For me, an equal Oulu means better implementation of human rights. As a candidate in the Municipal Elections 2017, I have pledged to the objectives of the Amnesty International’s campaign. I have promised to work for a city that offers sufficient support for women who have experienced violence, as well as for refugees who need to start a new life. Promoting human rights is one of my most important campaign themes.

Offering safety for people in need

Everyone has a responsibility to help people in need. Asylum seekers have a right for a fair and just application process. Oulu should continue to take on asylum seekers and offer housing for t hose who have received a residence permit. As the fifth biggest city in Finland, Oulu has responsibilities in helping refugees starting a new life. Resources for integration need to be at a sufficient level so that everybody has an opportunity to integrate in the local everyday life. Moreover, the government gives funding for the cities to organize the housing and integration of refugees.

Securing the rights of the undocumented migrants

It has been estimated that there are some dozens of undocumented migrants. Having undocumented migrants is not of anybody’s interest and so the Finnish government should reintroduce temporary residence permits. Temporary residence permits provided a way to deal with people who could not be turned back. This kept the amount of undocumented migrants low compared to the Nordic countries or European Union. The increasing amount of undocumented migrants will eventually lead into problems in Finland as well. Undocumented migrants cannot work legally, and so they cannot pay taxes.

According to the current Finnish legislation, people whose municipality of residence is not in Finland, are entitled to emergency medical treatment and critical support for livelihood. Oulu needs to secure access to basic services, such as health care, for undocumented immigrants at the same price as for other people living in Oulu. Helsinki and Turku have already taken that as their policy.

Providing low-threshold service points for people who have experienced violence

Violence against women is a big problem in Finland. One of third of Finnish women have been victims of domestic violence and tens of thousands women have to  face sexual violence every year.  The municipals can step in by investing in preventative measures and by providing low-threshold services. People need to be able to get help outside office hours as well. Easily accessible, multisectoral service points can be one way to help women who have experienced violence.

Equal Oulu for everyone

Oulu needs to lead the way in promoting equality as a city. The policy-makers of Oulu have to set an example in openness and equality of actions. They need to strongly and publicly object to racism and hate speech.

Our schools need to support pupils and students of diverse background by providing a safe and open atmosphere. For example, the situation of LGBTIQ youth can be helped by providing education for teachers and others working at schools, such as school nurses.

We need to recognize structural discrimination and strive for equality instead. For instance, anonymous recruiting would help to eliminate the effect of gender and ethnicity during the recruiting process.

Oulu has to invest in availability and accessibility of services, in English as well as there are more and more people whose mother tongue is not Finnish or Swedish. All city premises and services need to be accessible and promote participation in decision-making for people regardless of their background.