Speech at the seminar Human Rights in the Era of Post – 2015 Agenda organized by the Finnish NGO Foundation for Human Rights (KIOS)

september 24th, 2014My Articles and Speeches

Human Rights in the Era of Post – 2015 Agenda

The Future Roles of Civil Society in Promoting Justice and Accountability

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Dear friends of Human Rights. It is not only an honour and a privilege, but a real pleasure to be here today.

I assume that I have been asked to make these opening remarks in my capacity as chairperson for the Human Rights group that we have in the Finnish Parliament, and I will come back to our work.

Although the Sustainable Development Goals will not be ultimately negotiated and submitted until in September 2015 the preparation is carried out now and will be intensive until the end. There will be a focus on the many shortcomings. We have not eradicated poverty, we have not even reached the goals of right to an adequate standard of living, the right to food, the right to water and sanitation, the right to health, the right to education, the right to education, the right to development, all human rights in the context of sexual and reproductive health, labour rights and fundamental rights at work, gender equality, and the right to self-determination. But we have made a change.

Economic and social rights were represented in several goals, but were never recognised as human rights in themselves. The private sector and international financial institutions have not been included in the way one would have expected.

As we all know the concept of human rights must be fully integrated in the Post-2015 Agenda. This is something that all stakeholders do agree with. The High Commissioner for Human Rights Navenethem Pillay has in detail laid out how human rights elements and aspects should be included in the Post -2015 agenda. Ten points are stipulating the most essential issues. I will not go into details about the content, you know them as well as me. The Un has a new High Commissioner on Human Rights but the work continues along the same lines as outlined in this excellent paper.

Finland has been committed to this work, and internationally contributed in the field of gender equality, women empowerment, rule of law projects, good governance, democracy, access to justice and an active role for civil society.

It is also clear that the civil society must play a more important role in the process and in realizing the Post-2015 development goals. This not only concerns this process but is a condition for the success in any such processes. It is impossible for the states or the international community to reach any these important goals without the inclusion of the civil society, and thereby the people. I will not here try to suggest how this should be done. You are the experts, have the experience and time to discuss the ways and means. The important thing is to never doubt the importance of the civil society in the work of bringing in human rights to this process.

Some groups have more political clout than others, but we must remember them all. Youth, women, disabled and so on. One group that has been criticising the UN drafting committee for being left out are indigenous people who are left out of the sustainable development goals. In this context it should be remembered that the country were you happen to be now is a bilingual, including a territorial autonomy (the Åland islands) and accommodating an indigenous group of people (the Sámi), and with also being on record with making reference to the Roma population in the Constitution. All these components together with the comparatively short history of the country make it an interesting case to study that I will however not dwell on here.

I would like to dwell on the role of the parliamentarians in bringing human rights aspects in to the Post-2015 Agenda. Many parliaments, such as the Finnish do have a formal procedure for engaging in human rights question. In the case of Finland it is the Constitutional Committee. Finland has different from most other countries the tradition to let a parliamentarian from the Constitutional Committee represent the Parliament in the Finnish delegation to the CEDAW meetings, and I have had the possibility to be this MP twice.

Finland can be proud of being the first country in the world where women had full political rights, the first woman in the UN system to be an ASG (Assistant Secretary General) came from Finland, and the first country in the world where woman to be Minister of Defence was to be found in Finland. Women have held the most important posts in the country President of the Republic, Speaker of the Parliament, Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Foreign Minister, and President of the Supreme Court. But it is not the figures in the statistics that counts. What counts is when we have made the difference, and we still have a long way to go when it comes to violence against women. The Istanbul Convention is not yet ratified in Finland, but will be in the very near future.

We will not make the difference before we are equally participating in the decision making on an equal footing on all levels. The question of involving women is not a gender issue, it is the question of security. Not until women involved will have a lasting peace.

Rule of law is the responsibility of the Constitutional Committee and Rule of Law exists where law and order are prevalent, where there is equal treatment before the law, and where the public authority is bound by, and accountable before, pre-existing, clear and known laws and where human rights are protected.

Human rights issues is part of our formal work, but on top of that we have the Human rights group, maybe more for enthusiasts, and it is here that the role of the civil society comes in. We meet depending on the time every individual or group visiting Finland to tell us their history, their problems, and thereby giving us an insight that is absolutely necessary if one should be engaged and updated on the issue of human rights.

We meet with anyone, and we are never cautious from a political point of view. Everyone should have the right to be listened to. Parliamentarians do have a role to play when shaping the post-2015 agenda, weather in the national parliament, in international contexts such as the IPU or the African Parliamentarians initiative, or as in our case on an informal basis. The African parliamentarians have committed themselves to the cause and agree to be the voice in local, national and global affairs in their Declaration on the Millennium Development Goals and Post 2015 Development Agenda

With the aim to encourage those parliaments not yet having formalised the work on human rights the Belgrade Principles on the Relationship between National Human Rights Institutions and Parliament was adopted at a seminar attended by experts from National Human Rights Institutions, Parliaments and Universities from ten countries. This is not a legally binding agreement, but it advices parliaments to draft legislation for the establishment of a national human rights institution, develop a legal framework which secures its independence and accountability. The principles are about the necessity of financial independence, about ensuring openness and transparency of the appointment process, about reporting to the parliament, about the institution and parliaments in relation to International human rights mechanisms. The actors should also co-operate in monitoring the other judicial and administrative bodies’ judgements concerning human rights. This document could be very important to the civil society, and I encourage everyone to study the paper and make reference to it whenever it would serve the cause.

We Europeans tend to concentrate on defending human rights in other parts of the world, but not so often at home. Unfortunately is the world changing around us in a way that there is all too often a need for someone to stand up and defend human rights also in our closest vicinity. We are many inhabitants in this part of the world belonging to a minority, may it be for cultural or linguistic reasons, or maybe for several reasons we belong to a minority. In time of economic recession nationalism is flourishing and the world around us is becoming more and more hostile. There are individuals questioning the existence of minorities, demanding to have the costs for a minority presented in only figures. The richness of a multicultural society is easily forgotten.

You now have a unique chance to formulate a universal agenda, human rights and the Rule of Law is central to this aim.

It is impressive that so many experts, activists and officials have gathered here to find new paths forward in integrating human rights obligations to different aspects of development. The world is full of bystanders, but I cannot see one single in this room today. You who are participants in this seminar are representing the many Human Rights defenders around the globe, and I wish you all the strength needed to make this seminar contribute in laying out a roadmap for embedding all human rights into the core of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

You can find more information about the event here:


Speech from the CEDAW periodic rewiev in Geneva 20th of February

februari 24th, 2014My Articles and Speeches

CEDAW, Geneva, February 20, 2014

Introductory speech,

Madam Chair, Distinguished members of the Committee

Five years ago I had the pleasure and the honor to represent the Finnish parliament in the same context, then in New York, and it is a long tradition that the Constitutional Law Committee sends a representative to this meeting. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has through involving a parliamentarian in the reporting process increased the awareness about the procedure in the parliament.

The CEDAW Convention is an instrument highly respected in Finland.

Human Rights as well as CEDAW formally belong to the area of responsibility of the Constitutional Law Commission, but we also have an informal group focusing on Human Rights question, often from an international point of view in the parliament, and I am the chair-person of this group. The Constitutional Law Commission is controlling the constitutionality of every bill of law that is referred to the Commission, as there is no Constitutional Court in Finland. I am also member of the Commission for Labor and Equality, and of course this commission is responsible for many of the discussed here today, and plays a major role in in the work on reports being discussed in the parliament, such as the Action plan for Gender Equality.

I represent the Åland Islands in the Finnish parliament. There are two jurisdictions in Finland, and two Parliaments, the Åland autonomy was created through a decision by the League of Nations here in Geneva in 1921, as a minority solution, and with many mechanisms for protecting this minority. The Åland Autonomy is not labelled as a minority solution in the CEDAW context, and it is not within the area of responsibility of the Minority Ombudsman. I do not know why, but most likely because all the other minorities, and issues relating to them are internal matters, while the Åland solution is an international question and not solely entrenched in the Finnish constitution.

The questions we are here to discuss falls both within the area of the Åland Parliament and the Finnish parliament, many areas are divided and there is a need for cooperation. I can come back to this later, but let me give you one example. The question of a lifeline, a phone number where women in need of help can call 24/7 exists in the Åland Islands through an agreement with Uppsala in Sweden. A woman pays as much as for a local phone call and the personal has knowledge of whom to direct them to in the Åland Islands. The reason for this cooperation instead of creating a separate solution in the islands is of course the Swedish language, but also the fact that there are too few inhabitants to guarantee the anonymity.

