In December last year the parliament approved a move to establish such a commission to look at the current and historical relationship between the Finnish State and the Sámi people of northern Finland.
Anyone who wants to be considered for a role in the commission’s work – there will be five people on the panel – needs to have specific knowledge of Sámi language, history and culture.
Once it is up and running, the commission will aim to identify and evaluate historical and current discrimination – including state integration policies and human rights violations – and assess their impact on the Sámi people and their community in the current context.
The commission will also be able to propose new ideas of how to improve contact contact between the Sámi and the state of Finland.
The end date for the commission to submit its report to the government, the Sámi Parliament and the Skolt Village Assembly by the end of November 2022.
How have we reached this point?
Back in October 2017 the Finnish government budgeted €200,000 to look at the issues involved in setting up some sort of truth commission.
The idea of an official reconciliation process raises painful issues for many Sámi, because injusticies were not only historical, but also took place in more recent living memory. Other issues around traditional land use and rights continue to cause friction between Sámi communities and the Finnish state.
A year later in autumn 2018 a government report about the sensitivities of addressing historical wrongs by the Finnish state was published in three Sámi languages, Finnish and Swedish, and came after weeks of consultations with Sámi people around the country.
By November 2019 the government decided to appoint a five-person commission tasked with investigating and learning lessons from history. The committee will operate impartially and independently, and its mandate was prepared in cooperation with the Sámi Parliament and the Skolt Village Assembly.
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