UNGA 73, Third Committee
Item 29 Advancement of Women
Statement of Finland
5 October 2018
H.E. Mr. Jussi Tanner
Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland
to the United Nations
This year Finland is the penholder of the resolution on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions. This resolution touches upon the very core of the human rights agenda, the inviolable right of every individual to life and dignity. Women and girls remain at particularly high risk of violations of these rights. Every day women and girls are being killed just because they are women, be it by armed groups, criminal organizations, or by members of their own family.
The term femicide has been coined to describe the killing of women and girls because of their gender. UN Women estimates that almost half of female homicide victims globally are killed by their family members or intimate partners, whereas the equivalent figure for men is just over 5 per cent. For indigenous women and girls and women and girls living with disabililties the homicide rates are particularly high, and girls with disabilities are particularly at risk of infanticide. Most of these deaths are as tragic as they are predictable. Far too many could have been prevented if society respondeded in time to stop the escalation of intimidation and violence that leads to femicide. To enable us to better understand the magnitude and scale of the problem, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions has called for improved cooperation between states in collecting of comparable data on femicide.
Feeding intimate partner violence is hate speech that perpetuates negative gender stereotypes. This has increased in scale and severity with the rapid digitalization the world has seen over the past year and is particularly targated at feminist activitists and LGBTI women. We need to increase our preventative efforts, modernize our law enforcement practises and review our legislation to enable more rapid and early responses to curb online hate speech.
Finland considers that the tools for curbing online hate speech can be found in the existing international human rights conventions. Last year we developed an action plan for preventing and combating violence against women through a participative process that brought together several ministries and civil society. Our national action plan increases investment in services for victims of violence, and also includes steps to improve data collection on femicide, including more accurate recording of the relationship between victims and perpetrators of violence.
For Finland, the international human rights conventions are important not just for reviewing and adapting national policy and practise, but as the cornerstone of our positions in international negotiations on these notoriously difficult topics. We attempt to protect the covenants that make up the body of international human rights law, and base our negotiating positions in these conventions while adapting a pragmatic approach. I firmly believe that we can find common ground if we attempt to root the interpretations of international human rights law in the daily lives of women and girls across the world.
Negotiations around sexual and reproductive health and rights have become removed from the realities of women and girls and the hard compromises reached in Beijing and Cairo are being constantly challenged, undermined and questioned. Women and girls worldwide keep bearing the consequences of our inability to reach agreement. Finland is committed to the full realization of sexual and reproductive rights for women and girls worldwide, and we are working to build alliances with countries across regional divides. We hope to see these alliances grow, and progress being made to advance the rights of women and girls worldwide.