Press Releases, 11/4/2011
Flight information requested by Amnesty International released on human rights grounds
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
Ministry of Transport and Communications
Press release 298/2011
3 November 2011
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has received the statement it requested from the Ministry of Transport and Communications enabling the release of information in response to the Amnesty International query about specific flights in 2001–2006.
The ministries take the view that on grounds of international law and human rights obligations and thereby from the point of view our national fundamental rights system, there are good reasons to release the flight information concerned.
Based on the overall assessment of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the information specified in the request can, in this particular instance, be regarded as being public as intended in the Act on the Openness of Government Activities, even though the data as such can rightly be considered to constitute a business secret.
In the assessment of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the release of this information is also in the interest of Finavia Corporation because the grounds for protecting the confidentiality of business information do not apply to the claims made in public.
Under international law, civil aviation is based on the free use of airspace; monitoring and control is restricted to flight safety and flying only. Air carriers are therefore not required to provide advance information on the purpose or aim of individual flights. For this reason the authorities have no jurisdiction to monitor and control private air traffic in advance in the meaning intended by Amnesty International.
The role of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in this matter is based on its expertise in international human rights conventions and humanitarian law. It has no jurisdiction in matters of civil aviation.
All information provided by Finavia Corporation to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs can be accessed at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Transport and Communications websites.
Further information: Ms Päivi Kaukoranta, Director General of the Legal Service, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. + 358 9 1605 5700, +358 40 835 9218, Mr Mika Mäkilä, Senior Adviser, Ministry of Transport and Communications, tel. +358 1602 8475, +358 40 595 6068