HCNM statement to the 1229th Meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council (excerpt), 2019

[..]

In Estonia, in addition to launching the Tallinn Guidelines, I engaged with the Government, minority representatives, civil society, and education professionals, both in the capital as well as in Narva. This regional visit complemented my first assessment of Estonia’s minority-related situation, following my first visit to the country in my current capacity in June 2018. In general, I continued to see positive trends in the integration of Estonian society that are evidenced in areas such as the media, citizenship, language and education.

In Narva specifically, minority interlocutors noted increased attention from the Government vis-à-vis the region, which carries a significant symbolic value. The recent relocation of the office of Estonia’s Integration Foundation and the opening of the Estonian Language House in Narva are appreciated locally. My interlocutors, including ethnic Russians, highlighted the importance and primacy of the local Narva identity, which transcends ethnic belonging and informs pluralistic and inclusive self-identification. This is particularly evident among the younger generation, which bodes well for the future.

At the same time, socio-economic inequalities and social distance between different ethnicities still requires additional efforts on the part of the Government. I encouraged both the former and the incoming Government to pay closer attention to the existing apprehensions among the Russian-speaking community about the future of Russian-language education, and pointed to the need for better outreach, closer consultations, and the inclusion of a broader array of stakeholders in the decision-making process. In particular, I took note of repeated references to a “united Estonian-language school” in many party programmes in the pre-election context. I noted that the degree of ambiguity with regard to what this may entail fuels fears about the future of minority-language education. I encouraged the authorities to take into consideration regional specificities with regard to the ethnic composition of society and create opportunities for minority representatives to participate in the decision-making process of future policies in this field.

[..]


Document data: 23.05.2019, Link: https://www.osce.org/permanent-council/420572?download=true

Regarding the situation with the glorification of Nazism… (excerpt), 2019

Estonia

The Estonian authorities continue to inculcate a distorted and grounded on nationalist ideology and Russophobia interpretation of the joint history of Russia and Estonia. The most falsified is the Soviet era presented by modern Estonian historiography as the “occupation 1940 – 1991”, as well as events of the Great Patriotic War in the country’s territory. On this basis, a myth is being built of “freedom fighters” who fought against the “Soviet aggressors” wearing Wehrmacht uniform, the Waffen-SS units and guard and punitive divisions, which camouflages the glorification of Nazi criminals and their accomplices. At the same time, information on war crimes committed by Estonian collaborators, especially on the complicity in punitive actions against the civilian population, as well as in killing and torturing prisoners of concentration camps and Soviet prisoners of war, is silenced down.

Since the 1990s, gatherings of former Nazis and their belated followers are held annually in July at the memorial cross erected on the heights of Sinimäe (in 1944, there were bloody battles between the Red Army and Brownshirts) in honour of the Estonians who served in the 20th Waffen-SS Grenadier Division (the Estonian Legion), as well as the SS-men from Belgium and the Netherlands.

During another neo-Nazi coven in 2018, as before, the “exploits” of SS “defenders” against “Russian occupiers” were praised, relevant “historical” literature was disseminated and Nazi symbols were openly displayed. With reference to the “private nature” of the event, press correspondents of “undesirable” media, in particular, the Sputnik-Estonia news agency, were not allowed to attend the event.

Estonian officials, avoiding criticism from the international community, refrained from attending the ceremony, but did not prevent it from happening. Moreover, the right-wing nationalist forces in the government openly welcomed the glorification of Nazi acolytes. Thus, the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Estonia from the Isamaa (“Fatherland”) right-wing nationalist party, Urmas Reinsalu, sent a message of greetings to the participants of the aforementioned neo-Nazi “gathering”, stating that “gratitude to the combatants in Sinimäe will last forever”.

In 2016, a bust was installed in the school where Harald Nugiseks, former SS-Oberscharführer (Sergeant), studied; the school principal claimed that it will contribute to the growth of patriotism among students[67].

Another blasphemous “contribution” to the glorification of Fascism was the opening of a memorial plaque on June 22, 2018, in the village of Mustla, Viljandi County, with the inscription: “To the Fighter for the Freedom of Estonia and Recipient of the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves”, commemorating the SS-Standartenfuhrer Alfons Rebane (born there), the last commander of the 20th Waffen-SS Grenadier Division. The press service of the Estonian Government stated regarding this episode that during World War Two, Estonian soldiers “had to fight in different uniforms and their memory should be cherished with dignity”.

