True Finns renounce racism, discrimination, and favouritism
MP Hakkarainen reprimanded for intemperate remarks
True Finns MP Teuvo Hakkarainen was chided by his Parliamentary group on Wednesday for recent racist comments. The group also made public a statement condemning all types of racism, discrimination, and violence.
The declaration was based on a text written by MP Jussi Halla-aho who has been an outspoken critic of current immigration policy.
Halla-aho says that the declaration is a response to recent demands put to the True Finns. The paper was sent to other Parliamentary groups in the hope that they might also endorse it.
The main idea of the declaration is to denounce discrimination, racism, and violence, regardless of whether or not the victims are members of a minority or a majority.
The True Finns condemned discrimination and favouritism on the labour market based on ethnic background, language, culture, religion, or other equivalent criteria.
They also denounced positive discrimination – the placing of minorities in a favoured position.
The City of Helsinki, for instance, has started to favour immigrants when hiring, so that their share in the work force would better reflect the demographic structure.
The True Finns take the same view on acts of violence. The statement calls on people with political and social clout, and those taking part in public debate to equally condemn all types of discrimination and violence “regardless of whether or not the victims represent the majority, or some minority”.
Halla-aho pointed out that racism is not restricted to the treatment of minorities by the population at large. It can exist between ethnic minorities, and members of minorities can practice it against the majority.
Halla-aho mentions violent acts committed against bus drivers in the Helsinki region.
“This year there has not been a single case in which a bus driver would have been attacked for racist motives. Drivers experience violence regardless of their ethnic background, and perpetrators include both native Finns and minorities.”
True Finns Parliamentary group leader Pirkko Ruohonen-Lerner said that the group had reprimanded MP Teuvo Hakkarainen for speaking in a manner that goes against the rules of the group.
Hakkarainen had spoken of “negro geezers” in a video interview with Helsingin Sanomat and most recently in the newspaper Jämsän Seutu.
“A Member of Parliament must behave in a stable, dignified fashion without insulting others. This is in the constitution and in the rules of our group”, Ruohonen-Lerner says.
Political declarations against racism are nothing new. Parliamentary parties have signed the European charter against racism, promising to oppose xenophobia and committing the parties to refuse to field racist candidates in elections.
Before the 2009 elections for the European Parliament, Swedish People’s Party chairman Stefan Wallin sought signatures from other party leaders on an appeal against racism.
Only True Finns leader Timo Soini refused. Soini said that the appeal was an attempt to influence the True Finns’ choice of candidates.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Police find no evidence of crime in comments by True Finn MP Hakkarainen (11.5.2011)
Timo Soini reprimands new MP (29.4.2011)
Timo Soini to reprimand MP Hakkarainen again for racially insensitive remarks (24.5.2011)