Helsinki denies claims of support for Finnish-Russian children's rights commission

The secretariat of Finland's President Sauli Niinisto has denied news reports claiming that the head of state supports the idea of establishing a Finnish-Russian commission for children's rights.

"Such a commission would run counter to Finnish laws," according to the YLE website.

Finland has repeatedly rejected Russia's offers to form such a commission, the presidential secretariat said.

"The creation of this commission would make the situation of ethnic Russians living in Finland better than that of other immigrants," it said.

Finnish laws prohibit the country's authorities from giving information about children taken away from their families to other persons, including officials of other states, the secretariat said.

However, the Finnish and Russian foreign ministers agreed to promote closer cooperation between the two countries' social services.

The secretariat did not rule out that the general situation surrounding children's rights could be discussed at Finnish-Russian consultations.

Russia once again proposed forming a bilateral commission for children's rights after four children, including a five-day-old infant, were taken away from the family of Russian woman Anastasia Zavgorodnaya in the Finnish city of Vantaa, and two children were taken away from Albina Kasatkina's family.

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