chapter  9
12 Pages

Finland: Children’s Right to Protection


Before 1809, Finland and Sweden shared the same history, and for 600 years Finland was peacefully part of Sweden. Since then there has been signifi cant ongoing interaction between Sweden and Finland in many different fi elds (legal, political, economic, and cultural). Much of what can be said about other Nordic countries applies also to Finland. In 1809, during the Napoleonic Wars, Sweden was forced to cede Finland to the Russian Empire, not as an independent state, but as a Grand Duchy of Russia with a legislative assembly (“Diet”) and a high degree of autonomy. During the 19th century, Finnish nationalism grew and in 1917 Finland declared

independence. In 1906, as Russia became politically weak, Finland gained a unicameral Parliament; universal suffrage was implemented for the fi rst time in the world’s history and Finnish women became the fi rst in the world to have unrestricted rights to vote and stand for election. In 1917, at a time when the Russian Government was paralyzed due to severe social and political turmoil, Finland declared its independence.