Speech by Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson at the EU Roundtable on Equality Data 30.9.2021
Esteemed participants of the EU Roundtable on Equality Data and representatives of the European institutions.
I am pleased that today you have gathered to discuss an important topic: Equality Data. I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the discussion through a video greeting.
Finland is committed to strengthening systematic monitoring of discrimination and hate crimes in Finland. This is established in the current Government Programme and therefore the Finnish Government warmly welcomes the EU level dialogue on Equality Data. Our commitment is based on a long history of development work that has taken place in Finland. The Finnish Government set up a national discrimination monitoring system in 2008. The system has been in place to bring actors together to discuss discrimination against different population groups in Finland and to advance data collection on discrimination experiences.
As in Europe, also in Finland, we have an increased awareness for the need to gather evidence and data when planning policies. The demand for quality data on discrimination is not only national, but is based also on our international human rights commitments. We must be able to prove the efficiency of our policies by equality data not only to ourselves and to the human rights Treaty Bodies, but also to the people whom we are talking about. People who fall behind the statistical averages are, among other, LGBTI people, people of color, the Roma and the Sámi. The ultimate purpose of the data collection must not be forgotten and it is to improve the living conditions and equality of opportunities for all.
The Finnish model was developed on the basis of monitoring of discrimination in different areas of life and based on different discrimination grounds. The system focuses since 2016 increasingly on raising awareness of the importance of equality data in the mainstream data collection, in order to get data disaggregated by population groups. This is challenging, not only due to legal framework, but also due to practices and perceptions relating to data collection.
Representatives of the Ministry of Justice have actively participated in the work of the European Commission Subgroup on Equality Data. The cooperation at EU level has put forward development work and continues to inspire and feed into the work at national level. We appreciate this joint work, which is also supported by an EU REC funded project my Ministry is currently coordinating: the Know Equality –project. It is designed to further enhance equality data collection and use of equality data in Finland.
I wish you a fruitful discussion. Equality data is needed to support better decision-making and Finland is fully committed to the joint European work in this line of work.