The task of the Ombudsman
The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman is an autonomous and independent authority. The task of the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman is to promote equality and to prevent discrimination. The Ombudsman also works towards improving the rights, living conditions and status of groups at risk of discrimination, such as foreign nationals. The Ombudsman further supervises the removal from the country of foreign nationals and is the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings.
Current Ombudsman is Kristina Stenman. The Government appoints the Ombudsman to the post up to five years. The duties and rights of the Ombudsman are provided for in the Non-Discrimination Act and the Act on the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman. Some of the duties and rights are provided for in the Aliens Act.
Non-Discrimination Ombudsman Kristina Stenman
Kristina Stenman acts as the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman. She started in the office on 1 August 2020.
Kristina Stenman was born to a bilingual family in Helsinki in 1962. Stenman has studied law as well as English and cultural anthropology in the University of Helsinki. She was also on the board of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) for a few years at the time, focusing especially on human rights issues and the international activities of HYY.
Stenman graduated as a Master of Laws in 1991. By that time, she had already started working at the Finnish Refugee Advice Centre, where she continued as an attorney-at-law and later as the Executive Director until 2006, with a few breaks due to two periods of parental leave and working as a Special Adviser. After that, she worked as a researcher at the Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi University and assisted Professor Martin Scheinin in his task as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism. From 2007 to 2010 she worked as the Deputy Mayor of Vaasa, and from 2011 to 2016 she worked in the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment as the Migration Director. She also was the Chair of the Advisory Board for International Human Rights Affairs from 1996 to 2003 and the Vice-Chair until 2007, and a member of the Advisory Board for Ethnic Relations and Chair of the Working Committee from 2011 to 2016.
Before her post as the Non-discrimination Ombudsman, Stenman was the Mayor of Pietarsaari from 2016 to 2020.
Kristina Stenman is married and has two adult children. She is also writing a dissertation in the history of law in the University of Helsinki on the topic of development of refugee law in the Nordic countries.