Saami Council Chairman Tuomas Aslak Juuso. LEHTIKUVA


Saami Council Chairman Tuomas Aslak Juuso has provided a detailed account of the background and twists and turns of the latest attempt to reform the Saami Council Law. Juuso emphasized that the reform process failed due to political will, not the substance of the issue.

The reform process began in 2020 with the establishment of the Timonen Committee mandate and ended with the Constitutional Law Committee halting the consideration of the bill due to lack of time.

In his Finnish-language text, Juuso explains the work of the legal committee and the Saami Council's negotiation efforts within parliament across party lines.

"It is important that the twists and turns of the law reform process are known to everyone," said Juuso.

The twists and turns of the Saami Council Law have also received significant attention in the media, particularly as the consideration of the law dragged on until the last days of the parliamentary term. Juuso wanted to ensure that all information about the reform process was as accurate and available as possible.

"I wanted everyone to hear what happened during the process, and I hope that as many people as possible who are interested in the issue will take the time to read the text," said Juuso.

Juuso particularly regrets that the Centre Party, which opposed the bill, was not willing to negotiate solutions.

"It's unfortunate and strange that Centre Party leader Annika Saarikko refused to meet with us even once. I would have thought that they, too, would have seen the need for discussion on an issue that was a threshold issue for them, so that we could at least try to find solutions," said Juuso.

Saami Council Law reform has now failed under three consecutive governments. The UN Human Rights Committee and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination have also obliged Finland to amend the current law to respect the Saami people's right to self-determination, particularly in regards to electoral list criteria.