You know all the figures showing that the women in Finland has a very special history in this context, the first country in the world where women had full political rights, the first country in the world where women were in majority in the Government, the first country in the world having a women as minister of defense, and the first ASG in the UN system came from Finland. Women have had all the important positions President, Prime minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Justice and now also Minister of Finance. This is of course not what is of course of little importance compared to changing the attitudes and thereby the society. But all these figures have drawn the attention to the Finnish Parliament. We have a cross-party lines cooperation founded already in 1974 for women, a women caucus and a lot of attention has been drawn to this cooperation. I have been involved in projects in Serbia, in Bosnia and other places, in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry or separately. Many of the transitional countries have introduced quotas and are therefore interested in different forms for women-empowerment arrangements, such as training courses, workshops, and last but not least what they can learn from colleagues who have already formed women caucuses.

Elisabeth Nauclér
MP, Constitutional Law Commission

Conference on Political Stability, Human Security and Development in West Africa. Role for ECOWAS-Parliament? / Conférence sur Stabilité Humaine et le Développement en Afrique de l’Oust. Quel rôle pour le Parlement de la CEDEAO?

oktober 31st, 2013My Articles and Speeches


What Role for ECOWAS-Parliament?

Dakar, Senegal 29 October 2013

Opening Ceremony

Son excellence, Mme la Commissaire chargée des Affaires politiques, la Paix et la Sécurité, Commission de la CEDEAO

Son excellence, M. le président du parlement de la CEDEAO

Son excellence, M. le président de l’Assemblée nationale de la république du Sénégal ;

Monsieur le Secrétaire Général du Parlement de la CEDEAO,

Honorable députés, membres du parlement de la CEDEAO,

Mes dames et messieurs, les cadres du parlement de la CEDEAO ;

Mes dames et messieurs, partenaires internationaux pour le développement et experts ;

Chers participants,

C’est pour moi un honneur et une joie d’être ici parmi vous ce matin et de représenter l’AWEPA à l’occasion de cette conférence sur la sécurité humaine et la stabilité politique en Afrique de l’ouest.

La présidente de l’AWEPA, le Ministre d’état Mme Miet Smet qui malheureusement n’a pas pu se joindre à vous ce matin pour des raisons personnelles, m’a confié la commission de vous faire part de cette allocution introductive, que je prononcerai en anglais.


First of all I want to thank the ECOWAS Parliament and Senegal for hosting this conference. Your region called West Africa is a highly dynamic region, boasting Africa’s most populous nation Nigeria. Here we find the continent’s first stable constitutional democracy, namely Ghana. The region consists of robust and growing economies such as Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria. The first female president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected in Liberia. You have done great progress in poverty reduction and in achieving the Millennium Developments Goals, but there is still much to be done, and it is here that the ECOWAS-Parliamentary cooperation has a crucial role to play.

The Millennium Development Goals are all about disaster and human tragedy. It is therefore encouraging to find some very positive results when it comes to your region. The proportion of the population living below an income of 1,25 USD/day is halve in Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria.

The proposition of the population that is undernourished is halve in Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria.

Mali has achieved the goal of universal primary education. Liberia has reduced the child mortality by two-thirds. The Gambia, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Benin will halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to drinking water. The maternal health situation is improving and the HIV begun to reverse the spread. And last but not least many countries promote gender equality and empower women, but a lot more needs to be done to achieve strong human development in the region, and that is one of the main targets for the work of ECOWAS.

Challenges are not negligible, West Africa periodically experiences violent civil conflict with repercussions over several generations sometimes, and it usually takes years to emerge completely from the economic setbacks.

You have experienced severe damage to livelihoods and food security through periodic and increasingly deleterious flooding and drought, and last year’s food crisis was compounded by political crisis and conflicts, as well as severe flooding in port and other strategic logistic corridors which impeded timely delivery of critical humanitarian goods and ultimately protracted the food crisis.

Fragile democracies, decades of post-colonialist military rule have simply muted underlying fissures, and it takes time to rebuild trust for government and nascent political parties. The goes for fragile economies – large informal economy, lubricated by the drug and arms trafficking which come with civil conflict and porous borders; alarming levels of youth unemployment, coupled with a population explosion whereby in some countries more than 50% of the population is under the age of 30.

We commend ECOWAS Parliament for taking on the challenge of tackling these issues through the human security and political stability lens: these perspectives permeate and define the challenges the region is facing to meet their development goals.

The ECOWAS Parliament is in a unique position to intervene in these issues, as many of the challenges are regional in scope – or take on regional proportions (i.e. flooding in Benin and Niger affected relief efforts in Mali; political crisis in Cote d’Ivoire affected neighbouring countries suddenly forced to deal with hundreds of thousands of refugees on a daily basis, etc.)

A greater role for the parliament will enhance the region’s ability to retain increasingly scarce donor funding, as well as building the capacity of national and regional entities to respond to their constituents, thereby strengthening political parties and the democratic process. Increased oversight and collaboration between the executive and legislative branches will increase aid effectiveness, ameliorate the perception of government and introduce accountability mechanisms which are necessary for effective programming and ultimately achieving development objectives.

We know that Africa has the knowledge, the technology and the means to end hunger and food security. We also know that a consistent strategy is needed. It will take a coordinated response across sectors, and ECOWAS has a crucial role to play. Institutions must be strengthened if fragile states shall develop into states where role of law is respected and good governance is implemented. Parliaments are legislators, and it a solid state is built on a legal system where laws are passed, implemented and respected. The value of cooperation by Parliaments cannot be overestimated. Equal legislation, equal rules, equal approach to common problems is a goal in any region with common interest, may it be the US, the EU or I would prefer to compare with the Nordic Council, a cooperation between the parliaments in the five independent states and the three autonomous territories in the Nordic countries having their 61st plenary session in Oslo this week. Already in the beginning of the 1950s did they have a common labor market and a passport union, long, long before the now existing Schengen union. Parliaments are bodies deciding on taxation, and domestic resource mobilization can only be done through a taxations system that is based on equal values, that respect bordering countries taxation system, and that is not seen as arbitrary. A condition for good governance, a system that combats corruption and let the guilty face justice is strong governing bodies, and if the whole region should follow this concept ECOWAS has a key-role to play.

The role of women in the political life is crucial. I represent Finland, the first country in the world where women had full political rights, the first country in the world to have female majority in the government, the first ASG in the UN system came from Finland etc. Women are significant food producers, but their control of land in sub-Saharan Africa is less than in any other region. Women in sub-Saharan Africa have less control than men do over productive resources such as assets, land and credit, their access to key institutions is curtailed 4 % of those who have signed a peace-treaty has been a woman during the last two decades. The UN Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security must be followed up by an action-plan. Finland has now passed its second action plan, and this is of common interest to the ECOWAS Parliaments. Together you can write action plans and together you can see to that they are implemented.

It is easy to find many shortcomings and disturbing figures in West Africa, but now is the time for looking forward. A volatile situation is in itself a challenge and an encouragement for taking actions for changes. You have the golden egg in your hands; you can make it happen here and now. You are in the lucky position to have the attention of the international community, you have partners here and now ready to support and assist you, AWEPA is not the only. It is time to turn the guidelines into an action plan, and it is time to take concrete measures. We are here to see this happen during these three days of conference in Senegal. I wish us all luck. Yes, we can !


Mme Smet n’a pas pu être ici ce matin, mais tient à adresser personnellement le message suivant à son excellence le Président du parlement de la CEDEAO, l’Honorable Ike Ekweremadu et à tous les participants: « Cette conférence représente un moment d’importance critique pour les états d’Afrique de l’ouest par rapport aux défis de sécurité et de pauvreté qui existent dans la région. Cet évènement est important si bien pour le parlement de la CEDEAO que pour le partenariat entre celui-ci et l’AWEPA. Je vous souhaite toute la réussite que le sujet mérite.»

Elisabeth Nauclér
MP, Finland

Tacktalet från franska ambassaden 17/10

oktober 23rd, 2013My Articles and Speeches

Votre excellence M l’Ambassadeur,
Chers collègues députés,
Chers collaborateurs,
Chers amis,

Je vous avoue que la surprise a été complète lorsque l’Ambassadeur de France, M. Lebédel m’a envoyé un texto cet été pour m’annoncer que je vais recevoir l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur. Je me rendais en Roumanie avec mon nouveau Lumia, et je ne faisais pas du tout confiance à ce portable. Peut-être l’appareil s’est trompé, il a fallu le vérifier, mais non c’était vrai, le texto est envoyé à moi et il est venu d’ici. Convaincue j’ai prononcé le seul mot correct – mersi, pas merci, parce que j’étais en Roumanie et il faut parler la langue locale.

