Akava: Non-discriminatory working life calls for concrete legislative actions

Akava considers the Government communication on promoting equality and non-discrimination in Finnish society to be a step in the right direction, but a great deal of further work is necessary. The communication, which the Parliament will discuss on 6 September, lacks concrete legislative amendments and funding decisions.


“It is imperative that the Government commits to advance equality and non-discrimination in all its activities and communicates this clearly and actively. The recent communication is an important step and the related work has been beneficial. The communication is not, however, sufficient as is, but rather calls for more concrete supportive measures than have been presented.”

“I encourage the Members of Parliament to engage in this endeavour during the parliamentary discussion of the communication as well as throughout the entire parliamentary term. We call for the central labour market organisations to be invited to contribute to the preparation of further measures”, says Maria Löfgren, President of Akava.

Akava was heard as part of the preparation of the communication and presented, in its statement, multiple concrete measures for building a non-discriminatory society.

“There are discriminatory attitudes and structures within working life, the labour market and education that need to be identified and eliminated. Akava is disappointed that the criminalisation of hate speech that we presented was not included in the communication measures, even though hate speech and targeted harassment using such speech appears to be increasing”, Löfgren continues.

“The communication does not either take a stand on the right of the National Non-Discrimination and Equality Tribunal to order compensation for a victim of discrimination, even though this type of specific method for eliminating structural discrimination would be needed. Furthermore, it appears that the work necessary for the promotion of equality will not be allocated sufficient resources”, Löfgren adds.

Akava emphasises the fact that, in a just society, legislation, practical measures and the attitudes of decision-makers and other people all support equality.

“In order to see true change, we need national and international legislation and agreements to support important changes in attitude. Finland is a party to the key UN and European Council’s human rights treaties and is, therefore, obliged to respect, protect and enforce the human rights of all people on an equal and non-discriminatory basis. There must be an end to all racist, homophobic, sexist and misogynistic behaviour in Finnish society”, states Miika Sahamies, Senior Advisor at Akava.

More information

Maria Löfgren, President of Akava, tel. +358 40 568 2798

Miika Sahamies, Senior Advisor, Akava, tel. +358 50 530 5366