Monthly newsletter on human rights in Estonia and elsewhere.
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Newsletter of Estonian Human Rights Centre

Dear supporter

October 2020


Last week's government crisis and subsequent developments won't even surprise us anymore, it is just causing anguish now. In the newsletter, we share the Centre's opinion on the government's actions and the decision to have a plebiscite on the concept of marriage in the spring. But we also have great news to share about a court victory for the rights of a disabled young man, collecting donations, the results of the hackathon Code Against Hate and more.

Have a great time with the newsletter!
We hope the dark times ahead will come brighter than expected.  

Message to the Government

The government’s decision to proceed with the marriage referendum probably saddens every Estonian who values human rights. Us too. The precondition for a democratic and human rights respecting society is that the rights of all, including minorities, are respected. In democracy this is based in part on statesmanship. Human rights for minorities should not be the generosity of the majority, but a social agreement, a fundamental value of a country. We sincerely hoped that we would have such an agreement in Estonia.

The proposed referendum does not provide a platform for meaningful discussion, but allows for the spread of hatred and misinformation against the LGBT + community. However, we know from history what national hostility policies can lead to. We know how easy it is to create an image of an enemy from a minority. The planned referendum does not create a bridge and a meaningful discussion between different people and worldviews, but takes Estonia further away from the ideals of human rights. And it’s very sad. Really.

But the dream of Estonia that respects all people remains, and we work for it at the Estonian Human Rights Centre every day. We hope to do this together with many good and caring Estonian people.

Read also:
The opinion of the member of the Centre's Supervisory Board, Paloma Krõõt Tupay – Legal expert: Proposed plebiscite questions not suitable and unclear

Court victory: The city of Tallinn treated a disabled young man dishonourably

At the beginning of October, we won a major lawsuit in a protracted dispute over the rights of a young man with reduced mobility. The Tallinn Administrative Court ruled that the city has behaved illegally with the young man and must provide him with dignified opportunities to participate in society.

The lawsuit began more than four years ago, when a young man with congenital central nervous system damage and consequent mobility impairment applied to the city of Tallinn for the service of a personal assistant. However, the city of Tallinn did not agree to provide the service to the extent necessary and in cooperation with Meris Velling, a sworn attorney at the Liverte law firm, we went to court. At the beginning of this month, the Tallinn Administrative Court satisfied the young man’s complaint and annulled the decision of Tallinn.

Continue reading

Hackathon's best solution signals hate speech as you write

Within project OpCode, an online-hackathon Code Against Hate was held the end of September. Experts, including Kelly Grossthal from EHRC, and enthusiasts from all over the world discussed innovative solutions that can help reduce hate speech on the Internet. As a result, a preventive tool thanks to which discussions on social networks can contain less hatred is being developed. Open source software will be available to everyone around the world.
Read more about the tool!
Many thanks to the organisors of the friendly demonstration to express support for Estonia's LGBT+ community and same-sex unions and everyone who donated to the Center. We received a total of 376.97 euros, which is a very big contribution to the equality of us all.
On Wednesday and Thursday last week, the Centre's staff spent long, yet productive hours with the members of the Supervisory Board working together on the 2021–2026 strategy.
A furry and friendly local Võsu cat helped keep the spirit up (see on the picture!).
The Center, in cooperation with European partners, developed an informative and useful website for action on hate crimes against the LGBTI community.

Find out more at!
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.
If you do not donate, then who will?
Donate now
Copyright © 2020 Eesti Inimõiguste Keskus/ Estonian Human Rights Centre, All rights reserved.

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