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Finland: Updated guidelines on human rights defenders

Updated guidelines released by the Finland Ministry of Foreign Affairs will contribute positively to protecting and supporting human rights defenders globally, the International Service for Human Rights said today.

Updated guidelines released by the Finland Ministry of Foreign Affairs will strengthen the protection of human rights defenders globally.

The updated Guidelines, released and endorsed by Finland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pekka Haavisto, provide authoritative guidance to Finnish public servants and diplomatic missions on the steps and measures they should take to support and capacitate human rights defenders and protect those who are vulnerable or at risk. The Guidelines are intended to ensure Finland complies with and effectively implements the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders and the OSCE ODHIR Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders.

‘We welcome these updated Guidelines which incorporate many of the recommendations arising from a study on diplomatic guidelines we carried out in 2020-21,’ said ISHR Director Phil Lynch, referring to an ISHR initiative as part of which a range of tools were developed for human rights defenders and diplomats.

‘It is critical to the relevance and responsiveness of the new Finnish guidelines that they were developed in consultation with human rights defenders and organisation, as their perspectives and needs are paramount,’ Lynch said.

The updated Guidelines are available in Arabic, Russian, French, Spanish, and Finnish. They integrate useful annexes with tips for diplomats on monitoring and reporting about defenders, relevant indicators and a list of relevant resources and partners.

‘We look forward to strengthening our cooperation with Finnish diplomats at the UN level and at the national level on the protection of defenders,’ Lynch added. ‘Even more importantly, we look forward to the updated Guidelines being used in the places and for the defenders where they are needed most’.

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