C’était vraiment une grande surprise parce que suis déjà décoré avec l’Ordre Nationale de Mérite.

C’est vrai que j’entretiens depuis très longtemps une relation étroite avec votre pays, ou peut-je même dire le nôtre. Je n’ai aucun lien naturel avec la France, pas des racines, je n’ai jamais vécu en France ni travaillé là-bas. Je ne sais pas si c’est par hasard ou si c’est mon destin de m’engager dans les relations, d’abord Franco-Ålandais et plus tard Franco-Finlandais.

Je suis née en Suède, moitié suédoise et moitié norvégienne, une produite d’un mariage mixte, mais je ne le savais pas avant mon séjour au Balkan pendant la guerre. J’ai un passeport finlandais et j’ai le droit de domicile des îles d’Åland et je suis la première et seule personne qui a immigré en Finlande, demandé la citoyenneté moi-même et qui a été élue membre du Parlement de Finlande, mais j’entretiens une relation étroite avec la France.

Dans un sens c’était naturel aux îles d’Åland, la France joue un rôle important dans l’histoire des îles d’Åland. Les îles sont démilitarisées par un traité signé à Versailles en 1856. Le Président du Conseil français, George Clemenceau a joué un rôle important dans les négociations quand les habitants des îles d’Åland aspiraient d’être réunifiés avec la Suède. La question est soumise à la Société des Nations à Genève en 1921 résultant à l’autonomie actuelle.

Comme j’ai déjà dit j’étais dans le service de l’ONU au Balkan pendant la guerre en Yougoslavie, et par hasard, ou peut-être c’est mon destin, je me trouvais dans un milieu très francophone, avec des commandants en force français, et surtout quand j’ai travaillé dans le bureau de M. Sergio Vieira de Mello à Zagreb qui s’entourait des militaires français ou canadiens, mais bilingues.

Mais les relations les plus étroites que j’ai entretenu avec la France, c’est en tant que membre du Parlement de Finlande, et presque tout ce temps comme président(e) du groupe d’amitié Finlande France. Je ne sais pas pourquoi les relations avec la France sont plus intensives que les relations avec les autres pays en Europe. La France a la particularité et la chance d’avoir une couverture territoriale en Consuls honoraires en Finlande exceptionnelle, par rapport à la fois aux autres pays nordiques, mais aussi aux grands Etats européens comme l’Allemagne ou le Royaume-Uni. Les étudiants finlandais à l’ENA ont fondé une association déjà en 1985, une association très active avec 29 membres aujourd’hui etc.

Le groupe d’amitié Finlande France est un des groupes les plus anciens du Parlement, et il a joué un rôle important dans les relations bilatérales parlementaires de nos deux pays depuis plusieurs décennies. Nous sommes en effet privilégiés dans le sens que notre groupe a deux interlocuteurs en France: le groupe d’amitié France Finland de l’Assemblée nationale, et celui du Sénat. Nous avons pu constater que l’échange entre nos groupes a été régulier et nous a permis mieux nous connaître.

Personnellement j’ai pu participer à ces visites depuis 2007, et je me réjouis du fait que ces jours qui nous avons pu passer ensemble – en Finlande ou en France – a crée des liens d’amitié authentiques.

Nous espérons que l’échange entre nos groupes puisse continuer dans l’avenir malgré les contraintes économiques.

L’échange au niveau des groupes d’amitié est d’autant plus important en attendant la visite des présidents de l’Assemblée nationale et du Sénat en Finlande. Je sais que c’est notre but commun – le but du groupe d’amitié ainsi que de l’Ambassade de France – de faire notre mieux afin de voir une telle visite se réaliser dans l’avenir proche. On peut ajouter que jusqu’à présent quatre présidents du Parlement de Finlande ont visité votre parlement : Johannes Virolainen 1977, Riitta Uosukainen 1998, Paavo Lipponen 2005 et Sauli Niinistö 2008. Je veux souligner que réciprocité est importante dans la vie diplomatique.

Comme j’ai une place dans la Grande Commission où nous nous occuperons des affaires européennes, j’ai envie de continuer mon discours encore pendant une heure en vous expliquant comment nous nous sommes devenues de plus en plus proches, presque des voisins maintenant. Il y a des débats sur le Nord contre la Sud, et Les grand pouvoir contre les petits, mais l’Union européenne a besoin de la France, et l’Union européenne a besoin de la Finlande.

Recevoir une décoration est toujours un grand honneur mais, comme le nom indique, la Légion d’Honneur est un honneur exceptionnel. Cet hommage est donc adressé au Parlement de Finlande. C’est pour moi un grand privilège d’avoir tous les contacts avec la France et avec les représentants de votre, ou notre pays et, c’est grâce au fait d’avoir été élue membre de ce parlement. Je vous remercie infiniment, ainsi que le Président de la République M. Hollande, qui sera bienvenu « à Åland » (je dis toujours les îles d’Åland) s’il trouvera le temps pour une visite.

Je tiens également de remercier tout particulièrement Vous, Monsieur l’Ambassadeur, et Madame Lebédel, pour votre accueil toujours si chaleureux ici à l’Ambassade de France.

I have some friends here who made it all the way from London especially for this occasion, and even if you have not understood everything I have said, I can assure you that your presence here tonight in the French embassy is highly appreciated.

Det finns kanske också någon svenskspråkiga här som inte ännu lärt sig franska, men till er vill jag också säga att jag uppskattar mycket att ni kommit, både ni som kommit från Åland, men också alla andra.

Viimeiseksi, Suomi on kaksikielinen maa, mutta nyt tiedätte että valitettavasti minä puhun paremmin ranskaa kuin suomea. Kunniamerkin vastaanottaminen on minulle suuri kunnia, mutta yhtä hyvin arvostus on suunnattu eduskunnalle. Kiitän eduskuntaa saamistani mahdollisuuksista työskellellä näiden aioiden parissa. Kiitos että olette täällä jakamassa tätä kunnianosoitusta minun kanssani.

Elisabeth Nauclér
Helsingfors, 17 octobre 2013

Tal från öppnandet av den kubanska konstutställnignen den 15 oktober på riksdagen

oktober 16th, 2013My Articles and Speeches

Estimados amigos y artistas,

Es un gran honor para nosotros, el grupo parlamentario de Amistad Cuba-Finlandia, poder inaugurar por segunda vez una exposición de arte cubano en este edificio. La cultura es un puente que une a los pueblos.

Todos los que trabajamos aquí y los que vengan a visitarnos podrán apreciar las obras de los artistas Félix Torres, Alberto Oviedo y Jorge Frías.

Las obras recrean el ambiente tropical de Cuba con sus formas y colores, gracias a los artistas por su trabajo y por mostrarnos arte cubano.

Muchas gracias a ustedes,
¡Bienvenido, Ajiaco!

Mer information om Elisabeths medverkan i öppnandet kan ni läsa i pressmeddelandet här på bloggen.

Tal från Vårmöte för Suomen UN Women – Finlands UN Women ry och Vasa lokalavdelnings 30 -årsjubileum

april 22nd, 2013My Articles and Speeches | Tal och anföranden

Mina damer och herrar, Naiset ja herrat, Ladies and gentlemen

Olen erittäin iloinen saadessani YK:n tasa-arvojärjestön UN Women ry:n hallituksen jäsenenä tuoda tervehdyksen tähän tilaisuuteen. Äidinkieleni on ruotsi, ja oletan, että minun odotetaan juuri siksi sanovan muutamia sanoja täällä myös ruotsiksi. Tiedän myös, että paikalla on henkilöitä, jotka eivät ehkä puhu ruotsia. Minun suomen kielen taitoni on erittäin huono, mutta kuten voitte huomata, luen sitä sujuvasti paperista. Sen sijaan ymmärrän suomea hyvin, ja tärkeintähän on, että ymmärrämme toisiamme. Pyrin käyttämään ruotsin kieltä aina kun se on mahdollista, koska mielestäni on tärkeää osoittaa, että kieltä tarvitaan eikä se ole ainoastaan leikkikieli muumipeikkojen tarinoissa.

