Human Rights

The observance of human rights also includes the obligation to honour the human rights of other persons and groups of persons. Human rights regulate the relationships between a person and the state (public authority). The concept of human rights is used in the sense of a set of rights, and topics are covered in accordance with a catalogue-based list of human rights. Human rights are in constant evolution, just like societies and states, which is why human rights must also be considered in light of the developments in the world.

The term ‘fundamental rights’ is often used in conjunction with ‘human rights’; however, they essentially mean the same as human rights. The concept of fundamental rights is mostly applied in the European Judicial Area, both in the Council of Europe and the European Union. Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia stipulates fundamental rights, freedoms and duties. The fundamental rights and freedoms listed in the Constitution are guaranteed in Estonia to all Estonian citizens as well as the foreign nationals and stateless persons in Estonia. Human rights are universal and both civil and human rights are guaranteed to citizens of the state by means of national provisions.

Topics in human rights

1. Human and political rights

  • Right to life
  • Right to protection from torture or brutal, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment
  • Prohibition of slavery and forced labour
  • Legal rights, right to personal liberty and security
  • Right to protection from arbitrary arrest, detention or exile
  • Right to protection by court in the event of violation of one’s fundamental/human rights
  • Right to fair, impartial and public trial and punishment pursuant to law
  • Right to presumption of innocence
  • Right to ex nunc (criminal) laws
  • Right to equality before law
  • Right to privacy, inviolability of home and protection from arbitrary interference with family and personal life
  • Right to protection of personal data
  • Right to protection from discrimination based on race, nationality, language, sex, religion etc.
  • Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • Right to freedom of speech, assembly and association
  • Right to choice of residence and mobility
  • Right to periodical, free and fair elections on a universal and equal basis
  • Right to marry and found a family
  • Right to self-determination
  • Right to citizenship and nationality
  • Right of minorities to protection (incl. the right to use their language)

2. Economic, social and cultural rights (fight against poverty and social exclusion)

  • Right to food
  • Right to work, rest and leisure
  • Right to join trade unions
  • Right to social security
  • Right to health and decent standard of living that ensures healthy and comfortable life
  • Right to protection of family
  • Right to education and participation in the cultural life of community
  • Right to property and protection from its arbitrary expropriation

3. Protection of human rights in armed conflicts

4. Rights of the child

The principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child were taken into account upon compiling the Estonian Child Protection Act. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Estonia joined on 26 September 1991, is based on four principles:

  • every child has the right to participation;
  • the best interests of the child must be given priority;
  • no discrimination is allowed;
  • every child has the right to life and development.

5. Women’s rights/equality

6. Rights of refugees, foreign nationals and migrant workers

7. Rights of prisoners and detainees

8. Rights of disabled persons

9. Psychiatry and human rights

10. Right to development

11. Right to peace

12. Right to clean environment that is protected from destruction

13. Right to good administration

Last amended: 21-04-2017 00:00 | Compiled by: Estonian Institute of Human Rights