Council of Europe

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is involved in the Council of Europe in its field in drafting international agreements and in implementing them in Finland. Finland is actively involved in the promotion of human rights matters in the CoE.

The areas of cooperation of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in the Council of Europe (CoE) include:

  • roma issues
  • rights of persons with disabilities
  • children's rights
  • drug policy
  • bioethics
  • quality of medicines
  • gender equality
  • organ and tissue transplantation and blood donation
  • activities of the executive and judicial bodies of the Council of Europe relevant for the administrative branch of the Ministry.

The MSAH reports regularly on implementation

The Council of Europe has issued more than 200 binding conventions and hundreds of non-binding recommendations. Monitoring mechanisms have been created for most conventions. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health participates in the preparations of international conventions belonging to its administrative branch and is responsible for the implementation of those conventions. The MSAH reports regularly on the implementation of conventions belonging to its administrative branch. These reports are forwarded to the CoE by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

There are five binding CoE conventions that have the most relevance for the administrative branch of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. These are the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Social Charter, the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine.

There are also other conventions that contain provisions relevant for the Ministry’s administrative branch. These include the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, and the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse.

Finland's Presidency of the Council of Europe

Finland is holder of the Presidency of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, from November 2018 to May 2019. The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs coordinates the work of the Finnish Presidency.