In August 2018, another three-day reenactment of the campaign of Hitlerite diversion group “Erna”, which was composed of Estonians and Finns and deployed behind the Soviet army lines in the summer of 1941, took place for the 19th time. This “military-patriotic event”, supported by the Estonian Ministry of Defense, traditionally involves youth activists, as well as members of NATO troops deployed in the Republic.

In the same month, Urmas Reinsalu personally handed Oak Leaf Wreath of Freedom decorations (the design of these decorations was clearly inspired by the award of the Third Reich – the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves) to 129 participants in the “armed and unarmed resistance” and “fighters for the freedom of Estonia”, among whom were former soldiers of the 20th Waffen-SS Division.

In September 2018, activists of the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (CPPE), NPO “The Union of Estonian Freedom Fighters” and NPO “Sakala” restored a model of the Monument to the Defenders of Estonia in the locality of Lihula, a granite stone slab depicting a soldier in the Waffen-SS uniform with a German weapon in his hands[68]. The rally within the framework of this campaign, which brought together hundreds of participants, was attended by the top of the CPPE: Chairman Mart Helme, his deputies Jaak Madison and Henn Põlluaas, former servicemen of the Waffen-SS and their followers from the “patriotic” organizations and neo-Nazi groups.

The publication of the comic book “Hipster Hitler” released in Estonian[69] by the “Kunst” (Art) publishing house and printed in the Tallinn bookshop in June 2018, caused a negative public outcry. The advertisement of this provocative edition suggested “taking a fresh look” at the personality of Hitler portrayed as a modern young man. Alongside with “Führer-Hipster” himself, his accomplices – Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Göring and other members of the Third Reich’s ruling cabal found guilty of heinous crimes by the Nuremberg Tribunal, were depicted in a funny way.

The Culture and Life magazine (“Kultuur ja Elu”) stood out among Estonian mass media by its active efforts to rehabilitate Hitler’s accomplices, and almost every edition of it gave considerable attention to the “heroes in the fight for freedom” who served in the ranks of the Waffen-SS, as well as to the positive presentation of German occupation period in 1941-1944.

A direct consequence of attempts to glorify the Nazis is the systematic desecration of monuments to the victims of the Holocaust and Soviet soldiers fallen on Estonian territory in battles against the Nazis. Another recurrence was the attachment of a poster depicting Hitler with the inscription “Adolf Hitler was right” in April 2018, on the monument to the fallen soldiers of the Soviet 305th Strike Fighter Division in Rakvere, as well as spray-painting of swastikas and Nazi greetings in August 2018, on the memorial to Jews and Roma killed by the Nazis in the town of Kalevi-Liiva and vandalism of the monument to Soviet soldiers in October 2018, in the village of Lismetsa, Võru County.

A clear indicator of the spread of neo-Nazi views in society is the consistent rise in the popularity of radical nationalist ideas, the main voicer of which is the CPPE. The party won 19 out of 101 seats in the Riigikogu (Parliament) in parliamentary elections of March 2019, almost tripling its representation.

The CPPE unites active inspirers of the whitewashing and immortalization of Estonian Nazi collaborators and incitement of inter-ethnic and inter-racial hatred. A number of its activists are positive about the “effectiveness” of Hitler’s regime, etc. In particular, the praise of Hitler’s leaders and the shouting of Nazi greetings in March 2019, by the head of the foreign policy department of the CPPE and the youth wing of the Blue Awakening party, Ruuben Kaalep, received wide publicity. The sympathies of the CPPE for Hitler’s regime are evidenced, among other things, by the annual torch processions in the center of Tallinn copying similar actions of the German Nazis.

Estonia is a favourable territory for neo-Nazi and radical groups. In particular, a branch of the Finnish group “Soldiers of Odin” is active in the country. Its Estonian activists have created several Facebook groups with more than 3,000 participants; they also attend mass events dedicated to the glorification of Nazi accomplices, anti-migration campaigns, etc. The statements by the leaders of this formation regarding their willingness to patrol the streets in order to protect the indigenous population from migrants have had strong repercussions. In addition, the Nordic Resistance Movement, a Finnish neo-Nazi organization banned in September 2018, relocated its activities to Estonia, where its activists registered it as the NPO “National Unity”.

