This past year has been a year to commemorate Finland’s Civil War of 1918. The year began with a joint declaration of the parties in Parliament, in which we committed to the principles of democracy and the rule of law and condemned all use of violence in politics. Our shared wish was to commemorate the anniversary in the spirit of reconciliation.
This wish has been fulfilled. The commemorative year has united our nation. After a hundred years, it is now finally possible to mourn together without vengefulness or bitterness. Research has shed valuable new light on the events of 1918.
In the joint declaration of the party leaders, we also promised to take care of Finland’s rule of law, which is based on respect for laws and an independent judiciary. We emphasised that no one in Finland has the right to take the law into their own hands.
News stories from Oulu over the past few weeks have once again drawn attention to the principles of the rule of law. The suspected acts of sexual abuse of minors have provoked feelings of shock and anger among the people of Finland.
First of all, every person who comes here must comply with Finnish laws and respect the integrity of all persons. We will not compromise on this in any way. People who are guilty of crimes are held responsible for their actions according to the principles of the rule of law. Serious offences also have a negative effect on the decision to grant permanent residence permits.
Second, it is important to remember that in this case, too, the suspected offences have been committed by individuals, not population groups. The incidents are being investigated by the police and the judgments will be made by the independent judiciary. I urge everyone not to use these events to incite hatred against refugees or people with a foreign background. It is important to remember that in a state governed by the rule of law, taking the law into one’s own hands is a crime, as is spreading hate speech.
- - -
Read the whole speech on the page of the Prime Minister´s Office.