Finland: Foreign Service guidelines help support human rights defenders around the world

Finland: Foreign Service guidelines help support human rights defenders around the world

In late 2022, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs published new guidelines on supporting human rights defenders. They are intended as a practical tool, helping the Foreign Service to actively support human rights defenders. The guidelines were issued for the first time in 2014. They have now been updated to better reflect the current operating environment.

The guidelines were revised based on an internal needs assessment in the Foreign Service. Civil society organisations and parliamentary parties, too, have been involved in the revision work as part of the Advisory Board for International Human Rights Affairs. In addition, the revised guidelines take account of the recommendations of an independent review commissioned by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in 2017.

The guidelines were launched at an event organised by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in November 2022. State Secretary Johanna Sumuvuori opened the event.

Practical examples and encouragement for active efforts

The guidelines describe the activities and status of human rights defenders around the world. They give a number of practical examples of how Finland is supporting human rights defenders and encourage active efforts by providing many recommendations. The guidelines illustrate the challenging, and in many cases dangerous, environment where an increasing number of human rights defenders daily operate.

The guidelines have been translated into Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish. The translations facilitate the application of the guidelines especially in Finland’s diplomatic missions abroad.

While the guidelines are primarily intended for Foreign Service use in the Ministry and in missions abroad, they can also be used by other authorities or by representatives of the private sector or the civil society. The guidelines are encouraged to be promoted widely in various communication channels, as they can also serve as sources of information for local human rights defenders.


On Top