Finland: UN Special Rapporteur raises concerns about new bill threatening Sami peoples' right to land & livelihoods

Author: UN News Centre, Published on: 31 December 2015

"New bill in Finland threatens Sami peoples’ right to traditional lands, livelihoods, UN expert warns",

A United Nations human rights expert expressed deep concern today at the lack of consultation and the reduced protections to the Sami indigenous people in the current draft law on the Finnish Forest and Parks Service (Metsähallitus) to regulate the management of State-owned lands...According to the new bill, most of the Sami Homeland will be transferred to a new State-owned company that has yet to be established, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. This new company will have the responsibility for all logging carried out on State-owned lands in Finland, including in the Sami Homeland region...Ms. Tauli-Corpuz warned that without specific provisions safeguarding the Sami people, the revised Act will significantly weaken their rights, particularly the right to enjoy their own culture and to pursue their traditional livelihoods, and will further limit any recognition of their right to lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired. The UN Special Rapporteur also stressed that “it is crucial that with the transfer of liabilities to a new company, successfully negotiated agreements with the Metsähallitus and Sami reindeer herding cooperatives, such as land which has been designated as off-limits from forestry activities including logging, be transferred.”

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