UN Women pyrkii työssään edistämään ihmisten keskinäistä yhteisymmärrystä ja parasta kielestä tai sukupuolesta riippumatta. Monilla meistä on ollut mahdollisuus tavata Helvi Sipilä, keskustella hänen kanssaan, matkustaa hänen kanssaan, nähdä hänen esiintyvän kansainvälisissä tilaisuuksissa, ja sitä emme unohda koskaan. Hän jätti lähtemättömät muistot mieliimme. Hän työskenteli maailman naisten aseman ja koko elämän parantamiseksi. Hän oli mukana partioliikkeessä, Zonta-liikkeessä, UNIFEM-järjestössä, hän oli ensimmäinen YK:n varapääsihteeriksi valittu nainen, jne. En edes yritä luetella kaikkea, mutta hän ei ollut niitä ”kansainvälisiä ihmisiä”, joita maailmassa kyllä riittää. Ihmisiä, jotka haluavat tehdä jotain kansainvälisen yhteisön hyväksi, mikä on sinänsä kiitettävää, mutta joilta puuttuu todellinen kiinnostus omaan yhteiskuntaansa ja sen vuoksi syvällinen ote työhönsä.

Helvi Sipilä engagemang hade ett verkligt djup. Jag vill påstå att hon genom sitt arbete banade väg för den första finska kvinnliga presidenten. Att jag nu lyfter fram Helvi på det här sättet är därför att vi är här för att hålla UN Womens vårmöte, en organisation som arbetar för att kvinnors ställning skall förbättras på det internationella planet, men vi är också här för att fira Vasa lokalavdelnings 30-årsjubileum. Helvi var outtröttlig i sitt arbete med att få fram lokalavdelningar runt om i Finland. Finland har fler lokalavdelningar än något annat land per invånare, fler medlemmar än något annat land. Och många frågar sig nog i dag behövs dessa lokalavdelningar när vi ändå är världsförbättrare. Vi arbetar ju på det internationella planet och inte här hemma i Finland.

Svaret är, den lokala förankringen krävs om vi skall få någon trovärdighet i det vi gör ute. Det fäste UN Women, eller som det hette på Helvis tid UNIFEM har i Finland och i världen hade knappast funnits utan engagemanget på lokalplan.

Till vardags sitter jag alltså i Riksdagen och jag är riksdagens genom tiderna enda invandrare som flyttat till Finland, som vuxen själv sökt medborgarskap och kommit in i Finlands riksdag sägs det. Och jag representerar också ett av de invandrartätaste områdena i Finland, nämligen landskapet Åland. Jag sitter i Arbets- och jämställdhetsutskottet där många av de frågor som UN Women engagerar sig i behandlas. Jag sitter också som tidigare åländska riksdagsledamöter före mig i grundlagsutskottet.

I den finska delegation som sänds till FN när CEDAW rapporten om Finland skall behandlas ingår av tradition en parlamentariker från grundlagsutskottet. Det skedde senast år 2008 i New York och jag utsågs att representera riksdagen. Eftersom det är unikt att ett land skickar en parlamentarikermedlem tog kommittén tillfället i akt och frågade ut mig, hur jag tänkte förbättra situationen för kvinnor i Finland på olika områden, vad jag skulle göra i riksdagen, hur jag tänkte att de frågor som då behandlades skulle lösas här hemma. Det gällde alltså att ha svar på kritiken mot Finland.

Det är lätt att representera Finland ute i världen i sådana här sammanhang det har jag lärt mig. Jag har representerat Finland inte bara i CEDAW-delegationen utan också i olika sammanhang när det gällt olika Women Empowerment pojekt i det som kallas transitional countries, länder som genomgår en förändring från odemokratiska regimer till att bli demokratier, en väg som inte är lätt att vandra. Finland är ett föregångsland i sådana sammanhang. Landet som var först i världen med att ha det som kallas fulla politiska rättigheter, 19 kvinnor i det första parlamentet, första landet i världen där kvinnorna varit i majoritet i regeringen, första kvinnliga försvarsministern i världen etc. Det visste också CEDAW- kommitténs medlemmar, men samtidigt noterade man att de fina siffrorna räcker inte. Vi har också höga siffror inom andra områden. Vi har höga siffror när det gäller våld i hemmet. Vi har ett skolsystem som fått uppmärksamhet världen över för sina fina resultat, men vi har också höga siffror när det gäller unga kvinnors psykiska hälsa. Hur mår ungdomar i dagens skola.

Finlands och andra nordiska länders förmåga att ute i världen anse sig vara bättre än andra och gärna vilja förbättra andras världar har uppmärksammats i pressen under den senaste tiden, bl.a. av norrmannen Terje Röd Larsen, ordförande för the International Peace Institute i New York. Var det därför vi inte fick en plats i säkerhetsrådet. Ja, ingen kan ge svaret på den frågan, men det finns allt skäl att tänka efter och se sambandet. Vi vill förbättra för kvinnor på det internationella planet, men vem skall förbättra det som är fel här hemma om inte vi. Vi kan inte räkna med att några internationella världsförbättrare skall komma hit och ta hand om oss. Och det är här som lokalavdelningarna kommer in. Det är här som Helvis initiativ, outtröttliga engagemang och arbete kommer in. Det är därför det är en stor ära för mig att få vara med när Vasa lokalavdelning firar sitt 30 års jubileum.

Idag talas det mycket om europeiska fördrag, konventioner, avtal, överenskommelser, direktiv och annat, men CEDAW är och förblir ett avtal som är för bindande för länderna och med rapporteringsskyldighet. Trots detta finns det en tendens att inte längre tycka att CEDAW är så viktigt. Detta är ett stort misstag och något som vi från Finland har all anledning att uppmärksamma och försöka göra något åt. Det är vi skyldiga varandra och Helvi. För mycket energi har satsat för att vi skall låta arbetet vara förgäves. Hit hör att se oss själva i spegeln och ta initiativ till att rätta till det som vi i Finland kritiseras för. Det är möjligt att lokalföreningarna behöver moderniseras, vi lever i en föränderlig värld, men vi behöver det lokala angagemanget mer än någonsin. Vi behöver det lokala närverk vi har, liksom vi behöver riksdagen och regeringen. Vi behöver personer på viktiga poster som vågar ställa sig upp och säga nu får det vara nog. Vi tolererar inte våld mot kvinnor, vi tolererar inte flickors ohälsa, vi tolererar inte invandrarkvinnors eftersatta tillvaro, sedan må det vara någonstans långt borta i ett fjärran land eller här hemma. Världen är full av by-standers, får inte bli en av dem.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to end with a few words in English as there are people in the audience who have not understood what I have said, and that is the most important in this work, that we do understand each other despite different languages, despite gender, or despite any other differences. I had the great pleasure to meet Helvi Sipilä for the first time 30 years ago when the Zonta club in the Åland Islands was founded. It was an honour to learn to know her, and to travel with her, see her in action. She was the founder of so many local UNIFEM Clubs around Finland, a work that brought Finland to the front line in the struggle for better conditions for women around the world.

As member of the Finnish Parliament I have been member of the Finnish delegation when the CEDAW report on Finland has been on the agenda of the CEDAW Committee. On one hand it has been easy because Finland is known for being the first country in the world where women had full political rights etc., but on the other hand difficult when you realise that despite believing that we are working on the international arena to improve the situation for women around the world there is a lot to do at home. Being a serious actor internationally requires the willingness to remedy the shortcomings at home. This is why the work done locally is very important, the local engagement, and I am very happy to be here for the 30th anniversary of the work of UNIFEM and later UN WOMEN in Vasa.

I would urge you all to continue the work, to keep up the good spirit of Helvi and never, never be a bystander.

Tal från Nagorno-Karabach seminarium 7 november 2012 översatt till ryska/Speech from a Nagorno-Karabakh seminar in Helsinki 7 November 2012 translated to Russian

februari 5th, 2013My Articles and Speeches | Tal och anföranden

Här är talet jag höll här på riksdagen under ett seminarium 7 november 2012 om Nagorno-Karaback. Talet på svenska och finska finns här.

Нагорный Карабах – замороженный конфликт

Аландские острова – финский пример автономии
7 ноября 2012 г., 10.00 – 13.00, Парламент Финляндии, Хельсинки

Уважаемые дамы и господа, уважаемые сторонники урегулирования конфликта!

