International Convention for Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance to enter into force in Finland
The Convention is one of the UN’s nine core international human rights instruments, and its purpose is to prevent, punish and investigate enforced disappearances. Internationally, enforced disappearances are still a significant human rights concern, often occurring in situations where political aims are pursued by violent means.
Enforced disappearance means the deprivation of liberty by agents of a state or by persons acting with the authorisation of a state, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the whereabouts of the disappeared person, leaving such a person outside the protection of the law.
By ratifying the Convention, Finland now joins those states who are legally bound to act against enforced disappearances. Finland has been urged to ratify the Convention in different UN human rights forums.
The preparations for Finland’s accession to the Convention included a thorough assessment of the relationship between the Convention’s obligations and Finnish legislation and a set of legislative amendments that were clearly required by the Convention. Enforced disappearance was made punishable under the Criminal Code. Necessary amendments were also made to the provisions on the criminal responsibility of superiors and on the failure to report an offence of a subordinate.
By a decree amendment, enforced disappearance was defined as an international crime to which Finnish law applies regardless of the nationality of the offender, the place of commission or the law of the place of commission.
Upon ratification, Finland made a reservation based on national legislation and practical considerations concerning the obligation to annul any adoption of children referred to in the Convention that originated in an enforced disappearance. The reservation does not mean that it would not be possible to return children to their original parents in individual cases. The reservation can later be withdrawn if deemed appropriate.
Finland is obligated to report on the implementation of the Convention to the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED). When ratifying the Convention, Finland recognised the CED’s competence to receive and consider communications from individuals and States parties regarding Finland’s obligations under the Convention.
- Krista Oinonen, Director of Unit, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 295 351 172
- Janne Kanerva, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Justice, tel. +358 295 150 176
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