At the same time, Estonian authorities hinder the activities of anti-fascist associations. For example, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism with reference to the information from the Estonian Legal Information Centre for Human Rights reported that anti-fascist activists from Finland and Latvia had been banned from entering Estonia to participate in protests against the glorification of SS veterans. The Centre also noted that the Estonian police had stopped a car with two Estonian citizens planning to condemn the destruction of the Roma community during the World War Two at the annual meeting in honour of veterans of the Estonian Waffen-SS Legion[70].

Thus, Estonia is one of the European countries, where the glorification of Fascism is based on poorly covered state support, as well as on wide acceptance in the Estonian-speaking environment. The increase in the political weight of radical right-nationalist movements, as well as in neo-Nazism and the popularity of neo-Nazi groups is directly linked to these phenomena.

[67] Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on contemporary forms of racism about trends in the glorification of Nazism at the 38th session of the Council. June 2018, A/HRC/38/53

[68] This monument was erected on this site in 2002 and demolished in September 2004, by order of Prime Minister Juhan Parts under pressure of the international community. The monument is currently located in the private Museum of Fight for Estonia’s Freedom in Lagedi.

[69] These comic books are a slightly modified edition of the American original “Hipster Hitler” by James Carr and Arkhana Kumar.

[70] Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on contemporary forms of racism about trends in the glorification of Nazism at the 38th session of the Council. June 2018, A/HRC/38/53.


Document data: 06.05.2019, MFA of Russia. Also available in Russian and French Link: https://www.mid.ru/ru/foreign_policy/humanitarian_cooperation/-/asset_publisher/bB3NYd16mBFC/content/id/3193903?p_p_id=101_INSTANCE_bB3NYd16mBFC&_101_INSTANCE_bB3NYd16mBFC_languageId=en_GB

HRC Concluding observations (excerpt on language), 2019

[..]

C.Principal matters of concern and recommendations

[..]

Rights of minorities

37.While welcoming the measures taken and the progress made with regard to the integration of the Russian-speaking minority, including the improved proficiency in Estonian language, the Committee remains concerned at the remaining gaps (CCPR/C/EST/CO/3, para. 16), particularly those relating to the impact of the language policies and practices that have been implemented, which continue to frustrate the full enjoyment of rights by the Russian-speaking minority on an equal basis with the rest of the population and may result in indirect discrimination. The Committee refers to the concerns of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights with regard to high unemployment rates (E/C.12/EST/CO/3, para. 12), the lack of flexibility in the implementation of the 60 per cent quota for teaching in Estonian in the Russian-speaking secondary schools (see E/C.12/EST/CO/3, para. 48 (g)) and the punitive approach to enforcing the Language Act (see E/C.12/EST/CO/3, para. 50 (a)) (arts. 26 and 27).

38. The State party should strengthen legislative and policy measures aimed at addressing effectively the impact of the language policies and practices that may contribute indirectly to unequal treatment of the Russian-speaking minority. It should also continue to pursue policies to foster greater trust in the State institutions, and should reinforce and promote social inclusion. The Committee reiterates the recommendations made in March 2019 by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/C.12/EST/CO/3, paras. 13, 49 (g) and 51 (a)).

[..]


Document data: adopted 21.03.2019, public 18.04.2019; CCPR/C/EST/CO/4 Link: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CCPR/C/EST/CO/4 Also available in Russian

HRC Concluding observations (excerpt on citizenship), 2019

[..]

C.Principal matters of concern and recommendations

[..]

Nationality

35.While welcoming the measures taken to resolve the situation of persons “with undetermined citizenship”, including the 2015 amendments to the Citizenship Act granting children with undetermined citizenship born in Estonia the right to automatically acquire Estonian citizenship, the Committee remains concerned at (a) the limited scope of the amendments insofar as they exclude certain categories of stateless children; (b) the stringent language requirements that form part of the naturalization tests; and (c) the adverse impact of the “undetermined citizenship” status on the right of long-term residents to political participation (arts. 24, 25 and 26).

36. The State party should strengthen its efforts to reduce and prevent statelessness by addressing the remaining gaps, including by:

(a) Establishing a statelessness determination procedure that ensures that stateless individuals are systematically identified and afforded protection;

(b) Facilitating the naturalization of persons with “ undetermined citizenship ” and removing excessive barriers that hinder the process;

(c) Ensuring that every child has a nationality, in accordance with article 24 (3) of the Covenant, including by granting citizenship to stateless children aged between 15 and 18 as at 1 January 2016 and to children born to stateless parents, irrespective of their legal status.

