Sami relief

Published: Thursday 15 December 2005

Log out How many people does it take to get a government logging company to lay off 27,000 hectares? In Europe, three. For that is the number of Finnish herders who complained to the un Human Rights Commission about logging by Metasahallitus, the government's logging company, in a key reindeer pasture. The commission recommended to the government of Finland to "suspend" logging in the area under question. The company said it would abide by the ruling, allowing the government to appeal, for which it has six months. Instead, the company would look for areas in Northern Lapland to log.

This old dispute has to do with the land rights of the Sami, the indigenous people of the Lapland region of Northern Europe. The Samis have long argued that grazing reindeer on the state-owned land is intrinsic to their cultural identity.They have been supported by German activists. But the logging company feels the existing protection of state-owned forest is enough to fulfil the community's requirements.

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