Это не первое мое выступление, посвященное системе самоуправления Аландских островов и решению Аландского вопроса в контексте нагорно-карабахского конфликта. Да и не я одна выступаю по этим проблемам. На протяжении целого ряда лет интерес к данной теме был большим, проведены глубокие научные исследования. Первый раз я выступала по этому вопросу в Маарианхамине в декабре 1993 года, а в последний – в апреле этого года в Баку. И было еще немало выступлений между этими двумя событиями, в основном, на Аландских островах. Почему же именно Аландские острова постоянно упоминается в контексте решения нагорно-карабахского конфликта? На этот вопрос есть разные ответы, и я постараюсь осветить несколько точек зрения.

Первый вопрос, который возникает у многих слушателей, какое отношение к конфликту на Южном Кавказе имеют Аландские острова, расположенные в богатой и цивилизованной Северной Европе? Ответ гораздо ближе, чем многие думают. Когда всем на островах стало ясно, что Финляндия собирается получить независимость от России, то на Аландах это вызвало крайнее беспокойство. Идея стать частью Финляндии не вызывала восторга у местного населения по причинам безопасности: жители Аландских островов не верили, что молодое государство сможет обеспечить стабильность в стране. Но самую большую озабоченность вызывал языковой вопрос. Сейчас мы знаем, что Финляндия стала страной с двумя официальными государственными языками, но в то время жители Аландских островов об этом предполагать не могли. Поэтому они пришли к мнению, что лучше снова присоединиться к Швеции.

Я не собираюсь сейчас подробно рассматривать всю историю вопроса до мельчайших деталей. Скажу только что, на Аландских островах был проведен сбор подписей, в результате которого выяснилось, что подавляющее большинство населения выступает за присоединение Аландов к Швеции. Этот поименный список был отправлен в Стокгольм шведскому королю. Аландский вопрос рассматривался на Парижской мирной конференции, но в рамках Версальского мирного договора он так и не был урегулирован. Было заявлено, что данный вопрос имеет отношение к обеспечению безопасности, и по инициативе Великобритании его рассмотрение было перенесено в Лигу Наций.

Там он был решен в 1921 году таким образом, что Аландские острова получили статус автономии, оставшись при этом в составе финского государства. Финляндия обещала предоставить Аландским островам самую широкую автономию, которая только может быть у территории, не являющейся независимым государством. Населению Аландских островов была предоставлена гарантия сохранения шведского языка и шведской культуры в течение бессрочного периода. Устанавливалось, что обучение в учебных учреждениях и все отношения метрополии с провинцией будут вестись на шведском языке. Вопрос, однако, был связан также с обеспечением безопасности в регионе и стратегическим значением Аландских островов. В 1854 году во время Крымской войны территория Аландов была зоной военных действий, и, попав в руки врага, острова представляла угрозу для остальных государств. В соответствии с положениями Парижского мирного договора от 1856 года России запрещалось когда бы то ни было сооружать военные укрепления на Аландских островах. Но в 1921 году в Женеве на специальной конференции Лиги Наций, в которой участвовали также и государства региона Балтийского моря, было принято решение о демилитаризации и нейтрализации Аландских островов. Иными словами, острова стали не нейтральной, a именно нейтрализованной территорией. Логическим следствием данного статуса стало то, что в мирное время на Аландских островах запрещалось любое военное строительство, соответственно, в военное время территория не подлежала защите от нападения. В случае вооруженных конфликтов вступал в силу статус нейтрализованной территории, который определял, что подобные территории не могут быть вовлечены в театр военных действий. С этим согласились все страны, подписавшие договор. Условия договора были также обязательны для соблюдения другими государствами, за исключением России, которая в то время не являлась членом Лиги Наций и по этой причине не была приглашена на конференцию. Россию, однако, по-прежнему связывал договор о демилитаризации от 1856 года. Такое урегулирование вопроса явилось мерой по укреплению доверия, т.к. необходимо было снять напряжение в регионе. Такая мера хорошо подходит для регионов, где стороны не доверяют друг другу. Демилитаризация приграничных территорий в зоне военных действий проводилась и ранее, но Аландские острова стали единственной в мире зоной, которая была демилитаризована без того, чтобы территория сначала служила зоной военных действий, а также без того, чтобы через зону проходила граница.

В мире очень мало демилитаризованных и нейтрализованных зон (status mixtus), и есть всего одна территория, имеющая при этом статус автономии. Это Аландские острова. Данная комбинация особенно привлекательна при урегулировании конфликтов в тех зонах военных действий, где необходимо установить стабильное военное положение и одновременно обеспечить прочную автономию.

Каким образом обеспечивается прочная автономия Аландских островов? На это влияют многие факторы, но прежде всего нужно отметить, что ситуация на Аландских островах была урегулирована международным органом и решение было одобрено обеими странами-участниками конфликта. Финляндии и Швеции было дано три дня на признание решения Лиги Наций, и решение было признано, несмотря на то, что обе стороны были разочарованы конечным результатом. Финляндия не получила господства над Аландскими островами без значительных ограничений (sous-soveraignty), Швеция не обрела никакого господства. Кроме того была еще одна проигравшая сторона, если мы хотим использовать это слово – это Аландские острова, которые не смогли войти в состав Швеции. Один из руководителей Аландских островов, присутствовавший в Женеве на переговорах, назвал этот день самым горьким днем своей жизни. Таким образом, речь идет о решении, которое противоречило волеизъявлению народа, но, тем не менее, было конструктивным, и именно это делает опыт урегулирования Аландского вопроса столь интересным.

Время от времени раздаются упреки в том, что жители Аландских островов находятся в привилегированном положении. Не стоит забывать, что пребывание в меньшинстве это вовсе никакая не привилегия. Защита прав меньшинства – это своеобразная компенсация. В этой связи также следует отметить, что предоставление широких прав жителям Аландских островов как национальному меньшинству было вызвано необходимостью и гарантировало возможность выживания этой небольшой, полностью шведоязычной группе населения, в то время насчитывающей чуть более 20 тысячи человек. Я также хочу подчеркнуть, что основной целью различных видов защиты, предоставленных населению Аландов, было сохранение культуры и языка. Речь ни в коем случае не шла о том, чтобы затруднить переезд людей на Аландские острова. На острова может переехать кто угодно и когда угодно. Об этом свидетельствует и тот факт, что почти треть нынешних жителей островов родилась за пределами Аландов.

Таким образом, в этом конфликте участвовали две стороны: Аландские острова и Финляндия (или говоря официальным языком «держава» – ”riket”), которые не доверяли друг другу. Очевидно, по этой причине и были установлены все эти гарантии безопасности. В отличие от многих других случаев, правовой статус автономии Аландских островов был закреплен не конституцией Финляндии, а международным договором. Поскольку речь шла о международном решении, то оно должно было включать в себя возможность подачи апелляции в международные органы: в Лигу Наций, а в случае правового вопроса – в Постоянную палату международного правосудия в Гааге. Право апелляционного обжалования впоследствии было отменено и заменено другими процедурами, в подробности которых я не буду сейчас вдаваться. Следует отметить, что жители Аландских островов стали единственным меньшинством в мире, которые получили возможность влиять на то, кого метрополия будет направлять в регион в качестве своего представителя.

Представитель Финляндского государства называется губернатором, и вследствие указанной процедуры он пользуется доверием обеих сторон. Поэтому он может быть назначен председателем так называемой Аландской делегации, состоящей из двух представителей правительства Финляндии и двух представителей, избираемых лагтингом (Аландским парламентом). Делегация выступает в роли консультативного органа, занимающего трактовкой Закона о самоуправлении, а также выполняет функции арбитражного органа. Такой способ самоуправления впоследствии широко применялся во всем мире, так как был уникальным в своем роде.

Согласно Женевскому решению Лиги Наций, законодательная власть в регионе была разделена и были созданы две юрисдикции. Соответственно, это потребовало создания жесткой системы контроля, при которой большая роль отводилась не только Аландской делегации, но и Верховному суду. Окончательное же слово принадлежало президенту. Подобное было возможно благодаря сильному положению президента в политической системе Финляндии. Можно и дальше приводить примеры того, на чем базируется прочная автономия Аландских островов, что делает Аландскую модель самоуправления особо интересной для конфликтных регионов.

Конечно, региональную автономию легче создать на территории, которая имеет строго очерченные границы, например, на острове. Но в Финляндии существует и автономия внутри страны – автономия личности. Я имею в виду права, которыми наделено шведоязычное население Финляндии. Если существование этих двух систем возможно в Финляндии, то можно предположить, что с таким же успехом эта модель может использоваться и в других странах, в регионах, где нет строго очерченных границ.

