuals who commit working hours’ offenses are subject to a fine or imprisonment for a maximum of six months. The center informs employers of inspections in advance unless a surprise inspection is necessary for enforcement purposes. A subsequent inspection report gives employers written advice on how to remedy minor defects. In the case of serious violations, the inspector issues an improvement notice and monitors the employer’s compliance. When necessary, OSHA may issue a binding decision and impose a fine. If a hazardous situation involved a risk to life, an inspector can halt work on the site or issue a prohibition notice concerning the source of risk.

Authorities adequately enforced wage and overtime laws. Government resources, inspections, and penalties were adequate to deter most violations.

The law requires employees to report any hazards or risks they discover in working conditions, including in machinery, equipment, or work methods. The law also requires employees, where possible, to correct dangerous conditions that come to their attention. Such corrective measures must be reported to the employer.


Watch the video: Lesson 11 Human Rights part 2 Religion in Finland, Finnish Political Culture and System


Comments:

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