The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland published guidelines for the protection and support of human rights defenders at a seminar held on 27 November 2014. The guidelines provide the staff of the Ministry and its diplomatic missions with practical tools for cooperating with human rights defenders.
Minister Tuomioja pointed out that in many countries, civil society’s freedom of and space for action have been narrowed. Restrictions to freedom of association and freedom of speech, and imprisonment of human rights defenders on the basis of their human rights work, are common in many countries.
Stefania Kulaeva highlighted in particular the grave situation of persons most at risk of discrimination and of human rights defenders promoting the rights of these persons. These groups include, for instance, the Roma and LGBTI persons.
Kulaeva also spoke about legislation affecting the activities of the organizations, which to a worrying degree narrows Russian human rights defenders opportunities to act.