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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet in Riigikogu: We Stand For Principle That Freedom of Expression in Cyber Environment is a Human Right


No. 37-E

In his annual foreign policy address to the Riigikogu, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet highlighted the fact that protecting human rights and promoting democracy are priorities of Estonia’s foreign policy. “Estonia is a rule of law state and therefore we feel it is essential to stand for these values,” Paet said.

The foreign minister said that freedom of speech and freedom of expression on the internet have recently been in the spotlight in Estonia and will remain there in the future. “Freedom of expression on the internet is a human right and the government stands by this principle,” Paet asserted. The foreign minister added that at the high-level internet freedom conference that took place in The Hague in December, Estonia joined a coalition of countries that believe that freedom of expression is a human right in the cyber environment as well.

In his speech, the foreign minister also noted that Estonia has set the goal of being elected to the UN Human Rights Council for the period 2013-2015. “From year to year we have made our international human rights-related activities more effective, focusing in particular on the rights of women and children,” said Paet. “If we become a member of the UN Human Rights Council, protecting human rights on the internet will be one of the topics that we would like to address more actively on the international level. We also feel it is important for the internet to be accessible all over the world,” he added.

The foreign minister said that in terms of human rights, one important development is that an Estonian representative will be leading the work of the International Criminal Court’s Assembly of States Parties for the next three years. “This is recognition of Estonia’s activities thus far in supporting the International Criminal Court and international tribunals,” Paet asserted.

Full text of the address:

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