Ethnic profiling reveals a lot about how the Finnish police service and non-discrimination ombudsman see cultural diversity

by , under Enrique Tessieri

While it is a fact that the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman looks into complaints about alleged ethnic profiling by the police service and National Boarder Guard, more questions surround this issue than answers.

Migrant Tales has repeatedly pointed out that one of the main problems concerning ethnic profiling in Finland by the police service, and its monitoring by the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, is the lack of visible minority representation.

No minorities are working for the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman and only a minute amount for the police service and National Border Guard.

This fact is a problem that should be addressed in Finland, which abides by Nordic welfare value and upholds Section 6 of the Constitution and guarantees that we’re all equal before the law. Equality means as well equal representation.

Now here’s the question: How can the police service, National Border Guard and the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman assure migrants and minorities that they take seriously ethnic profiling if it doesn’t affect their staff directly?

Having no minorities on their staff is the same as having only males defending women’s right or people with no physical disabilities representing people with such challenges.


Näyttökuva 2016-4-22 kello 15.33.25
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Underwhelming representation of minorities is tantamount as well to playing down a problem like ethnic profiling and discrimination.

Ethnic underrepresentation leads to out-of-date comments by Helsinki police detective Henri Helminen, who states that the police carry out spot checks on people who they claim appear “non-Finnish.”

Who is “non-Finnish” looking and can you determine what defines a Finnish-looking person? Is it the police that decides who looks “Finnish?”

If this is the case it shows why ethnic profiling is a problem.

Migrant Tales reported earlier this month of a Finnish citizen who was stopped by the police, who claimed that he wasn’t a Finn because his mother tongue was Arabic.

Finland must strive to live up to its values, which encourage mutual respect and social equality. For this reason, it’s crucial that visible minorities are represented adequately in the police service and other institutions.

It’s something that our ever-growing culturally diverse society should not only demand but require.



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