[..]


Document data: adopted 21.03.2019, public 18.04.2019; CCPR/C/EST/CO/4 Link: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CCPR/C/EST/CO/4 Also available in Russian

HRC Concluding observations (excerpt on anti-discrimination), 2019

[..]

C.Principal matters of concern and recommendations

[..]

Anti-discrimination framework and the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner

9.The Committee notes the general prohibition of discrimination and the open-ended list of prohibited grounds in article 12 of the Constitution. However, it is concerned that the Equal Treatment Act does not afford equal protection against discrimination on all the grounds prohibited under the Covenant in all spheres of life. While amendments to the Equal Treatment Act were initiated in 2014 to expand its scope of protection against discrimination, the Committee notes that the proposed amendments still restrict such protection to social welfare, health care and social insurance services and allowances, education and access to and supply of public goods and services, rather than to all spheres of life (arts. 2 and 26).

10.While welcoming the increase in the budget of the Office of the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner, the Committee regrets that the Commissioner does not have standing in domestic court proceedings, neither as a legal representative of victims of discrimination nor as an expert party, and that no tangible progress has been achieved in that regard despite the Government’s consideration of the matter. The Committee is also concerned that awareness among the population at large about equal treatment legislation and the available remedies remains insufficient (arts. 2 and 26).

11. The State party should step up its efforts to amend the Equal Treatment Act with a view to ensuring an adequate, effective and equal scope of substantive and procedural protection against discrimination on all the prohibited grounds under the Covenant, in all spheres and sectors. It should also (a) increase efforts aimed at raising awareness about equal treatment legislation and the remedies available among the population at large; (b) improve access to effective remedies against any form of discrimination; and (c) consider granting standing to the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner in domestic court proceedings relating to discrimination.

[..]


Document data: adopted 21.03.2019, public 18.04.2019; CCPR/C/EST/CO/4 Link: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CCPR/C/EST/CO/4 Also available in Russian

HRC Concluding observations (excerpt on hate speech/crime), 2019

[..]

C.Principal matters of concern and recommendations

[..]

Hate speech and hate crimes

12.The Committee is concerned that the current legal framework does not provide comprehensive protection against hate speech and hate crimes due to, inter alia, the light penalties and the high threshold for the offence of incitement to hatred, violence or discrimination under article 151 of the Criminal Code, which requires “danger to the life, health or property” of the victim; the absence of gender identity among the prohibited grounds for offences against equality in articles 151 and 152 of the Code; and the recognition of hate motives, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, as aggravating circumstances for all offences. The Committee notes the plans to amend article 151 of the Criminal Code and to recognize hate motives as aggravating circumstances. The Committee is concerned that other acts, such as the public denial, justification or condoning of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes, or hate propaganda that is racist or otherwise inciting to discrimination, are not prohibited by law (arts. 2, 19, 20 and 26).

13.While welcoming the measures taken to combat hate speech and hate crimes, including the creation of web constables to identify and react to online hate speech, the Committee remains concerned about reports of hate speech, including by opinion makers and politicians, and hate crimes. While noting that data on hate crimes have been collected since autumn 2016 and that information technology support has been introduced to better categorize incidents motivated by hatred while registering criminal complaints, the Committee regrets the lack of specific data on the number of complaints regarding hate speech and hate crimes, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and on their effective investigation and prosecution (arts. 2, 19, 20 and 26).

14. The State party should ensure effective protection against hate speech and hate crimes, both in law and in practice, in accordance with articles 19 and 20 of the Covenant and the Committee ’ s general comment No. 34 (2011) on freedoms of opinion and expression, including by:

(a) Revising the penalties and the threshold for the offence of incitement to hatred, violence or discrimination under article 151 of the Criminal Code;

(b) Including gender identity among the prohibited grounds for hatred-motivated offences provided for in articles 151 and 152 of the Criminal Code;

(c) Recognizing hate motives, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, as aggravating circumstances for all offences;

(d) Prohibiting by law the public denial, justification or condoning of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or hate propaganda that is racist or otherwise incites discrimination;

(e) Conducting regular awareness-raising activities among the public at large aimed at promoting mutual tolerance, respect for diversity and countering hatred; ensuring continuous training on hate crimes for law enforcement officials, border guards, prosecutors and judges; and expanding the number of web constables, as planned;

(f) Investigating hate crimes effectively, prosecuting suspected perpetrators where appropriate and, if they are convicted, punishing them with appropriate sanctions; and providing victims with adequate remedies.

