Right now, the world has the highest number of people forced to leave their homes since the Second World War. Forced displacement is only expected to increase in the future, partly as a result of the climate crisis. In a world of global challenges and protracted crises, sustainable and long-term solutions are needed in the face of increasing forced displacement.

In our vision for the future, refugees and migrants are equal and contributing members of their societies. At the heart of the Finnish Refugee Council’s activity is long-term advocacy work to make this vision a reality. We work to ensure that the right to seek asylum is respected, that the International Refugee Convention and Protocol are upheld, and that the fundamental and human rights of those who are forced to flee are fulfilled.

Finnish Refugee Council is a significant expert on forced displacement and integration in Finland. As an organisation, we provide a range of specialist support and integration support services to authorities, organisations, and people in the process of integration. We influence the structures of society, political decisions, and the implementation of decisions both in Finland and internationally.

Key objectives of Finnish Refugee Council’s advocacy work:

  1. The fundamental and human rights of every person affected by forced displacement and seeking protection are respected both at and within national borders. This includes respect for international conventions, a fair, humane and reliable asylum system, safe and legal migration pathways, the right to freedom and humane treatment, and the right to family unity.
  2. Integration is personalised and effective. Individually tailored and quality integration services reach all those who need them. Refugees and other vulnerable people are better identified and taken into account by public authorities and services.

  3. Finland has an anti-racist and positive attitude towards immigrants and diversity. We work to prevent polarisation, to dispel prejudices and to increase empathy and understanding towards other people. We work to dismantle structures of inequality and do anti-racist work to promote equality.
  4. Finland’s development cooperation is long-term and goal-oriented. Our goal is for Finland to shoulder its global responsibility by defending development cooperation and investing at least 0.7% of Finland’s GDP in financing it. Development cooperation and humanitarian aid will not be used as a tool for managing migration, and this principle will also be defended at the EU level.

Our advocacy activities include:

  • Influencing policy decisions and their implementation
  • Issuing statements in the context of legislative drafting
  • Position papers and blog posts
  • Media work and expert interviews
  • Training for experts, decision-makers and journalists
  • Participation in working groups and networks
  • Influential campaigns
  • Contributing to the current public debate

In our International Programme, we defend the rights of refugees and migrants in concrete terms by providing them with access to information, education, and sustainable livelihoods. We are currently working abroad in Ethiopia, Myanmar, and Uganda.

Effective organisational advocacy also requires collaboration. Finnish Refugee Council is the official information and cooperation partner of the UNHCR. On the international scene, we work with other humanitarian actors in the ICVA network (International Council of Voluntary Agencies). In Finland, we lead and coordinate a refugee advocacy network that includes a wide range of organisations and other actors working in the field of migration and integration.

Refugee of the Year

Every year, Finnish Refugee Council awards the Refugee of the Year recognition, awarding one person with a refugee background. The criteria for the award is a willingness to take a stand on integration and overall positive action in everyday life as a member of society. The purpose of the award is to support people with refugee backgrounds to engage in conversations about integration, influence the structures of society, and support them in achieving their dreams in Finland.

Before 2023, the recognition was awarded annually to one woman and one man of refugee origin.

Integration Act of the Year

Every 2-3 years, the Finnish Refugee Council grants the Integration Act recognition to an organisation that promotes the integration of immigrants and society’s capacity to receive newcomers through innovative and inclusive activities. With this recognition, FRC wants to highlight the work done in Finland to promote integration and encourage organisations to develop and share good practices.

The Whole Picture

The Whole Picture project aims to diversify the imagery of migration in an approachable way through six humane stories. What happens after arriving in Finland, and what things make a new country feel like home? Community, friendship and finding one’s place are universal needs that unite people, regardless of their backgrounds and starting points.

The photographs in this project were taken by photographer Julius Töyrylä. See the photos and projects and read more here.


Annu Lehtisen kuva.


Executive Director                     


+358 44 719 1771 annu.lehtinen(at)

Vaalea nainen istuu penkillä ja katsoo kameraan hymyillen


Specialist, Advocacy and Fundraising

+358 44 719 7911


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