For the first time in Finland, flags were hoisted to commemorate Universal Children’s Day on Friday.
Saimi Harju and Samuel Kähäri, sixth-graders from Puistokoulu School in Jyväskylä represented children from all over Finland in the first children's rights flag celebration held in the country.
The students along with the Ombudsman for Children and representatives from the National Child Strategy and the City of Jyväskylä attended the event organised in line with current health and safety guidelines. The rest of the country could tune into the festivities through a live steam which on the Finnish Government’s official Youtube Channel.
Universal Children’s Day commemorates the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on 20 November 1989. In Finland, the day has been marked on calendars since 2002.
President Niinistö and PM Marin share greetings
President Sauli Niinistö, Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Speaker of Parliament Anu Vehviläinen addressed children across the country in the broadcast.
"When we asked children and young people about the important things in life, many mentioned the importance of a safe, listening and trusting adult. This is a serious message. It is the job of adults to bring security and understanding," Niinistö said.
In her video greeting, PM Marin said that Finland is drawing up its first National Child Strategy which aims to ensure that the rights of all children are realised.
"Based on the answers to the strategy survey, children want to ensure a safe everyday life for everyone. This means, among other things, that no one should be bullied or discriminated against," Marin said.
According to Speaker Vehviläinen, it is the duty of every Member of Parliament to think about the effects they have on children's lives when making decisions.
The broadcast also featured a performance by hip hop artist Elastinen, recorded specifically for the event.
Finland currently has seven official annual flag days. In addition to these dates, Finland flies flags on election days, when the president is inaugurated and customarily to mark many other occasions.