Annual Report: Estonia 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Estonia 2013

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Republic of Estonia

Head of state Toomas Hendrik Ilves

Head of government Andrus Ansip

About 100,000 people, most of them Russian speakers, remained stateless, limiting their political rights. National human rights institutions did not comply with international standards. Conditions of reception for asylum-seekers and refugees were inadequate.

Discrimination – ethnic minorities

About 100,000 people (approximately 7% of the population) remained stateless. The large majority of these were Russian speakers. Children born of stateless parents continued to be denied automatic citizenship, although a simplified naturalization procedure was available to them. Stateless people continued to be denied political rights. They were reportedly disproportionately affected by poverty and unemployment. Language requirements appeared to be one of the main obstacles for Russian speakers to access citizenship and other rights.

Legal, constitutional or institutional developments

The Chancellor of Justice – acting as Ombudsman and national preventive mechanism under the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture – failed to meet the requirements of the Paris Principles for independent national human rights institutions.

The definition of torture and the penalties provided for that crime in the Criminal Code remained inconsistent with the requirements of the Convention against Torture.

Refugees and asylum-seekers

Reception conditions for the small number of asylum-seekers arriving in the country each year remained inadequate. The provision of interpreters was insufficient, which reportedly hampered the filing of applications and communications in general between asylum-seekers and the authorities.

There were insufficient measures to ensure social and economic integration of refugees.