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Finland/ 5.1 General legislation  

5.1.1 Constitution

From the point of view of cultural policy the Finnish Constitution (1999) has relevant provisions in four respects - rights and liberties of individuals, equality, freedom of expression and cultural rights of minorities.

Chapter 1 states the basic principle that the constitution promotes justice in society and safeguards the rights of an individual and inviolability of human dignity and freedom.

Chapter 2, Section 6, states the principle that everyone is equal before the law, and no one shall, without an acceptable reason, be treated differently from other persons on the ground of sex, age, origin, language, religion, conviction, opinion, health, disability or other reason that concerns his or her person.

Chapter 2, Section 12, guarantees freedom of expression but also stipulates that legislative restrictions can be used to censor visual presentations to protect children, 

Chapter 2 section 16 (on Educational Rights) guarantees the freedom of science, art and higher education;

Chapter 2, Section 17, defines Swedish language as a parallel national language to Finnish, designates Sami, Roma and Finnish Sign Language as minority languages and Sami as an indigenous culture and stipulates the rights of the Sami and other minority groups to develop their own language and culture;

Chapter 11, Sections 120, stipulates that the Island / Province of Aland will have an autonomous status such as it is defined by special legislation;

Chapter 11, Section 121, guarantees cultural autonomy for the Sami living in the Sami Homeland municipalities. Special legislation defines the scope and contents of this autonomy.

It should be noted that rights and protections stated in these chapters are expressed to belong not only to citizens but "an individual" or "everybody".

Chapter published: 25-04-2017

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