The Constitution of Finland (731/1999)

The constitutional legislation was renewed in 1999 by compiling the previous four constitutions into one. The new constitution came into effect on 1 March 2000. The basic rights of the Sámi were legislated first with the change of constitution in 1995. The equivalent regulation in the new constitution is in the second chapter which concerns the basic rights (17§, 3rd subsection):

“The Sámi as an indigenous people, the Roma and other groups have the right to preserve and develop their own language and culture. The right to use the Sámi language when associating with the authorities is legislated.”

The Sámi right to self-government was first legislated at the beginning of 1996 with the Constitution Act (51a). The equivalent regulation in the new constitution can be found in the 11th chapter concerning administration and self-government. According to the 4th subsection in 121§:

“The Sámi have self-regulation concerning their language and culture in their homeland, as has been legislated.”

A self-government body, the Sámi Parliament, was legislated in 1995 for realising cultural self-government. Thus, the Sámi Parliament realises the purpose that is laid down for it in the Constitution.