Wednesday May 22, 2024

UN body for fair refugee status procedures for asylum seekers

Published : 11 May 2024, 03:50

Updated : 11 May 2024, 03:52

  DF Report
Asylum seekers arrived in Finland through Salla border crossing point from Russia in November, 2023. File Photo: Finnish Border Guard.

The United Nations Committee against Torture recommended that all asylum seekers and other persons in need of international protection arriving at Finland’s eastern land border, regardless of their legal status and mode of arrival, should have access to fair and efficient refugee status determination procedures and non-refoulement determinations.

The committee a examined the eighth periodic report submitted by Finland under the Convention against Torture and issued observations in Geneva on Friday after a public oral hearing of the Finnish delegation, said the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in a press release.

The Committee welcomes that, in recent years, Finland has adopted international treaties and introduced national legislation in areas of relevance to the Convention against Torture, including the Act on Legal Recognition of Gender and amendment to chapter 20 of the Criminal Code relating to sexual offences.

The Committee further welcomes the establishment of the National Courts Administration, several action plans, such as the National Action Plan on Fundamental and Human Rights, and the new database on recommendations.

The Committee’s recommendations include guaranteeing fundamental legal safeguards for all detained persons, discontinuing placing remand prisoners in police detention facilities, accelerating judicial proceedings and making use of alternatives to remand imprisonment, where possible.

Finland should encourage the reporting of hate crimes and ensure that hate crimes are thoroughly investigated, perpetrators prosecuted and punished and victims provided with effective remedies.

Information on measures taken towards the implementation of the recommendations must be reported to the Committee within one year.

The Committee also issues a number of other recommendations, including on: the definition, criminalisation and limitation period of the offence of torture, the conditions of arrested and imprisoned persons, the alleviation of overcrowding in penitentiary institutions, the use of immigration detention as a last resort, the fight against violence against women, the effective investigation of and punishment for trafficking in human beings, and the improvement of the situation of persons with disabilities in psychiatric institutions.

Finland’s next periodic report on the implementation of the Convention is due in 2028.