Я использовала слово «модель», хотя вообще-то никогда не употребляю этого слова, говоря о системе самоуправления Аландских островов. Никаких моделей не существует. Все регионы имеют свою историю, свои условия, свои возможности и свои потребности. Просто существуют различные примеры решения проблемы. Сходства и модели, заслуживающие внимания, можно найти только тогда, когда на это есть желание. Если же такого желания нет, то и вряд ли найдется что-либо стоящее.

Когда в 1993 году председателем Минской группы был Хейкки Талвитие, представляющий Финляндию, то было ясно, что есть множество причин воспользоваться Аландским вариантом решения проблемы. Тогда представители политических кругов Армении и Азербайджана посетили с визитом Аландские острова. Я и сама тогда была дома на Аландах, приехав из региона другого конфликта – из Хорватии, которую в то время раздирали распри между сербами и хорватами. Я видела, что у этих двух конфликтов есть много общего. В Вашингтоне для краинских сербов был составлен проект Закона об автономии, т.н. план Z-4, в котором было много заимствований из системы самоуправления Аландских островов. План был отвергнут, и спор перерос в кровавую бойню. В результате десятки тысяч людей были вынуждены покинуть родные места, а их дома были сожжены дотла. Многие из них никогда не вернутся на родину, и остается только надеяться, что подобная участь минует Нагорный Карабах.

На протяжении ряда прошлых лет возможность использования Аландской модели видели не только члены Минской группы. Молодежь, журналисты, исследователи, женщины, политики – самые различные группы людей из Азербайджана и Армении встречались друг с другом на Аландских островах. Там они могли общаться друг с другом, и часто обе стороны видели реальные возможности – стоило только приложить немного усилий.

Аландским островам повезло в том смысле, что они смогли привлечь к себе внимание международного сообщества безо всякой войны в регионе. Это очень нетипично. Обычно для привлечения международного внимания требуются вспышки насилия, как например, в Косово или Восточном Тиморе. Мирные же попытки урегулирования конфликта, как например в Тибете, как правило, не привлекают к себе внимание мирового сообщества. Насилие нельзя рекомендовать в качестве средства привлечения международного внимания, тем более в случае с Нагорным Карабахом, к которому и так прикованы взгляды мирового сообщества. Я не стану спекулировать на тему, почему процесс урегулирования конфликта зашел в тупик. Тем не менее, можно отметить, что большой критике подверглась деятельность Минской группы, темп работы которой замедлился. Действия ЕС тоже не привели к желаемым результатам. Преимущество ОБСЕ заключается в том, что там представлены все стороны конфликта, и урегулирование конфликта под эгидой ОБСЕ является естественным форматом для решения данного кризиса. Не стоит также забывать еще об одном важном моменте – никой приглашенный посредник не сможет урегулировать конфликт, если этого не хотят сами стороны конфликта.

Как я уже отмечала ранее, Аландские острова не является моделью, но там существуют механизмы, которые могут служить моделями. К таковым относится система контроля за работой законодательных органов в пределах своей юрисдикции, которая была описана мной раньше. Я бы хотела обратить внимание еще на одну деталь или модель, если все же использовать это слово. Я имею в виду Швецию. Швеция с самого начала приняла решение и никогда более не вмешивалась в споры между Аландскими островами и Финляндией, которых на протяжении прошедших лет было немало. Швеция не выражала своей позиции ни «за», и ни «против», и трудно себе представить, что страна поддержала бы Аландские острова, если бы те выступили за признание своей независимости. При этом Швеция всячески поддерживала Аландские острова в области культуры, образования, медийного пространства и даже в сфере здравоохранения, так как роль языка в этих сферах огромна. Хочу отметить, что речь идет об идеальном так называемом материнском государстве (kin-state). Примеров государств, которые всяческим образом разжигали сепаратистские настроения местного населения и способствовали возникновению конфликтов, войн, ненависти и недружелюбия, очень много. В современной Европе Албания является примером такого материнского государства (kin-state), которое, можно сказать, способствовало урегулированию конфликта, не вмешиваясь в Косовский конфликт.

Аландские острова – это одна из немногих автономий в мире, которая имеет свой полицейский орган. Этот факт вызывает большой интерес у специалистов по урегулированию конфликтных ситуаций. Крайне важно, чтобы население доверяло полиции и чтобы полиция была «своей».

У молодых независимых государств иногда возникают проблемы, связанные с определением государственных границ и отношением к национальным меньшинствам. Так было и в Финляндии, и в Армении, Азербайджане и во многих странах бывшей Югославии. Автономия Аландских островов представляет собой крайне легалистическую систему, традиции которой уходят корнями во времена, когда Финляндия входила на правах автономии в состав Российской империи. Один единственный раз президент Финляндии отклонил закон, принятый парламентом Аландов, по не юридическим, а иным, основаниям. Это произошло при принятии Аландскими островами первого Закона о флаге. Президент Финляндии констатировал, что флаг очень похож на государственный флаг Швеции и это может представлять угрозу государственной безопасности. Это еще раз свидетельствует о том, насколько важными, даже я сказала бы непомерно важными, являются символы. Это касается как молодых, только что образовавшихся государств, так и автономных регионов. Экономика намного важнее любых символов, но об этом часто забывают – эмоции берут вверх. Тем не менее, об этом не стоит забывать тем, кто хочет содействовать мирному, а не военному урегулированию конфликта.

Всем нам, кто находился в зонах конфликта, не раз приходилось слышать такие слова: «Мы хотели бы быть автономной областью внутри Финляндии». К сожалению, соседей не выбирают. Приходится уживаться с теми, которые есть. Не следует забывать, что Аландские острова это вовсе не история со счастливым концом. На протяжении прошедших лет было много разногласий и проблем, но все они всегда решались за столом переговоров. Тем, кто изучает наш опыт, обязательно стоит ознакомиться с нашими ошибками, недостатками и проблемами. От этого никуда не денешься, хотя немногие хотят выносить свои проблемы на всеобщее обозрение. Но нам надо быть готовым к этому, если мы хотим честно и правдиво делиться своим опытом. Ведь мы же сами всегда находили пути решения своих проблем.

Tal från seminariet WOMEN FOR DEMOCRACY AND EQUALITY i Serbien

november 9th, 2012My Articles and Speeches | Tal och anföranden

Zrenjanin, 2-4 Novemeber 2012

It is for me, and especially for me, a great honour, and a real pleasure to as member of the Finnish Parliament address you on this highly important topic. When I say especially for me, it is because of my close relation to this part of the world.

In the Finnish Parliament I represent the Åland Islands, an autonomous territory in Finland that was granted autonomy through a decision by the League of Nations in 1921 in Geneva. The inhabitants of the islands, wanted to reunite with Sweden when Finland was seeking for independence as the inhabitants only spoke Swedish. But through the conflict resolution in 1921 they became an autonomous part of Finland, demilitarised and neutralised, with guarantees for the language, with their own parliament and hence constituting a separate jurisdiction. There are 30 members in that parliament. I have never been a member of that parliament, but for several years a civil servant there.

As a lawyer in the Åland administration it is inevitable not to be interested, and dragged into minority and autonomy questions, and that is also how I ended up in the Balkans. I visited Yugoslavia once, in 1987 for the inauguration of an island institute in Mali Lošin, finansed by UNESCO. But in 1993 I came down to be posted in Knin to try to convince the two parties to the conflict in Croatia that autonomy was a good idea for the Serbs in Krajina, and the Z-4 plan drafted in Washington was very much influenced by the Åland solution. I was supposed to stay for six months, but remained three and a half year. It became a lifelong engagement, including the question of autonomy in Vojvodina, and autonomy versus independence in Kosovo, and here I am again.

In 1993 in Knin there were very few women around, if any. What I now encounter is entirely different, and it makes me very happy, encouraging and gives hope for our common future in Europe, because I am sure we do have a common future.

The Åland Islands have one representative in the Finnish parliament, and I am the only MP representing the entire constituency alone. I have no party affiliation, but I do cooperate with the MP of the Swedish people’s party representing the Swedish community in Finland, and together we form the Swedish parliamentary group. Finland is a bilingual country according to the constitution while in the Åland Islands Swedish is the only official language. I always speak Swedish, which is then translated into Finnish. We do not have simultaneous interpretation in the Finnish parliament which I think is a weakness. In Kosovo they do have simultaneous interpretation to for example Serbian.

It is a remarkable fact that both men and women were granted full political rights at the same time in Finland, already in 1906 as the first country in the world where did not only have the right to vote, but also the right to stand in the elections. It was the first country in Europe where all citizens had the same right to vote. This was during the period when Finland was an autonomous grand-duche under Russia. Finland gained its independency in 1917. The women candidates were recruited in particular by the women’s organisation of political parties and obtained 10% of the seats in the very first parliamentary elections in 1907, and 13% in 1908. Many Western countries did not reach similar figures until the 1980s and the 1990s.

