Astrid Thors

Astrid Thors took up the mandate of OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities on 20 August 2013, succeeding Ambassador Knut Vollebaek of Norway. Her three-year tenure ended on 19 August 2016.

Before taking up her position as High Commissioner, Thors was a Member of the Finnish Parliament. While in office she was a member of the Grand Committee, the Constitutional Law Committee, and the Legal Affairs Committee.

She also served as Minister of Migration and European Affairs from 2007 to 2011. As Minister she was responsible for Finnish migration policy, Finnish EU policy, relations with the autonomous region of the Åland Islands, and Finnish Baltic Sea Policy.

During her tenure the prospects for the autonomous region to influence legal procedures in the EU were improved and a white paper on Baltic Sea Policy was adopted, stressing the need to recycle the nutrients used in Finnish Agriculture. She was responsible for issues relating to both migration and integration; during her time as Minister a new law on integration was adopted.

From 1996 until 2004 Thors was a Member of the European Parliament, where she chaired the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) with Romania and was a member of the JPC with Slovakia and Latvia respectively. She was also part of temporary committees dealing with the response to the Erica Disaster among other issues. Thors also dealt with food safety regulations, e-money, and was vice-chair of the Petitions Committee.

High Commissioner Thors has held a number of positions of trust, such as Chair of the Advisory Board on International Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chair of the Swedish Assembly in Finland, as well as Chair of Unicef Finland.

High Commissioner Thors was appointed Officier de la Légion d’honneur of France in 2012, Commander of the Order of the White Rose of Finland in 2009 and was awarded the Grand Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit in 2007.

She currently serves as Vice President of Geneva Summit partner organisation Liberal International.

Speeches

Presenter

Presentation of the Geneva Summit 2017 Courage Award with Astrid Thors

Astrid Thors, a former OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities and Finnish MP, addresses the 9th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. Presenting the 2017 Moral Courage Award to former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed: “Mister President, your work shows how