[..]


Document data: adopted 21.03.2019, public 18.04.2019; CCPR/C/EST/CO/4 Link: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CCPR/C/EST/CO/4 Also available in Russian

CESCR Concluding observations (excerpts), 2019

[..]

C.Principal subjects of concern and recommendations

[..]

Non-discrimination

10.The Committee is concerned that the Equal Treatment Act only prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion or views, age, disability and sexual orientation in areas relating to working life and the acquisition of professional qualifications. It regrets the delay in amending the Act to broaden its scope and application to other social sectors. It is also concerned at the insufficient level of financial and human resources allocated to the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner to fully carry out the mandate (art. 2 (2)).

11. The Committee recommends that the State party amend without delay the Equal Treatment Act with a view (a) to ensuring that it prohibits all direct, indirect and intersectional forms of discrimination, on the grounds set out in article 2 (2) of the Covenant and in all spheres relevant to economic, social and cultural rights, and (b) to providing effective remedies for victims of discrimination, including through judicial and administrative proceedings. It also recommends that the State party allocate a sufficient level of financial and human resources to the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner for the effective functioning of the mandate. In this context, the Committee draws the attention of the State party to its general comment No. 20 (2009) on non-discrimination in economic, social and cultural rights.

Discrimination based on language

12.While noting the efforts made by the State party to increase opportunities for the non-Estonian-speaking population to learn the Estonian language, the Committee remains concerned at the persistent discrimination experienced by this population due to a lack of proficiency in the Estonian language. This has led to systemic discrimination affecting their enjoyment of Covenant rights, as illustrated by the high unemployment and poverty rates among the non-Estonian-speaking population (art. 2 (2)).

13. The Committee recommends that the State party address the systemic discrimination faced by the non-Estonian-speaking population in the enjoyment of the Covenant rights due to the language barrier, particularly in the areas of employment, housing education, health care, access to services indispensable for ensuring an adequate standard of living and enjoying cultural rights.

Persons with undetermined citizenship

14.While welcoming the overall achievement of the State party in reducing the number of persons with undetermined citizenship, the Committee remains concerned at the large number of such persons, comprising 5.5 per cent of the population as at 1 January 2019. The vast majority of such persons are citizens of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics who were not able to acquire Estonian citizenship due to their lack of proficiency in the Estonian language after the restoration of Estonian sovereignty in 1991. While welcoming amendments made to the Citizenship Law in 2015, under which Estonian citizenship is granted to children with undetermined citizenship born in the State party, the Committee is concerned that the amendments do not apply to stateless children aged between 15 and 18 years old as at 1 January 2016, children born to stateless parents who have not been legally resident in Estonia for the preceding five years and stateless children whose parents have Estonian nationality but are unable to transmit their citizenship to their child. It is further concerned at the lack of disaggregated data on the enjoyment by persons with undetermined citizenship of the Covenant rights (art. 2 (2)).

15. The Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Accelerate the acquisition of Estonian citizenship by persons with undetermined citizenship by removing the remaining obstacles;

(b) Grant Estonian citizenship to stateless children born in the State party regardless of their parents ’ legal status;

(c) Consider acceding to the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness;

(d) Collect data on the enjoyment by persons with undetermined citizenship of the Covenant rights and provide disaggregated data thereon in its next periodic report.

[..]

Right to education

48.The Committee appreciates the achievements made in the education sector, including the high educational attainment rate at the secondary level, the high proportion of adults with a tertiary qualification and the almost universal access to pre-primary education. The Committee remains concerned, however, at:

[..]

(g)The lack of flexibility in the implementation of the 60 per cent quota of teaching in Estonian in the Russian-speaking secondary schools and vocational schools. This often makes it difficult for Russian-speaking students in Russian-speaking schools to acquire mastery in core subjects that are taught only in Estonian and, in the case of vocational schools, leads to an insufficient number of qualified teachers capable of teaching the specialized subjects so as to adequately reflect this percentage and the school specificity (arts. 13, 14 and 15).

49. The Committee recommends that the State party:

[..]

(g) Gradually and flexibly implement the 60 per cent quota of teaching in Estonian in the Russian-speaking secondary schools and vocational schools, take measures to gradually increase the number of qualified teachers in vocational schools so as to better reflect the specificity of these schools and ensure that the quota does not undermine the right of children to education and is implemented in line with the principles stipulated in article 13 of the Covenant.

