Länsman v. Finland (I)

Communication No. 511/1992, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/52/D/511/1992 (1994)

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Länsman v. Finland (I)

United Nations Human Rights Committee
Communication No. 511/1992, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/52/D/511/1992 (1994)

Facts

The Central Forestry Board of Finland approved a contract for a private company, Arctic Stone Company, to quarry stone near land traditionally owned by the Muotkatunturi Herdsmen’s Committee. Ilmari Länsman and other members of the Muotkatunturi Herdsmen’s Committee (the reindeer breeders) (plaintiffs) brought a communication to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (the committee). Reindeer breeding was traditionally a key part of the culture of the Sami ethnic group. The reindeer breeders had designed a complex series of special pens and fences around the area for reindeer-herding purposes. The reindeer breeders argued that the contract would allow the Arctic Stone Company to transport the stone the company extracted directly through the system of reindeer fences, disturbing the traditional herding activities. The reindeer breeders argued that this disturbance would violate Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Finland (defendant) argued that reindeer breeding was not included under the Article 27 right to culture, given the modern technology used in the fencing system, because Article 27 protected only traditional means of livelihood. The contract allowing quarrying contained conditions protecting the reindeer breeders, including that the quarrying should primarily be conducted outside of the pasturing season.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning ()

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