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

Dear supporter

August 2020


In August, Estonia celebrated the Day of Restoration of Estonian Independence. In her speech, President Kersti Kaljulaid said that 2020 must not be the year that is said 30 years later – this was the moment when we began to lose our freedoms. She added that when people become insecure about their rights, it is the end of real freedom.

Human rights are rights for all of us and must be upheld and protected together. Estonia with human rights is a more beautiful place for everyone to live in. 💙

In this newsletter, we'll talk about the Centre's new strategic litigation case: the fight for freedom of expression. We take a look back to
 the Opinion Festival and look forward to the events in autumn. Happy reading!

The Centre helps to stand up for freedom of expression

The Centre will support a freelance artist Katrina, who has been sued by radio host Alari Kivisaar, after Katrina launched a public petition to remove Kivisaar from the radio due to his racist and chauvinistic comments. The aim was to protect everyone's fundamental rights and to oppose the injustice towards and humiliation of minorities. In the petition, Katrina cited what Kivisaar had publicly said on the radio. 

In cooperation with Meris Velling – an attorney at the law firm Liverte, we have decided to support Katrina with her trial. We believe that freedom of expression is also the freedom to stand up for the rights of minorities, to write public letters, to create petitions, or to use other means of denouncing statements that go against human rights.

Read more about the case and Katrina’s full public address.

EHRC organised two discussions at the Opinion Festival

This year, the Center coordinated the Equal Treatment Area and organise two discussions at the Opinion Festival. The first discussions was “International obligations: are those useful for me too?” Experts in the discussion panel agreed that international agreements help to ensure the protection of human rights, by setting guidelines for the state's future and minimum standards for the protection of the people, as well as establishing mechanisms for an objective assessment of the situation in countries. Ratification of international agreements obliges states to comply with them.

The second discussion raised a question: who will defend a human rights defender?
 The discussion groups were attended by about 35 festival visitors who are human rights defenders in one way or another or related to the topic. Read the thorough summary of the second discussion.

Visiting Rapla municipality in February

Public human rights themed discussion events will start again in September

The Center together with the Equal Treatment Network, began a tour in February to collect stories from the Estonian people regarding the human rights situation in the country. Before the emergency situation, we got to visit Rapla, Narva, Kuressaare and Pärnu, but three visits were postponed. In September, the center will continue its county visits with partners: on September 9 we will visit Rõuge, on September 10 we will visit Jõgeva and on September 18 we will meet the people of Tapa.

During the visits, we will meet with local municipality leaders and give a lecture on human rights at a local school. In the evening, there will be a public discussion evening for local people, where everyone is welcome to share their stories and discuss human rights issues.

Everyone can tell their story safely, without leaving the house, by filling in a short online survey. Every feedback counts!

Share your story!

Registration open: hate crime conference on September 24

The two-year project PONGO, which focused on bringing police and NGOs together to tackle hate crime, ends with a conference on September 24. The international conference "Joining forces: together against hate crime" focuses on different aspects of hate crime, especially in the Baltic context. Speakers from different countries discuss cooperation, prosecution and victim support in the context of bias motivated incidents and crimes. The conference takes place as a hybrid event both in Tallinn and online. Registration is open now for NGO representatives, victim support providers, policymakers, academics, legal professionals, police officers and other specialists interested in the topic of hate crime. 
Register now
With the help of the lawyer Meris Velling, we once again defended the rights of a man with reduced mobility in court at the beginning of August. The the dispute over the right of a disabled person to a dignified life with the City of Tallinn has lasted for almost four years.
Federation of Estonian Student Unions joined the Equal Treatment Network. Joonatan Nõgisto, the Vice-Chairperson of the Board explained that they decided to join as they have long stood for equality in higher education as well as often co-worked  with other members of the network.
On August 23, people in Estonia joined worldwide solidarity actions to support Belarusians by forming a solidarity chain. EHRC supports the people of Belarus in the fight for democracy and their rights, and hopes foreign countries will continue to provide their support. 
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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