Cultural diversity

50.The Committee is concerned at:

(a)The punitive approach of the State party to enforcing the Language Act, including through the mandate and functions of the Language Inspectorate and the lack of monitoring of its activities, which may have an adverse impact on the implementation of the Integrating Estonia 2020 development plan;

(b)Administrative barriers against the use of patronymics in official personal documents, which restricts certain national minorities from enjoying their right to protect their cultural identity;

(c)The high threshold (50 per cent of residents must be minority language speakers) for allowing the use of a minority language in communications with the local authorities in areas where people belonging to a linguistic minority group reside traditionally or in substantial numbers;

(d)The excessive conditions for the use of traditional local names, street names and other public topographical indications in a minority language in areas where people belong to a linguistic minority reside traditionally or in substantial numbers;

(e)The fact that persons with undetermined citizenship are not in a position to fully enjoy their rights to take part in cultural life, including the cultural rights of persons belonging to national minorities (arts. 13 and 15).

51. The Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Remove all punitive elements of the enforcement of the Language Act, including by reviewing the mandate and functions of the Language Inspectorate and putting in place, with the participation of civil society, a mechanism to monitor its activities, and ensure the full implementation of the Integrating Estonia 2020 development plan;

(b) Remove all administrative barriers against the use of patronymics in official personal documents;

(c) Consider lowering the threshold for the use of a minority language to a reasonable level, with a view to facilitating communication with the local authorities in minority languages in areas where people belong to a linguistic minority group reside traditionally or in substantial number;

(d) Review the conditions for the use of traditional local names, street names and other public topographical indications in a minority language in areas where people belonging to a linguistic minority group reside traditionally or in substantial number;

(e) Remove all barriers to the acquisition of Estonian citizenship by persons of undetermined citizenship so that they can enjoy their right to take part in cultural life on the basis of equality with Estonian citizens.


Document data: 27.03.2019; E/C.12/EST/CO/3 Link: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=E/C.12/EST/CO/3 Also available in Russian

Eurobarometer: Perceptions of antisemitism (excerpts), 2019

[EU flag] 27.643 interviews 04>20 / 12 / 2018

[EE flag] 1.004 interviews 04>17 / 12 / 2018

Methodology: face-to-face

1. PERCEPTIONS OF ANTISEMITISM IN COUNTRY

QD1 Do you think antisemitism is a problem or ot in (OUR COUNTRY)? %

EU28 ЕЕ
Total ‘A problem’506
Total ‘Not a problem’4386
Don’t know78

Socio-demographic breakdown:

Answer: Total ‘A problem’EU28EE
TOTAL506
AGE
15-244615
25-39487
40-54525
55+512
EDUCATION (End of)
15-443
16-19498
20+542
Still studying5112

QD2 Over the past five years, do you think antisemitism has increased, stayed the same or decreased in (OUR COUNTRY)? %

EU28EE
Increased367
Decreased107
Stayed the same3960
Don’t know1526

Socio-demographic breakdown:

Answer: IncreasedEU28EE
TOTAL 367
AGE
15-242715
25-39317
40-54398
55+393
EDUCATION (end of)
15-312
16-19366
20+425
Still studying2916

[..]

QD3.6. More precisely, do you think that each of the following situation is a problem or not in (OUR COUNTRY)?

Antisemitism on the Internet, including online social networks (%)

Socio-demographic breakdown

Answer: Total ‘A problem’EU28EE
TOTAL 5112

AGE
15-245824
25-395515
40-545413
55+463
USE OF THE INTERNET
Everyday5613
Often/Sometimes452
Never4410

QD3.8. More precisely, do you think that each of the following situation is a problem or not in (OUR COUNTRY)?

People denying the genocide of the Jewish people, the Holocaust (%)

Socio-demographic breakdown

Answer: Total ‘A problem’EU28EE
TOTAL 539
EDUCATION (End of)
15-4610
16-195210
20+567
Still studying5719
LEFT-RIGHT POLITICAL SCALE
Left6020
Centre528
Right516


LV 1.002 interviews 05>18 / 12 / 2018

2. KNOWLEDGE AND EDUCATION

QD4 Overall, to what extent do you think that in (OUR COUNTRY) people are well informed or not about the history, customs and practices of (NATIONALITY) Jewish people? (%)

