Prime Minister Juha Sipilä used a New Year’s address on Monday to warn about the dangers of disseminating hate speech. During his statement, the prime minister referred to ongoing investigations into cases of suspected child sex abuse in Oulu, where the alleged perpetrators are foreign-background men.
Sipilä stressed that everyone who comes to Finland must comply with the law of the land and should respect the integrity of others.
"We will not compromise at all. Persons found guilty of crimes will be held accountable for their actions in accordance with the rule of law. In addition, serious offences will negatively affect obtaining a permanent residence permit," he warned.
The PM also said that the suspects in the Oulu offences are individuals, not entire groups in society.
"I urge [you] not to use these events to stir up hatred against refugees or foreign-background people. Let me remind [you] that vigilante justice is a crime in the eyes of the law, as is disseminating hate speech," the premier added.
PM: Boost employment to 75 percent
Sipilä pointed to positive developments on the economic front, noting that the government had achieved its goal of 72-percent employment. However he called for further growth in employment to safeguard Finland’s welfare society.
"The number must rise to 75 percent during the next administration. It will require a commitment to continuing reform policies. For example easing access to employment for part-time workers," he advised.
A win for democracy
Sipilä said that the commemoration of the 1918 civil war has united the nation, allowing it to mourn the event without bitterness and a desire for revenge.
He pointed out that July 2019 will mark 100 years since the establishment of a republican form of government in Finland. He said that upcoming parliamentary elections are a celebration of democracy.
"I hope for an honest election battle, in which we can focus on finding solutions rather than inciting fear and pointing fingers. I believe that voters also have the same hope," he added.