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Newsletter of Estonian Human Rights Centre

Dear supporter

January 2021


It is a real pleasure to wake up in the morning in an only country in the world that has both female president and female prime minister. This shows that Estonia has taken one beautiful step towards the future. The Center wishes the new government, which has just taken office, every success! More about the Centre's thoughts in the newsletter. The Human Rights Centre also has important news – our strategy for 2021–2025 has been finished and approved. It can also be found in the newsletter, along with a comment from Katrin Nyman-Metcalf, the head of the Supervisory Council. Over all, we are very excited for the year 2021 – we know it will be another great year of fighting for human rights and making the world a better place for everyone.

What will 2021 be like for the Estonian Human Rights Centre?

In January, two new topics were added to the human rights guide: refugees and hate crime. In February, we will once again start looking for new human rights ambassadors for communities. In the meanwhile, we will commission the next public opinion survey on LGBT topics in cooperation with Turu-uuringute AS (this will be the fifth survey on the topic) and publish the results of the survey in March. In April, we’ll publish a new study programme on preventing prejudice in the workplace. All throughout winter and spring we will all need to keep our fingers crossed that we’ll be able to celebrate Diversity Day in May, which is always full of positivity, as well as have events for World Refugee Day in JuneJuly will mostly be for resting, but we’ll also start the process of writing the new Human Rights Report. In August, the handbook on equal treatment is going to be published. In September, we’ll organise an international conference on hate speech, and in October an international seminar will take place, focusing on the inclusion of refugees on the employment market. In November, we are hoping to welcome new members of the Diversity Charter network. And last but not least, in December, at the end of a busy year, we’re going to publish the newest Human Rights Report.

The Centre has finalised its strategy for the next 5 years

On January 25th, the Supervisory Council of the Estonian Human Rights Centre approved the new strategy for the centre for 2021–2025. The strategy has two main goals:
  1. Estonia is an open society, where human rights are important, protected, and guaranteed.
  2. Every person knows that their and others’ rights deserve to be protected.

Katrin Nyman-Metcalf, chairperson of the Supervisory Council, said that the new strategy reflects that human rights are not just minority rights, but concern all of us. “The Centre continues to support groups who are especially vulnerable, such as refugees. Through strategic litigation we also have the chance to support those who need help in specific situations – in situations which couldn’t have been foreseen far in advance. In addition, our diversity work means that the role of human rights is on the agenda in society at all times. The new strategy offers more opportunities to include an even bigger part of society."

Have a look at the strategy!

Photo: Ken Mürk/ERR

We wish good luck to the new government!

President Kersti Kaljulaid has appointed the new government this morning, led by Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. The Human Rights Centre wishes the government good luck in its challenging role! 

Estonian women have been breaking various glass ceilings for decades – from Lilli Suburg, who became the first female professional journalist in Estonia, to our new government, in which almost half of the ministers are women, as befits a representative democracy.

Women must be able to reach every level of society and Estonia has taken a leap forward into more diverse leadership of the country with the new government. We hope that after the last two reactionary years the new ministers will bring a more inclusionary and humane approach to the culture of governing.

As in every organisation, gender balance will create the opportunity to include wider perspectives and experience in making decisions. This does not necessarily mean that it will happen automatically. As a society, we have to support all the women in Estonia, so that the new balanced government will not just turn out to be a brief, accidental flash of light. We have to take control of the gender pay gap, ensure better balance of work and family life, and find solutions to reduce the burden on women as informal carers.

In addition to gender balance, we also have to look at the composition of the current government and consider how well it represents other groups in our society and takes into account their interests both at a governmental level and in society as a whole.

  • On January 15th, the head of the Human Rights Centre Egert Rünne sent a letter on behalf of the Equal Treatment Network to the representatives of the political parties involved in the coalition negotiations, in which the network was setting out their proposals for promoting human rights in Estonia.
  • On January 28th, an idea seminar for Diveristy Day took place. Almost 50 people from organisations who would like to celebrate Diversity Day on May 12th, attended.
  • On February 1st, an assistant, our new colleague Juss Särekanno will start working in the Human Rights Centre.
We need your help. Don't look away!
Your donation can help a same-sex couple win their equal treatment case through courts, it can help an asylum seeker get proper legal aid, or help us
monitor what is going on in Estonia.

But most of all, your donation allows us to be independent from state funding and have real and immediate impact on the ground.
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Copyright © 2021 Eesti Inimõiguste Keskus/ Estonian Human Rights Centre, All rights reserved.

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