EU28EE
Total ‘Well informed’2724
Total ‘Not well informed’6866
Don’t know510

QD4 Overall, to what extent do you think that in (OUR COUNTRY) people are well informed or not about the history, customs and practices of (NATIONALITY) Jewish people? (%)

Socio-demographic breakdown

Answer: Total ‘Well informed’ EU28 EE
TOTAL2724
EDUCATION (End of)
15+2116
16-192923
20+2626
Still studying3030
THINGS IN COUNTRY ARE GOING IN…
Right direction3327
Wrong direction2626
Neither2424

QD6 As far as you know, is there a law in (OUR COUNTRY)…? (%)

… that criminalises incitement to violence or hatred against Jewish people

EU28612118
EE362539
Total ‘Yes’Total ‘No’Don’t know

… that criminalises the denial of the Holocaust

EU28 423424
EE183646
Total ‘Yes’Total ‘No’Don’t know

QD7 Generally speaking, do you think that the Holocaust is sufficiently taught or not in (NATIONALITY) schools? (%)

EU28 EE
Total ‘Yes’4337
Total ‘No’4224
Don’t know1539

QD7 Generally speaking, do you think that the Holocaust is sufficiently taught or not in (NATIONALITY) schools? (%)

Socio-demographic breakdown

Answer: Total ‘No’EU28EE
TOTAL 4224
GENDER
Man4021
Woman4526
LEFT-RIGHT POLITICAL SCALE
Left4027
Centre4227
Right4613

3. MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT

QD5 Do you think that conflicts in the Middle East have an influence or not on the way (NATIONALITY) Jewish people are perceived by people in (OUR COUNTRY)? (%)

EU28 EE
Total ‘Yes’5421
Total ‘No’3566
Don’t know1113

QD5 Do you think that conflicts in the Middle East have an influence or not on the way (NATIONALITY) Jewish people are perceived by people in (OUR COUNTRY)? (%)

Socio-demographic breakdown

Answer: Total ‘Yes’EU28EE
TOTAL5421
EDUCATION (End of)
15-4413
16-195119
20+6119
Still studying5838
LEFT-RIGHT POLITICAL SCALE
Left6227
Centre5621
Right5323

Document data: Special Eurobarometer 484; published in January 2019. Link: http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm/survey/getsurveydetail/instruments/special/surveyky/2220 Also available in  Estonian

Commissioner’s visit report (excerpts), 2018

SUMMARY

[..]

Human rights of older persons

[..] Consideration should be given to the situation of older persons among the Russian-speaking minority.

[..]

INTRODUCTION

[..]

3. The Commissioner’s visit included Ida-Viru, the north-easternmost of Estonia’s 15 counties, where over 70% of the population belongs to the Russian-speaking minority. [..]

[..]

1 GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS

[..]

1.3 VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

[..]

28. According to surveys referenced in the Strategy for Preventing Violence, while the vast majority of the Estonian population condemns domestic violence, 21% of respondents think it is a private matter for the family and that others should not intervene. Moreover, 54% of the respondents believe that female victims of domestic violence are “partly guilty” of the crimes committed against them, and 47% of the respondents that “rape victims bring it on themselves because of their clothing”. The Strategy asserts that these views may be most commonly held among older men, and men belonging to the Russian-speaking minority.

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1.3.1 SUPPORT AND PROTECTION SERVICES

30. Estonia has a national women’s helpline, “Tugitelefon” (1492), which is free of charge and operates 24/7. The helpline offers emotional support, information on accessing support services, as well as legal counselling – in Estonian and Russian – for women experiencing physical, emotional, economic, and/or sexual abuse. [..]

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3.2. The Commissioner had an opportunity to gain first-hand information about support services for victims by visiting the women’s shelter in the municipality of Jõhvi. The shelter comprises a publicly accessible office and an apartment located at a confidential address, which is provided by the municipality. At the time of the visit, accommodation services were used by
one woman and her child. In addition to support staff, the shelter employs a lawyer and a psychologist. The shelter’s staff indicated that the women who contact them need, above all, psychological and legal counselling. The shelter’s psychologist is Russian-speaking, a necessity given that 80% of the women contacting the shelter are Russian-speaking (a reflection of the population’s composition in the area).

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1.4 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

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40. The Commissioner stresses in particular the importance of continuing efforts to combat discriminatory gender stereotypes, which influence women’s choices, prospects and opportunities in all areas of their lives. The Commissioner calls on the authorities to review school curricula and conduct trainings for teachers to ensure that education is free from
gender-bias and stereotypes. Awareness-raising campaigns should be conducted regularly, including for the Russian-speaking minority.

