Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Ombudsman for Minorities in Finland

Eva Biaudet. Photo: Wikipedia.
An ombudsman, as defined by The Free Online Dictionary, is a government official, especially in Scandinavian countries, who investigates complaints against the government or its functionaries. An ombudsman for Minorities, for instance, receives and investigates complaints made by individuals from ethnic minorities. On 6 May 2010, a new ombudsman for Minorities - Eva Biaudet was appointed in Finland. She is in charge of promoting non-discrimination, equality and legal protection of minorities and foreigners in Finland.

The appointment of an ombudsman to advance the rights of minorities is always good news, but the appointment of Eva Biaudet was received with a pinch of salt. This is the case because the new ombudsman for minorities, Eva Biaudet, reportedly did not meet the job requirement.

Applicants for the position were expected, amongst other things, to be holders of a post-graduate university degree. This, according to Six Degrees was the first prerequisite for the job, and 29 out of 31 applicants for the position fulfilled this requirement. The new ombudsman for minorities, Eva Biaudet was one of the two applicants who did not have a postgraduate degree.

The million dollar question every objective person is asking is: why was Eva Biaudet appointed as Finland's new ombudsman for Minorities instead of someone (out of the 29 applicants who had a postgraduate degree) who fully met the requirements?

Why did the authorities bend the rules in this case?

It is interesting to note that, as mentioned earlier, there were eligible applicants (from ethnic minorities) with postgraduate degrees, like Husein Muhammed - a foreign-born lawyer and politician.

The new ombudsman for Minorities in Finland was appointed more than 3 months ago, but questions remain unanswered: are foreign-born individuals who meet the prerequisite for the position of Ombudsman for Minorities "unqualified" to receive and investigate complaints from ethnic minorities and foreigners in Finland?

Despite the controversy surrounding the new appointment, the office of the Ombudsman for Minorities is designed to protect and promote the rights of ethnic minorities and foreigners in Finland.

The office can be reached via telephone: +358 (0) 71 878 8666, on weekdays between 10am and 12pm.

More information about the role of the Ombudsman for Minorities in Finland is available on the office website.

Eva Biaudet was appointed for a 5-year term. 
*Photo: Wikipedia.

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