Does the City of Helsinki apply its anti-racism policies in renting out its premises?
The Free Movement Network (Vapaa liikkuvuus -verkosto) sent an open letter to members of the Helsinki City Council, as well as board members of Helsinki City offices and enterprises, concerning the rental of city premises for a Neo-Nazi seminar on October 22, 2011.
The National Resistance Movement, a National Socialist association, held an international Neo-Nazi seminar in Helsinki on 22nd October 2011, to which it had invited far-right organisations resembling criminal organisations from Sweden, Italy and Germany. It is evident from the photographs taken at the event that the City of Helsinki had rented its premises in the Sähkötalo building, owned by the company Helsingin Energia. The website for meeting arrangements in the City of Helsinki shows that Palmia is responsible for rental of these premises. Both Helsingin Energia and Palmia are enterprises owned by City of Helsinki.
The activities of Helsingin Energia are developed and supervised by a board that is nominated by the Helsinki City Council. The Free Movement network (Vapaa liikkuvuus -verkosto) demands that the City of Helsinki investigate how the renting of these permises are in line with the policies adopted by the City of Helsinki. According to a City guideline, the prevention of racism and ethnic discrimination should be guiding all activities of the City of Helsinki. It reads ”Each and every office and facility of the City of Helsinki must take into consideration the following principles in the planning of its activities: 1. The city has well established administrative and operational standards that prevent racism and ethnic discrimination”.
Furthermore, according to these instructions: ”Racism in all of its forms is prohibited in all activities by the city of Helsinki. Racism is an ideology according which people are categorised in different groups by race and/or culture. The hierarchical categorising and valuing leads to some groups and individuals pertaining to them being treated negatively.
”The Free Movement Network demands an investigation of how Helsingin Energia has ensured that no act of incitement to ethnic or racial hatred has occured in its premises”, comments Dan Koivulaakso from the Network. The Network also wants to know what kind of administrative and operational standards the company has in place to prevent racism.
The seminar organised in the Sähkötalo premises was part of an event named ”Fight back” organised by the National Resistance Movement. The organisation is part of a Swedish lead Nordic Resistance Movement, whose ideology lies in traditional National Socialism. The organisation states on their website that ”each alien who cannot be ’assimilated’ must be sent back. The ethnic and cultural immunity of the Nordic people must be protected. This is an absolute requirement in creating a stable and balanced society.”
Many of the movement’s Swedish members have been convicted of murder and attempts of murder, aggravated firearms crimes and possession of explosives. The leader of the movement, who is also the leader of the Finnish branch, has participated e.g. in fatal assault, aggrevated firearms crimes and bank robbery. A study in 2009 by independent research foundation Expo found that 95 of the movements members had been sentenced for 43 different violent crimes. Two members are currently serving long prison sentences for attempted murders..