(Siku Circumpolar News, 7 February 2009) -- The failure to provide basic services in Saami has resulted in the imposition of a conditional fine by Finland's National Discrimination Tribunal. The 5,000-euro fine is the first of its kind to be handed down. At the heart of the dispute is the provision of day care services in the Saami language in the northern municipality of Enontekiö. Minority Ombusdman Johanna Suurpää slapped the conditional fine on the municipality for neglecting to provide the contested service, YLE reports. The fine was imposed when the town of Kilpisjärvi failed to hire a care provider for the village’s only Saami child. “The Child Day Care Act calls on municipalities throughout the country to provide child care services in Finnish, Swedish and Saami,” Suurpää said. Pentti Keskitalo, head of the Enontekiö municipality said that several attempts to find a Saami care provider in Kilpisjärvi were unsuccessful. “Kilpisjärvi is so far from other villages that no one wants to work there,” Keskitalo explained. The case is now before the Administrative Court. Finland observed Saami National Day on Friday.
Posted 9 February 2009; 12:13:43 PM. Permalink
(BarentsObserver, 9 February 2009) -- The five Nordic countries should strengthen security cooperation in the Arctic, former Norwegian foreign minister Thorvald Stoltenberg concludes in his report on Nordic defence cooperation handed over to the countries’ foreign ministers today. With a frontpage design displaying a map of the great waters of the North Atlantic and the Arctic, there is hardly any doubt that the report on Nordic defence cooperation includes a high focus on marine issues, as well as a view towards Arctic challenges. Although touching on a range of issues and 13 fields of potential cooperation, the report does have the Arctic as a key focus. “It is widely believed that the Nordic area will have an increasing geopolitical and strategic importance, following the Nordic waters' role as production and transit area for oil and gas to the European markets and the development of the Arctic”, the report reads. “With climate change and ice melting, these [Arctic] waters are opened for considerably activities, including new shipping routes […] This makes it interesting with Nordic cooperation in the sea areas and the Arctic”, it continues. The report is edited by former Norwegian foreign minister Thorvald Stoltenberg, who in June 2008 was commissioned by the five countries' governments to elaborate on the issue. A group of ten experts from all the countries have since assisted Mr. Stoltenberg with the report.
Posted 9 February 2009; 11:34:02 AM. Permalink