Search

 

Cablegate: Helsinki: President's Human Rights Roundtable At

VZCZCXYZ0009
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHHE #0696/01 2541113
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 111113Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3739
INFO RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE 0040
RUEHSL/AMEMBASSY BRATISLAVA 0065
RUEHUP/AMEMBASSY BUDAPEST 0057
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON 0112
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0216
RUEHPG/AMEMBASSY PRAGUE 0984
RUEHRA/AMEMBASSY RIGA 0865
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0191
RUEHSQ/AMEMBASSY SKOPJE 0070
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI 0194
RUEHTI/AMEMBASSY TIRANA 0113
RUEHVL/AMEMBASSY VILNIUS 3181
RUEHVB/AMEMBASSY ZAGREB 0087

UNCLAS HELSINKI 000696

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR G, DRL/SEA, AND NSC/DEMOC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL FI
SUBJECT: HELSINKI: PRESIDENT'S HUMAN RIGHTS ROUNDTABLE AT
2007 UNGA: FOLLOWING UP ON PRAGUE DOCUMENT

REF: SECSTATE 125456

1. (U) Finland's main human rights priority over the past
several years has been the battle against trafficking-in-
persons (TIP), and Post's outstanding cooperation with the
GoF in this area has made it a key highlight of our
bilateral relationship. Post has engaged very actively
with the Finns to raise awareness; to protect victims'
rights; to establish legislation to prosecute traffickers;
and to create a national TIP action plan. In 2005 Finland
began prosecuting its first trafficker under newly passed
legislation, and its demand-reduction and victim assistance
programs have become models elsewhere in Europe. Indeed,
during the past four years, we have seen Finland transform
itself from a nation that largely ignored its TIP problem
to a real leader in Europe in fighting TIP.

2. (U) Several government officials and civil society
activists could be fairly categorized as human rights
defenders in the battle against TIP. The most prominent of
these would include Ilkka Heranen, head of the Finnish
immigration authority, who has demanded that his units be
thoroughly trained in victim identification and assistance
methods; and Eva Biaudet, a long-time Finnish TIP activist
and former Member of Parliament, who was appointed OSCE
Special Representative on Combating Trafficking in Human
Beings in October 2006.

3. (U) The dialogue between government and civil society
groups in Finland is outstanding. NGOs operate shelters
that provide assistance and counseling to TIP victims;
phone hotlines for victims and law enforcement officals;
training seminars for Finnish law enforcement authorities;
and TIP demand reduction efforts. All NGOs receive the
bulk of their funding from the GoF. The GoF also provides
funding to the International Organization for Migration
(IOM), the Nordic-Baltic Task Force, and the OSCE to fund
anti-TIP projects.

4. (U) As for coordination with regional organizations and
coordination with the US, Finland has become a model for
simultaneously raising TIP awareness in Europe while also
promoting trans-Atlantic cooperation. Combating
trafficking-in-persons has been one of Finland's top
Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) priorities, and it used the
occasion of its EU Presidency during the second half of
2006 to raise awareness of TIP throughout the EU. The GoF
organized a conference on child victim identification and
interview issues that brought more than 100 law
enforcement, social work, and NGO personnel together from
throughout the EU. Citing American expertise with child
trafficking victims, the GoF asked the Embassy for
assistance in bringing in a US expert. Finland cooperates
with Europol, Eurojust; with the Nordic-Baltic countries,
through multilateral processes such as the Nordic-Baltic
Task Force and Arctic Council; with Nordic-Baltic countries
through the Nordic-Baltic information sharing network; and
bilaterally with Russia, the Baltic countries, and any
other relevant countries. As part of its national action
plan, the National Bureau of Investigation formed a
dedicated anti-trafficking unit. Finnish liaison officers
with anti-trafficking responsibility are now stationed in
Murmansk, Petrozavorsk, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Tallinn,
The Hague, Lyon, Malaga, and Beijing. Finland also
participates in the "Nordic Cooperation Network", a network
of Finnish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and Icelandic law
enforcement liaison officers scattered throughout Europe,
Asia, and the Middle-East.

5. (U) From the public diplomacy perspective, Finnish-
sponsored US-EU cooperation and Finnish efforts on the
multilateral stage have been highlighted by Finnish and
European media. US-Finland cooperation has also been a PD
highlight for us, and US TIP experts have always received
keen media interest on their frequent visits here.

6. (U) Aside from TIP, Finland's other human rights

priorities include financial and political support to
NGOs and occasional and targeted support to dissidents,
exiles, moderates, human rights activists and pro-
democracy leaders in Russia, "Europe's new neighborhood,"
and Central Asia. Finland funds several NGOs in Russia
that are engaged in environmental and educational
activities near the Finnish border. There is also
significant cross-border educational exchange. In 2006,
when Russia passed its infamous legislation aimed at
limiting NGOs ability to operate, Finnish Members of
Parliament wrote an open letter to their Duma
counterparts urging them to strengthen, rather than
limit, indigenous Russian NGOs and also calling on them
to consider the negative impact such legislation would
have on Russia's worldwide human rights image. The GoF
also protested through diplomatic channels and insisted
on exemptions to ensure that the NGOs it funds could
continue their work.

7. (U) As for the more difficult work of reaching out to
regional democracy activists and human rights defenders,
Finland targets its efforts carefully. The GoF has
funded the International Humanities University in Vilnius
for Belarusian exiles through the EU and bilaterally for
more than three years. Meanwhile, senior GoF officials
have begun to take a more direct role in reaching out to
pro-democracy leaders, especially in the Balkans and in
Belarus. PM Vanhanen hosted Belarusian opposition leader
Alexandre Milinkevic last fall; the Finns highlighted
support for democratic forces during the EU-Ukraine
Summit that occurred during their EU Presidency; and
President Halonen hosted Serb President Tadic June 2 in
an attempt to help bolster pro-Western forces within
Belgrade's new government. Finland also targets
significant development and civil society funding to
Kosovo. Finland showed real leadership in Spring 2007 in
calling for a "common EU policy" to support Estonia and
in criticizing Moscow's heavy-handed reprisals during the
"Bronze Statue" crisis. This was a clear break from the
practice of previous administrations, which preferred to
sit back and let the EU take the lead on contentious
Russia-related human rights issues.
HYATT

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ramzy Baroud: Year in Review Will 2018 Usher in a New Palestinian Strategy

2017 will be remembered as the year that the so-called ‘peace process’, at least in its American formulation, has ended. And with its demise, a political framework that has served as the foundation for US foreign policy in the Middle East has also collapsed. More>>

ALSO:


North Korea: NZ Denounces Missile Test

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has denounced North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test. The test, which took place this morning, is North Korea’s third test flight of an inter-continental ballistic missile. More>>

ALSO:

Campbell On: the US demonising of Iran

Satan may not exist, but the Evil One has always been a handy tool for priests and politicians alike.

Currently, Iran is the latest bogey conjured up by Washington to (a) justify its foreign policy interventions and (b) distract attention from its foreign policy failures.

Once upon a time, the Soviet Union was the nightmare threat for the entire Cold War era – and since then the US has cast the Taliban, al Qaeda, and Islamic State in the same demonic role. Iran is now the latest example…More


Catalan Independence:
Pro-independence parties appear to have a narrow majority. More>>