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Biaudet: Racism breaks down Finnish society

Minority Ombudsman Eva Biaudet says she wants discussions on racism in Finland to move beyond single incidents to focus on the bigger picture.

Eva Biaudet
“Racism breaks down Finland and the values society is built on,” Eva Biaudet told Yle Radio 1 on Thursday. Image: YLE

Biaudet was referring to the furore sparked by last Sunday’s piece in Helsingin Sanomat by Palestinian-born Finnish writer and politician Umayya Abu-Hanna, who said she had relocated to the Netherlands with her adopted South African daughter to escape Finland’s xenophobic climate.

Abu-Hanna, who was one of Finland’s first foreign-born TV presenters, said her child had been the target of numerous racial slurs in Finland.

Biaudet told Yle on Thursday that racist attacks against individuals reflect on all minority groups.

"It sends a message of insecurity—that society is not safe for minorities. Hate breeds more hate."

Biaudet pointed to studies that show that racism is more common in countries with relatively few immigrants—countries that have lived in relative isolation like Finland.

"Stereotypes flourish when there are fewer opportunities for contact with different types of people," she said.

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