Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication.

Treatment of Minorities

Treatment of Minorities

Polls indicate a fairly high level of xenophobia in Finland. According to the last opinion poll conducted by the largest Finnish newspaper “Helsingin Sanomat” in 2010, society’s attitude towards immigrants has drastically deteriorated. The belief that immigrants only translocated to Finland in order to claim benefits became a very popular notion. Finnish society is also of the view that passing an exclusion act would improve matters.

According to surveys conducted in 2013, 90% of Roma believed that ethnic discrimination is widespread in Finland. 68.7% of Roma have experienced discrimination in the previous 12 months preceding the survey. 53.8% of Roma have experienced discrimination in the labor market over the past five years. In this case, neither age nor education can protect against discrimination. 87% of the people who experienced discrimination in the labor market were Roma, 86% were Somalis and 76% were Russian, but they prefer not to complain about such facts. 48.5% of Roma have experienced discrimination in obtaining public housing and 54.7% in the leasing of property from private individuals. Interestingly, if a complaint of discrimination in respect of the lease of state property was filed by 44% of Romanians in relation to discrimination in employment in the private sector only 15% filed housing complaints filed - largely due to the fact that among the Roma was widespread misconception that the prohibition of discrimination applies only to government properties. Another big problem for the Roma - the pressure of tradition and community authorities on those who want to lead a more modern way of life (39% of respondents indicated that they had experienced one or other of Roma traditions and that they were uncomfortable). There were even cases of physical violence against the Roma, who abandon their traditional way of life.

At the beginning of January 2013, the organisation “Pelastakaa lapset” (“Save the children”) revealed evidence showing the frequency at which hate speechs are directed at the “non-local” children in Finland, within the school settings. Although children do not always repeat their treatment in such incidents, that does not take away the possible damage done to their psyche; for example, some children admit never passing certain streets because they know it is possible they may get exposed to discrimination there.

Finnish Association of Russian-speaking Communities (FARC), established in 2000, currently includes 38 different organisations. Its activities include social, cultural, sporting and educational events aimed at integration into Finnish society of Russian-speaking families, children, youth, the elderly and immigrants with disabilities. In mid-December, Finnish media published an audio recording where a Helsinki local verbally abused an Estonian taxi driver as an immigrant.

On November 11 it was reported that a petition against compulsory Swedish language training in schools had been submitted to parliament, signed by 62 000 people.

20% of the vote received at the last parliamentary elections by the party True Finns, which maintains a high level of public support, is an eloquent testimony to the changes in society. Attempts to follow the ideology of the government parties of radical nationalists in matters to do with the foreigners living in Finland, shows that they have done nothing to counter right-wing politics. In fact, the practice of discrimination against foreign families associated with withdrawal of children by guardianship agencies, to discuss the possibilities of reducing teaching hours for the learning of the Swedish language at school and so on. All of this is the result of a loss of the ruling circles of Finland in the face of the unexpected problem of xenophobia. This creates certain problems in society and can potentially lead to a violation of the current legislation concerning the rights of minorities.

In the 2011 parliamentary elections, True Finns party won 19% of the vote and won only 1.4% less in 2015.

66% of Finland's population is ready to accept a Muslim as part of their family, according to a survey published by the American sociological service Per Research in October 2018. This is less than in Norway (82%) and Sweden (80%), but significantly more than in Estonia (25%), Latvia (19%) and Russia (34%). At the same time, 82% of Finns are ready to accept Jews into their families. However, almost two-thirds (62%) of Finns said they consider Islam fundamentally incompatible with Finnish culture and values.

49% of respondents consider Finnish culture superior to all others (58% in Norway, 26% in Sweden, 23% in Estonia, 38% in Latvia and 69% in Russia). 64% of the country's residents approve of same-sex marriage.

According to another study Pew Research in May 2018, only 35% of Finns believed that the number of migrants in the country should be reduced. Interestingly, 93% of those surveyed are ready to accept Muslims and 83% are ready to accept Jews as their neighbors, but only 45% are ready to put up with the religious dress worn by Muslim women.

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