HELSINKI – Everyday-racism a problem in Finland

A new survey released in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations on Tuesday (9 June) shows that people of African descent living in Finland experience racism and discrimination on a daily basis.

An earlier 2018 European Union report entitled “Being Black in the EU” found that 63% of people of African descent in Finland had experienced racist harassment in the five years before the survey was published. Among the 12 countries surveyed, Finland scored the worst.

The survey, “Racism and discrimination – everyday experiences for People of African descent in Finland” was released on Tuesday (9 June) by the country’s Non-Discrimination Ombudsman.

According to the report, discrimination and harassment occur in public, in education facilities, at work and when applying for work, according to the report. Public services, such as social and health care services, are not free from discrimination, either.

And while 20% of those surveyed said they had experienced ethnic profiling by the police or by security guards, up to 70% could recall discrimination in education. 

Also, almost 30% had been subjected to physical violence at school, and when applying for jobs 60% said they were not being treated equally.

The majority (60%), however, said they hadn’t filed any official complaints. 

“It is shocking that some people experience discrimination every day. Finland has to take a look in the mirror. We have to accept that there is structural racism in order to get rid of it,” said Akunna Onwen, a coordinator at the Anti-Racist Forum, told Helsingin Sanomat.

(Pekka Vänttinen |

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