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Russian-speaking residents of Finland face severe discrimination

January 15, 2014, 18:10 UTC+3 15
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MOSCOW, January 15 (Itar-Tass) - Russian-speaking minorities in Finland are one of the groups that are subjected to severe discrimination, being the most likely victims of racism and xenophobia in everyday life, as follows from a report on the human rights situation in the European Union, issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.

Some data gathered by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), cited in the report, show that Russian-speaking residents of Finland - the second largest national minority in the country (more than 51,000 people) - are among those most often complaining about discrimination.

“Russians rank second by the number of appeals submitted to the ethnic minority rights’ authorities,” the report says.

According to the September 2012 report of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks, there is no consultation mechanism for a dialogue between the countries’ authorities and Russian-speakers that would help “give an insight into existing problems and measures needed to address them,” the ministry goes on.

One of the main problems the Russian-speaking population of Finland has to face is job discrimination.

“The ECRI’s July report notes a high level of unemployment among Russian-speaking citizens of Finland and severe employment difficulties for candidates with Russian names (even for those born in Finland and having good command of the Finnish language)”, the report says. “Russians are sometimes denied banking services on the grounds of nationality over their alleged engagement in money-laundering.”

Some other problems, mentioned in the Foreign Ministry’s report, refer to the rights of women and children.

Despite the universally recognized progress achieved by Finland in ensuring gender equality, there still exists considerable professional segregation between women and men on the labor market, including unequal pay for equal work between women and men, and job discrimination concerned with pregnancy and childbirth.

The ministry is also concerned with the unresolved problem of the poorly qualified workforce and inadequate resources of social services in foster care institutions, including the absence of sufficient funds and the lack of personnel speaking the languages of major ethnic groups living in the country.

“The number of children raised outside the family remains extremely high,” the report notes. “According to official statistics, it amounted to 17,409 children in 2012.

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