But I must admit that when I was elected member of the Finnish Parliament one hundred years later I was the first woman representing the Åland Islands.

In 1907 Finland also Ms Miina Sillanpää became Assistant Minister of Social affairs, but it took another 20 years before we again had a woman as a minister.

A few more historical years could be noted. In 1926 a law was passed whereby women could become civil servants and thereby also have positions at the university. In 1930 a new matrimonial law was passed giving men and women equal right to property within the marriage and this was, and is of course crucial to women’s equal position, that women have the right to property , the right to land etc. The first abortion law came in 1950 and in 1973 a law was passed whereby all children under the school age have the right to day care.

The first gender equality law came in 1987. Rape was criminalised within the marriage in 1994. All these dates and many more are to be found in a book published in 2006 for the centenary of the women’s right to vote. It ends with the year 2006 saying “Finland does not yet have one single immigrant MP”. But when I was elected the year after in 2007 became the first. I am born at the Norwegian/Swedish border with a Norwegian mother and a Swedish farther (mješanu brak) and I am supposedly the only person who has immigrated to Finland, not as a child with the family, applied for citizenship myself, and been elected MP in Finland.

The reason for this is of course that we do not have the election system with lists where the party can decide and whereby you can allocate seats for special groups. I do not criticise that system, but I can also see advantages in our system in Finland.

We always have to be active, to do our best and interact with the voters. The Finnish MPs have been considered as being well educated. And it goes for women as well. It was not what one would call a traditional women’s movement that was behind the successful outcome of the elections in 1906, it was women’s organisations of political parties. The emphasis on the woman’s perspective in Finnish feminism became more evident during the 1980s and the 1990s.

Women in Finland participated in higher education and scientific work more extensively than in most other countries. Women at the university, and in the field of research became common place earlier than in most other European countries. Many earned their doctorates abroad.

Even today are women in Finnish politics better educated than their male compatriots, more receiving master’s degrees. The 1980s the number of women earning doctorates has been rising rapidly in recent years. Finland is a model country when gender equality is concerned.

But there is certainly another picture behind the statistics. Inequality and discrimination against women can still be found in working life, placed at different working levels in the workplace hierarchically, women’s career development is hindered, they are underrepresented on university teaching staff, and this is what is called the glass-ceiling.

But I have not come here to speak of our shortcomings, but to speak of our successes. I like to say successes, but maybe “best practise” would be the appropriate word.

As I already said we do not have the election system with lists that the political parties can decide who will be on the list, and maybe even where. In Finland every candidate has to gain their own voters. There have been no affirmative actions or positive discrimination in our political life. The share of women has steadily increased. Most women have been well educated and well prepared for their political career.

Most of the women have experience from local politics. This is a special draw in Finnish political life, that I do not personally endorse, namely that MPs are also engaged in local politics, even on the highest level. You will even find ministers who are engaged in local politics. Accordingly almost all municipalities in Finland, except for Helsinki, have their council meetings on Mondays when the Parliament is out of session. The negative effect of this is that neither the politicians nor the voters can identify what is decided in the parliament, and what is decided on the local level. We had municipal elections last Sunday, and it has effected the work in the parliament for months. On the other hand we have for a short period discussed something else than the European economic crises and austerity measures, as on women minister put it the other day.

Finnish women have been integrated into politics at an early date, the interests of women and the nation state have been considered parallel. The integration of woman has followed the masculine model. Private life and family affairs have never been totally differentiated from public or social interests.

But critics claim that in the Nordic system with formal rules of equality and parity, power has always escaped women. The democratic process has not altered the hierarchical divisions based on gender, it is still a question of traditional values and thinking patterns.

Pin-pointing some features in the life of a Finnish Parliamentarian

You have probably already heard of our women network. All the women members of the Finnish Parliament form a network for the purpose of assembling women MPs across party lines to discuss questions of particular relevance to women. The aim of the network is to promote the equality between women and men as well as women’s right, and to introduce a female approach to all legislative work in general.
As you all realise the scope of questions are not so broad, we do not engage in just any question. But having said that I still think the network has been of great interest for all of us, and helped us to reach some of our goals.
The network arranges seminars and meetings on issues like equality and cooperation between women, sends representatives to international conferences on equality and women’s rights and maintains cooperative relations with women MPs in other countries. The previous seminar arranged by the network was on Human Trafficking, and before that we a seminar in cooperation with UN Women.

The network was founded in 1991 when a record number of women were elected to Parliament (77). One woman MP and a substitute are chosen from each group, the chairwoman is chosen for a one-year term on a basis of party rotation.

Amending the Law on gender equality in 1994, the right of children to day-care in 1997, violence in the family which is unfortunately a problem in Finland, and in 2003 prohibition of buying sex have been on the agenda.
Especially during the period of the first woman Speaker of the parliament was the working conditions in the parliament changed. We do not any more have the long debates all through the night. The debates are very limited, which are of course an agreement among the members, but a measure taken to make it possible for members, both men and women to have a family, and still be member of the parliament.

As I already mentioned we are not in Helsinki on Mondays as we are the supposed to be in the constituency to meet people, talk to them, to inform them, to answer their questions, visit factories, schools, simply report to voters and to respond to their demands. This is an essential element in our democracy. If we fail to report to the voters we will not be elected again, but this is of course not the reason why we should carry out this work. We simply owe it to the voters.

To be able to do this we of course have people to help us. In my case being member of a small group (10 MPs), I have access to three minister staff members, one of them a legal secretary who is very important to me as I am member of the Constitutional Committee.

When it comes to this very important committee we of course can draw on the secretariat of the committee, with two experienced counsellors, who are very experienced in constitutional questions, and often having served in the Ministry of Justice, a court or being promoted to a post in a Ministry or a court. It is a very important committee because we have no Constitutional Court in Finland. I am also a member of the Employment and Equality Committee.

Then we all have an assistant at our disposal. In my case I also have an office in the Åland Islands provided by the Åland Government. The assistants are entitled to on the expenses of the Parliament travel to the constituency once a month for tasks that should be carried out there.

The assistant plays a crucial role, not only to give the right papers at the right moment, but also to give substantial input to questions that I have to deal with, and where I have no special competence. The assistant is especially important to me when it comes to the digital world. As you all know this is extremely important. To report on the web to your voters is part of today’s democracy. My experience is that you by being very active easily can turn very superficial, and simply not being able to fulfil your role as an MP. There are exceptions Carl Bildt, the Swedish Foreign Minister, as well as our foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja. They are both very well-disciplined, and, I realise now, also men. I should really have had another example!

I have decided to write weekly reports, and link them to my facebook. I know that other members are more active on the Internet, but you simply have to judge for yourself.

We also have a special department for information services where you can ask for material on special topics. My assistant can call them and ask them to provide information before going on a trip like this. If I would like to know how the situation is in the Nordic countries when it comes to a certain form of taxation, they may get in touch with their colleagues in the other Nordic Parliaments. It is crucial for all of us to be well informed at all time, to have reliable collaborators, to keep in touch with the voters and the reality.

So what is the reality? The reality today is the Economic situation in Europe, the austerity measures and other crises – a field where women have to be more active to have any possibility to influence our future.

Do women support each other in the political life or are they just competing with each other, and not loyal to each other? We had a Prime Minister who had to leave her post after having held the position for about a month. This is an everlasting question, would the same thing have happened if she had been a man? We will never know the answer, but we do definitely not support each other enough! We should promote each other, underline the importance of what other women have said, quote other women. I hope we can agree on this.

Tal från seminariet 90 years of Autonomy: The Åland Example as a Tool for Resolving Conflicts

oktober 16th, 2012My Articles and Speeches | Tal och anföranden

90 years of Autonomy: The Åland Example as a Tool for Resolving Conflicts

2 October 2012 – European Parliament, Brussels

First of all I would like to congratulate the organisers for having asked Paavo Lipponen to put the Åland autonomy into its historical context. It is obvious to everyone who has any experience of raising the question of the Åland autonomy in conflict areas, but it is equally important when discussing the autonomy at home. One tends to forget the background of the autonomy, not only that it has its roots in the decision made by the League of Nations in 1921, but very little attention has been paid to the parallels that could be drawn to the status of Finland as an autonomous part of Russia. Finland had a very legalistic approach towards its autonomy, and thereby towards Russia, and the history has taught us that a minority has always benefited from legal guarantees. You should always stick to the regulations, demand for accurate implementation of the rules and never involve in any negotiations because every time something is changed you risk losing ground. This was the Finnish view and has so far been the Åland view.

