Finland: Foreign Policy Guidelines for HRDs

In 2010, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland developed public guidelines on the implementation of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders. The document contains guidelines to guide the Foreign Ministry of Finland and their missions to improve the protection of human rights defenders and their work.

The guidelines includes examples of best practices used in diplomatic missions to support the work of human rights defenders. It also includes examples of financial support, such as Local Cooperation Funds, to which local NGOs can apply in the framework of diplomatic missions.

Similar legislation has been implemented by other countries, mainly European ones that have developed a separate implementation of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders (other examples include Norway, the United Kingdom, Switzerland). Protection International does not consider this kind of legislation as a national policy for the protection of human rights defenders, first of all because the guidelines are not binding. Secondly, because such guidelines are not applied to human rights defenders within the country that adopts it. Nevertheless, these measures aim at contributing to an enabling environment for human rights defenders in countries where Finland works on foreign missions, as they provide a focal point on the ground dedicated to provide assistance to human rights defenders by (amongst other activities) facilitating spaces for discussion or providing ad hoc support to human rights defenders in need.

Find the original publication here in English (Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs).