Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) and Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen (NCP) were photographed after a government meeting on sex crimes in the Parliament House in Helsinki on 15 January. (Credit: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

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NINETEEN human rights organisations and networks have issued a joint statement criticising the public debate sparked by reports that serious sex crimes against children are under investigation in Oulu, North Ostrobothnia.

The signatories of the statement argue that sex crimes are a systemic part of the society.

“The shallow nature and xenophobic undertone of the current debate have not gone unnoticed by anyone who has wondered why sexual violence is not taken seriously in this country over the past years or decades. It is symptomatic that a racism-tinged spectacle, where the abuser is perceived and identified as an outsider, was needed to launch the long-demanded reform of sex crime laws,” they said.

“Demands for adopting tougher penalties for rape, increasing security and support services, and amending the legislation to protect victims have fallen on deaf ears for decades.”

The signatories include the Anti-Racism Media Activist Alliance (ARMA), Critical Race Studies Network Finland, Society for the Study of Ethnic Relations and International Migration (ETMU) and Seta, LGBTI Rights in Finland. The Me Too movement, they said, should have perhaps sparked similar protests against sexual abuse.

The organisations also estimated that the victims of sexual abuse and violence remain without a voice in the debate surrounding sex crimes.

“The ones now speaking on their behalf are doing so to score political points, but they have no interest in promoting gender equality or dissolving sexual violence and the structures that sustain it in other contexts,” they slammed.

They also expressed their approval with the overhaul of sex crime legislation announced last week by Minister of Justice Antti Häkkänen (NCP). Häkkänen said the Ministry of Justice will look into overhauling the legislation to ensure non-consensual sexual intercourse is always punishable under the criminal code.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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