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Estonia Presented Report on Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms at UN Human Rights Council


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Today an Estonian delegation led by Foreign Ministry Secretary General Alar Streimann presented a report on the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Estonia at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Presenting the report, which was approved by the government on 22 October 2010, in the UN gave Estonia an opportunity to introduce its endeavours to other member states. Estonia showed what it has done in years past to protect and promote human rights and what it plans to do in the future, and received comparative feedback on its actions.

In the discussion led by the ambassador of Thailand, which is the current president of the Human Rights Council, 37 nations expressed their thoughts on the human rights situation in Estonia. Estonia’s progress in many sectors was recognised. Positive developments mentioned were the gender equality act and equal treatment act approved in recent years and the nation’s desire to systematically move forward with guaranteeing gender equality in society. Estonia’s activities in protecting human rights were noted, such as Estonia’s integration plan for the years 2008-2013, the development plan to combat violence for the years 2010-2014, and the development plan for families and children for the years 2011-2020. Other positive aspects mentioned were the teaching of human rights in schools, combating human trafficking, and the general progress made in the 19 years since the restoration of independence. The other nations also expressed interest in the condition of prisons, child welfare, ethnic minorities (including Roma), the rights of the handicapped and sexual minorities, and the civil society development plan. Estonia received recommendations to join many human rights-related international agreements.

A summary of Estonia’s report together with the suggestions of other nations will be presented by the UN on 4 February and approved by the UN Human Rights Council during its June session.

The UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is part of a process that began in 2008, the goal of which is to give an overview of the support for human rights all over the world and to exchange information and experiences in order to advance human rights. Over the course of four years, the review will cover all 192 UN countries. Estonia was the 158th country to present its human rights report. The discussions within the framework of the UPR are based on the country’s own report, the reports of NGOs, and the UN’s summary report. In addition to representatives of the Foreign Ministry, the Estonian delegation also included representatives from the Ministry of Education and Research, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Justice, Interior Ministry, and the Ministry of Social Affairs.

Estonia is a candidate to be a member of the UN Human Rights Council from 2012 to 2015 because it would like to make more effective the protection and promotion of human rights through international channels and steps as well as increase awareness of human rights.


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