About us

The Finnish Refugee Council supports refugees and migrants in starting over. We are the United Nations’ refugee agency UNHCR’s partner. We believe that equality and the opportunity to live a decent life are key to stable societies and lasting peace. Equality leads to a better future – for all of us.

At the Finnish Refugee Council we have long been following the growing polarisation of the public discourse and the development of increasingly negative public attitudes towards ethnic minorities. In a report published in late 2017, Finland was reported to be among the most racially discriminatory countries in Europe. The majority of discrimination does not manifest itself as demonstrations by extreme movements, but as everyday actions at school, in employment or on public transport.

In our experience, the best way to combat prejudice and negative attitudes is discussion. Biases are not unchangeable thought structures, they are attitudes shaped by our social environment, culture and experiences, which we can influence.

– Annu Lehtinen, Executive Director of the Finnish Refugee Council

Racism and prejudice are often born of ignorance. When we do not know the facts, we resort to guesses, assumptions and generalisations. This is why education and discourse have great influence on public attitudes.

Even small donations can make a great deal of difference. One discussion event facilitated by a community mediator costs about 135 euros.

The Finnish Refugee Council defuses prejudice by increasing the public’s knowledge on refugees and migration, facilitating dialogue on prejudice and biases, and mediating conflicts with ethnic aspects. We hope that as many people as possible wish to join and support us in creating a positive transformation in public attitudes.

Equality begins with thoughts and everyday actions. Together we can build a better society for all of us. We all have biases – what matters is how we confront them and whether we choose to act on them. Together we can change the world – one thought and action at a time.