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44. Violence against women undermines their dignity and integrity as individual human beings, as well as seriously harming families, communities and society as a whole. She encourages the Estonian authorities to support regular awareness-raising and prevention campaigns, including in regions inhabited by members of the Russian-speaking minority. [..]

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2 THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF OLDER PERSONS

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2.1 DISCRIMINATION

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56. Finally, the Commissioner was also reminded that despite Estonia’s significant efforts to integrate members of the Russian-speaking minority and solve the issue of non-citizens, including by easing conditions of naturalisation for persons above 65, a number of Russian-speaking older persons are still unable to obtain Estonian citizenship because of their inability to learn the Estonian language. Non-citizens are members of Estonia’s Russian-speaking minority who did not acquire either Estonian or Russian citizenship after 1991. There are about 80,000 non-citizens in Estonia. Non-citizens cannot create or join a political party, stand for elections or vote in national parliamentary elections; otherwise, they have essentially the same political and civil rights as Estonians.46

46 For more information, see Framework Convention on National Minorities Advisory Committee, “Fourth Opinion on Estonia”, 2015, available at: https://rm.coe.int/CoERMPublicCommonSearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?documentId=090000168047d0e5.

2.2 POVERTY

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58. [..]. Commissioner Mijatović was also informed that the poverty rate is higher among the Russian-speaking community, which is a reflection of existing economic inequalities between the respective communities. 50

50 Legal Information Centre for Human Rights, “National minorities in Estonia: risk of poverty and social marginalisation”, OSCE human dimension implementation meeting, 2014, available at: https://www.osce.org/odihr/124459?download=true.

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2.4 NEW TECHNOLOGIES

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82. For some older persons, in particular those with lower education or little exposure to information communication technologies (ICT) during their work life, getting acquainted with the internet may represent a challenge. The Estonian authorities organise free ICT training courses targeted at older persons, notably to teach them the e-government services. These courses are held in Estonian and in Russian in the areas inhabited by Russian-speaking minorities.69 [..]

69 Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, “Digital Agenda 2020 for Estonia”, available at: https://www.mkm.ee/sites/default/files/digital_agenda_2020_estonia_engf.pdf.

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3 INDEPENDENCE AND EFFECTIVENESS OF NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS STRUCTURES

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3.1 NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS STRUCTURES

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3.1.2 THE GENDER EQUALITY AND EQUAL TREATMENT COMMISSIONER

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109. According to the Equality Commissioner, there has been a considerable increase in public interest in the mandate, with the number of individual complaints having increased from 90 in 2011 to 440 in 2017. While the Equality Commissioner has revamped her website, the latter is still not available in Russian [..]

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Document data: 28.09.2018, CommDH(2018)14 Link: https://rm.coe.int/report-of-the-council-of-europe-commissioner-for-human-rights-dunja-mi/16808d77f4 Also available in Estonian: https://rm.coe.int/euroopa-noukogu-inimoiguste-voliniku-dunja-mijatovici-raport-11-15-juu/16808de6a3

HCNM statement to the 1188th Meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council (excerpt), 2018

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I have just concluded a visit to Estonia where I attended the Lennart Meri Conference and held a series of meetings with representatives of the Government, civil society and national minorities in Tallinn. I took note of the significant progress made in the integration of the Estonian society during the last two decades, especially among the younger generations.

Positive results have been achieved, particularly in the field of education, where the knowledge of the State language among national minorities has improved, while the preservation of minority identities is ensured through the continued provision of education in minority languages.

I also observed positive initiatives to create a common media space for all citizens of Estonia, including through the creation of a TV channel in the Russian language by the Estonian Public Broadcaster.

I welcomed facilitated access to Estonian citizenship, in particular for children and elderly persons, took note of the very significant reduction in the overall number of non-citizens and encouraged the authorities to continue with their efforts in this area.

At the same time, divisions along ethnic lines persist. While efforts of the Estonian government to reach out to minority communities residing compactly in the northeast of the country are commendable, additional steps are required to address these divisions and bring majority and minority communities closer together in all areas of public life. All of these efforts will need to be continued in a systematic manner for the sustainable integration and resilience of the Estonian society.

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Document data: 07.06.2018 Link: https://www.osce.org/permanent-council/384168?download=true