ANTI-HATE CRIME ORGANISATION FINLAND*
SUOMEN VIHARIKOSVASTAINEN YHDISTYS RY
FINSKA ANTI-HARBOTTSORGANISATION RF
December 2, 2018
TWO REPORTS THAT SHOULD WORRY US
This week Finland got cold water thrown at it from two reports that reveal hate crime and Afrophobia are serious problems. One may rightfully ask how a country like Finland, which claims to have one of the best education systems in the world, can do so little to stop such hatred.
On Wednesday, a European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) study revealed that of the 12 countries surveyed, Finland was the worst place to be a person of African descent.
The following day, the Police University College released its hate crime report for 2017, which saw hate crimes rise by 8% to 1,165 cases compared with 1,079 the previous year.
One of the most worrying matters that the report revealed was the 58% rise in attacks due to religion. As in previous years, most hate crimes (69.8%) were due to ethnic or national background while 20.1% were motivated by the person’s religion.
Interior Minister Kai Mykkänen said in parliament that the FRA report sends a clear message to the whole of society. According to him, Finland is repeatedly at the top of hate crimes and hate speech charts of Europe.
Even if the government and Minister Mykkänen may express concern about the rise in racism in Finland, it is clear that too little is being done to tackle such social ills.
A good example is a recent case of a black woman who was called the n-word in a harassment case. Even if the woman reported the incident to the police, the men got a 60-euro fine for insulting her. There are many other examples. Even educators, who should know better, play down or don’t believe that there is racism in Finland.
With respect to hate crime and hate speech, it’s clear that the on-going fear mongering, insufficient outrage, and the tightening of immigration laws have contributed to making Finland a hostile environment for migrants and minorities, especially for people of African descent and Muslims.
As we see it, we have only ourselves to blame as a country for the rise in hate crime and hate speech. One perpetrator is the government, which has had since 2015 an Islamophobic party as its member.
It would be naïve, even reckless, to claim that only a change of government will improve things.
We have seen social movements and courageous people like Rosa Parks stand up to racism. Finland needs such people now more than ever.
For more information contact:
Enrique Tessieri Ahti Tolvanen
040 8400773 046 8129790
* Anti-Hate Crime Organisation Finland was founded in September and registered as an NGO in October. The aim of the NGO is to tackle and eradicate hate crime and all forms of discrimination in Finland such as anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Afrophobia, misogyny and other forms of social exclusion through education and training, seminars, events, conferences, among others.