Finland should take action for LGBTI rights also domestically

Speech by ILGA-Europe and Seta – LGBTI Rights in Finland in the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, 19th September 2012.

UPR: Finland

ILGA-Europe and Seta – LGBTI Rights in Finland

United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva, 19th September 2012

Mr. President,

we commend Finland for accepting the recommendation to increase its efforts in combating discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. We are looking forward to an effective and comprehensive implementation of the commitment.

Whilst we welcome the progress delivered by this Government, significant challenges still remain. Trans and intersex persons face serious discrimination. Gender nonconforming children face transphobic bullying in schools. Discrimination in the employment market is common, and many trans persons remain unemployed. Intersex children sometimes suffer serious mental and physical complications due to surgical operations that lack medical grounds.

The government states that a working group will be appointed to examine the need to amend the Act on Legal Recognition of the Gender of Transsexuals. We urge the government to proceed with this commitment very soon. Persons applying for gender marker change currently face degrading conditions such as infertility requirement that shows the legislator´s lack of understanding the everyday lives of trans persons, of which many already have children and families.

The government states that a possible need to amend family legislation will be discussed. Currently there are several legislative procedures where the equal treatment of LGBTI people´s families should be taken into account. Children should not be treated unequally depending on their parents´ gender.

We note that the recently adopted National Action Plan for Human Rights, has very few references to LGBTI people. This places a serious challenge on the government to show concrete commitment to policies to improve the human rights of LGBTI people. While many authorities are working on improving the equality of LGBTI persons, there is a need for a more coherent and coordinated policy. We suggest drafting a comprehensive LGBTI policy action plan and defining responsibilities for implementation and monitoring the plan.

Finally, we thank Finland for a constructive dialogue during the UPR process and stand ready for further interaction to ensure that all LGBTI people can enjoy their citizenship in full equality.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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