In 15 minutes it is difficult to condense a lifelong engagement in the Åland autonomy, initially from a theoretical angle, then as a practician and later on in the work with conflict resolution involving third parties. I spent three and a half year in former Yugoslavia during the war because of my experience from working with the Åland autonomy, in the Åland administration and also in an international context.

So what did I carry in my toolbox?

When I in June 1993 arrived in Knin, the capital of the independent state of Krajina recognised by almost no one, they told me not to come there and talk to them about autonomy, they were interested in nothing less than independence. What do you know of bloody conflicts, you who come from one of the rich and civilised Nordic Countries. And anyone who has carried out talks in similar conflict areas, may it be in the Balkans or a former Soviet Republic, has heard them jokingly say we could also agree to be an autonomous part of Finland.
So obviously I had to do some rethinking if anyone should listen to me. Finland was not a rich country in 1917 at its independence – Tampere like Vukovar – the civil war in Finland was not about the Åland question. But it was with the same people, in the same time in the same spirit the Åland conflict had to be settled. Finland was an autonomy in a state that was not a democratic state.

And I would say this is the most important factor when working on these issues, or addressing any audience for that matter – what is their background – how do they perceive us – how do they perceive themselves.
Let me take an example: there were two constituent peoples in Yugoslavia, there were minorities and nationalities – no one wanted to be a minority. In Finland we do not talk about constituent peoples, but two constituent language communities on an equal footing, and Finland is a bilingual country. After the war in the Balkans no one wanted to become a minority. So I had to start and explain that the Åland autonomy is labelled a minority solution within Finland, but the Ålanders with a legislative assembly have much more power than the Swedish speakers in Finland, even though they are not a minority, only a de facto minority. The lesson learned from this that it is very often just the question of tricking with words.

Åland has territorial autonomy, and the Swedish speaking people in Finland personal autonomy, this war very clear to the specialists in Croatia, but what is regional autonomy, local autonomy, full regional autonomy etc. I spoke one entire day in New Delhi for parliamentarians from the Tibetan Parliament in exile. At the end of the day one of the participants said this is not at all interesting for us. If you had spoken about self-government it would have been of interest to us. To understand this you have to know what is autonomy within a Chinese context? And we have over the years used the term self-government, while in Greenland and the Faroes islands they use the term home-rule.

The Åland autonomy is not a model, there are no models, but there are mechanisms that are worth studying. Such as the Åland delegation – the influence Åland has on who the Finnish state sends as their representative – the international guarantees – the police force, Åland is one of the few autonomous territories being in charge of the police themselves, not under the control of the central power, and has been a model in the negotiations about Palestine

Several points of can be made regarding the Åland Example:

1. Against the will of the people/Ownership
2. Power-sharing in a hostile environment
3. Control system – Åland delegation – Supreme Court – the President
4. Kin-state, the negligence of the kin-state has probably been favourable to the Åland question, but at the same time worrying, Kosovo/Albania
4. Cross-border cooperation
5. Demilitarisation/neutralisation, I do not have the time to dwell on this question but Åland is not neutral, but neutralised – too little attention paied to this fact.

Mistakes equally important – the problems we have had- because there has been problems, but we have solved them. I used to say in Yugoslavia, that we are fighting everyday but not with weapons but at the negotiators table.


I was in the first working group in Åland preparing for the Finnish Accession to the EES/EEA, and later for the EU. The reason for EU giving Åland its special status and the protocol was that so many of the members states had been members of the LoN at the time of solving the Åland question and were therefore bound by the decision. I think this is very important to keep in mind that the historical context always has to be kept in mind.

Åland has such a strong constitutional position that it could have remained outside the EU – but it still part of EU – and the only territory with a parliament having exclusive legislative power, and not being part of a federative state where this is taken care of by the federative system, and still without a seat in the EP.

For Åland the EU meant competence leakage and there is no place for the special solutions within EU. I have a special seat in the Grand Committee in the Finnish Parliament but it is not a compensation. Finland amended the Åland constitution four times to accommodate – but never succeed – first the ålanders were not even allowed to defend themselves in the court – basic human right. I do not believe in Finland being able to negotiate seats in the EP for all the legislative regions in Finland. I think Finland needs to concentrate on the Åland Islands within the EU.

On an international arena I have been involved in discussions with minorities in countries becoming members of the EU such as the Hungarians in Romania, and I do not believe the EU will solve the problems.

Experiences from my time in the Finnish Parliament

Very little knowledge and probably decreasing as the Swedish language is losing ground
The normal way of thinking is that we pay no taxes, but receive enormous subventions and would like to be a tax-haven. We are not used actively in negotiating – not even mentioned in the action plan for mediation


We need to be very focused
Stick together
We speak – Finland’s speaks
The system built up in the time of mistrust and no confidence
Ownership – Inclusiveness – Power-sharing – good governance
Most important who do we speak to?

Not mix should be made with general information about Åland and tourist information. We will then blurr the picture and will not contribute in the way we could, and with no or very few results.

Thank you

Tal under öppningen av ”2012/5th International Conference on Russian America” på Bio savoy i Mariehamn

augusti 21st, 2012My Articles and Speeches | Tal och anföranden

2012/5th International Conference on Russian America &1st Åland/Finland International Conference on Russian America held in celebration of the Åland Islands 90th Year of Autonomy at Mariehamn, Capital of Autonomous Åland Islands, Finland 2012 August 20-25 “Those Other Russians”

Dear Participants

In resent decades we in the Åland Islands have come to pay attention and emphasize our Russian heritage. During several decades the visible as well as the invisible memories of our Russian past was forgotten and minimalized. We did not pay much attention to the ruins of the Russian Bomarsund fortress in the 50s when the road was built cross the fortress area. But today it is a symbol of our demilitarization and neutralization, and of the Islands of Peace.

Up to 1854 the Russian presence in the Åland mainly took the shape of the construction of the fortress as a huge logistic apparatus was needed. We know that Åland experienced an economic boom during the construction of the Bomarsund fortress and we know that during this time many Ålanders got strong economic or emotional relations to the Russian garrison that was stationed in Bomarsund, a garrison that included soldiers from whole of the Russian empire, which easily can be confirmed by just paying a visit to the Russian cemetery close to the fortress on Prestö.

In St Petersburg soon a community of 30.000 Finlanders was built up, including many Ålanders. But as we will see during this conference, Ålanders and Finns also went as far as Russian America. Finland was conquered from Sweden in 1809 and soon after became the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. The coast of Finland and the Åland Islands was since time immemorial inhabited by people that had a long tradition of seamanship, so these highly esteemed seafarers and their merchant fleet soon became the building blocks of the empire’s own merchant fleet. An important trading rout from Finland to Alaska was established and many Ålanders sailed on merchant ships from Finland to the Russian-American settlement Sitka. These people were true adventurers and round-the world sailors that had courage to embrace the unknown, as so many Ålanders before and after them.

It is therefore very much welcome that this seminar will be held in the Åland Islands, with so many different distinguished speakers who will present different views on the history of the people who left to work in Alaska, as well as the history of Åland and its autonomy. The fact that Finland was an autonomous part of Russia, and has experience of how to work with a central government as counterpart has undoubtedly affected the relation between Finland and the Åland authorities. An aspect that I find extremely interesting.

I would also like to congratulate the Åland Islands Emigrant Institute for their work. I will conclude by sharing a memory from 2003 with you. The Institute was located in the same building as the Åland Peace Institute at this time, and the Peace Institute had somewhat controversially reported George W. Bush to the International Criminal Court (ICC) because of the war in Iraq. This of course deeply upset the American Embassy in Helsinki. The ambassador did not pay a visit to the Åland Islands, but sent his deputy to visit the two institutes. The atmosphere was quite tense when we entered the Peace Institute and met with Mr Robert Jansson. Of course we left the first discussion with no hard feelings, but still with very different views on the US politics.

We continued to the Emigrant Institute and met with the Santa Clause, of the Ålander Haddon Sundblom. The who guided us had fulfilled her dreams when she in her youths was able to move to the U.S. and work, and she over and over repeated the sentence. “America has been so good to me, God Bless America”. When we left the house the diplomat said “So much in just one house!”

We here in the Åland Islands have a critical mindset, but we also know when to appreciate, and we do appreciate you coming here for this Conference.