Asylum-seekers faced detention in unsuitable facilities. An investigation began into Finland’s involvement in the US-led rendition programme. Conscientious objectors to military service were imprisoned.
At least 1,300 migrants and asylum-seekers were detained during the year. Over 65% were detained in police facilities with people facing criminal charges (contrary to international standards), without access to services, such as rehabilitation for victims of torture and education. An unaccompanied minor was held in the Metsälä Detention Centre for three months in the same facilities as adults and without access to education.
The asylum process still did not provide for an in-country suspensive right of appeal, increasing the risk of people being returned to countries where they might risk torture or other ill-treatment.
In September, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights reported that violence against women continued to be a serious problem. Women and girls remained inadequately protected from rape and other forms of sexual violence. Rape continued to be categorized according to the degree of violence used or threatened by the perpetrator, and few cases reached court or concluded in a guilty verdict.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman of Finland started an investigation into the state’s complicity in the CIA rendition programme. The Ombudsman has the power to review classified information and to lay charges against any state actor who may have committed crimes in the course of official duties. In November, the Ombudsman sent detailed written requests for information to 15 government agencies.
On 30 April, the Helsinki Court of Appeals confirmed the conviction of François Bazaramba for crimes of genocide committed in Rwanda in 1994. On 22 October the Supreme Court dismissed François Bazaramba’s application for leave to appeal.
Conscientious objectors to military service continued to be imprisoned for refusing to perform the alternative civilian service, as it remains punitive and discriminatory in length.