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Fundamental social and human rights in Finland
Social rights consist of
- the rights guaranteed by ordinary legislation
- the fundamental social rights affirmed by the national Constitution
- the social human rights defined in international agreements on human rights.
Social rights, fundamental social rights and social human rights
The social benefits paid out by Kela are one example of social rights guaranteed by ordinary legislation.
The Constitution guarantees economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights, including the right to work, education, indispensable subsistence and care, social security and adequate social, health and medical services. The protection offered by some other provisions regarding fundamental rights, such as equal treatment, equality, good administration and due process, may also refer to ESC rights.
In Finland, ESC rights are protected by the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the European Social Charter.
In addition, the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) also include provisions which are important from the viewpoint of social rights, such as provisions on discrimination and fair trial. Ensuring that social rights are realised is primarily the responsibility of Parliament. The necessary legislation for the realisation of social rights is enacted by Parliament.
Implementation and supervision
Several actors both in Finland and abroad implement and supervise the realisation of social rights.
They include, in Finland, Kela, municipal governments, pension providers, insurance companies, and appellate and supervisory bodies, including both Finnish courts at all levels and international courts and human rights committees. In addition, the obligations of the guardians of law and order, the Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Chancellor of Justice, include supervising that the authorities and the officials follow the law, fulfil their obligations and that the citizens' fundamental and human rights are realised.