Finland’s ombudsman for minorities says Helsinki social services and health care employees practice ethnic profiling

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Finland’s ombudsman for minorities, Eva Biaudet, accused the Helsinki department of social services and health care of ethnic profiling because it requires its employees to check if “a foreign-looking” person has a residence permit, reports Helsingin Sanomat

The city of Helsinki said in a statement in June that its social services and health care employees will begin to ask foreign-looking people to prove they are legal residents of the country.

Read the statement (in Finnish) by the ombudsman for minorities here.

Kuvankaappaus 2014-1-9 kello 7.16.02
Read full story here.

The present requirement on social services and health care employees, encourages them to place “unnecessary” attention on a person’s ethnicity, according to Biaudet. In the worst of cases, people like undocumented migrants, may be discouraged from seeking medical attention due to the requirement.

Migrant Tales agrees fully with the ombudsman for minority’s concern over ethnic profiling by Helsinki city employees. The sooner this stops the better.

Taking into account the negative political climate in Finland for migrants and visible minorities after the the 2011 elections, it’s unclear whether the ruling by Helsinki was motivated by a a genuine concern that non-residents such as tourists were abusing the system or simply because of ever-growing anti-immigration sentiment.