HELSINKI, June 12 (Xinhua) -- Finland's Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo warned on Friday that racism can have adverse effects on the country's national security.
Talking on national radio Yle, Ohisalo said racism undermines trust between citizens and in the country's institutions.
Ohisalo's comments came in the wake of a survey published by the office of Finland's Non-Discrimination Ombudsman this week indicating that discrimination and racism impact widely on the lives of people of African descent in Finland whether in schools or at the workplace. The office also noted that a previous study conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) showed that people of African descent living in Finland encounter the most racist harassment among the 12 EU countries included in the survey.
Minister Ohisalo acknowledged that racial profiling takes place in the country's police force. Several Finnish studies have indicated that people of color are more likely to be stopped by the police in the streets than other residents. Ohisalo said the phenomenon has been identified and it has been tackled. She noted that the current Finnish government aims to promote the recruitment of more people of non-Finnish ethnic background to the police force.
In Finland, the police force is a nationally led organization under the Ministry of the Interior. Police officers undergo a three-year training before taking up their duties.
Last week, an estimated 3,000 people demonstrated in Helsinki against racism at home and abroad, following the anti-racial discrimination demonstrations in the U.S. Earlier this week, a young immigrant was attacked in west-central Finland, which elicited wide-spread criticism across the country.
In parliament this week, the leading opposition party Finns Party ousted a member of its parliamentary group on account of his alleged racist statements on social media. Another Finns Party member of parliament could lose his criminal immunity and be indicted over an allegedly racist statement he had made in the chamber. Enditem