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Finland: Citizens’ Initiative to Expel Persons Sentenced for Sexual Crimes Delivered to Finnish Parliament

(Oct. 3, 2019) On September 3, 2019, a citizens’ initiative (proposal for legislative action) to expel non-citizens who have committed sexual crimese was delivered to the Finnish parliament. The initiative was signed by 118,375 individuals (including the initiative taker, Saila Al-Jewari).

The proposal asks the Finnish Parliament to discuss and pass legislation to allow for the expulsion of any foreigner who is convicted of a sexual crime in Finland. The initiative further proposes that foreigners who are convicted of a sexual crime automatically lose any residence permit they possess, and that the Finnish Immigration Service should have the right to immediately deport the convicted person. In addition, persons who have been convicted of a sexual crime would be barred from applying for citizenship.

In accordance with the Finnish Constitution, citizens may join forces and suggest legislation, commonly referred to as a citizens’ initiative, provided that the legislative proposal is supported and signed by a minimum of 50,000 individuals who have the right to vote. (53 § 3 stk. Finnish Constitution.) The Act on Citizens’ Initiatives further specifies that the signatures must be obtained within six months of the date of the original initiative. Once the signatures are collected, the responsible initiative representative must within one year present them to the Population Register Center, which then validates the signatures and determines the eligibility of the initiative. Thereafter the responsible initiative representative must deliver the initiative to the Finnish Parliament within one year. (3, 5, 9, 11 §§ Act on Citizen’s Initiatives.)

The proposal was discussed in a preliminary debate in the Finnish Parliament on September 25, 2019, and referred to the Administration Committee for further review. A date for the presentation of a final Committee report has not been set.