Human Rights Defenders honoured on Human Rights Day

2011 was a stormy year for human rights in the world – they received extraordinary attention. This was to a large extent due to social media, which helped to distribute information and demand for change. Thousands stood up for their rights publicly – there were protest actions in Tunis, Cairo, Madrid, London, New York and many other cities. Thanks to social media, which is difficult to censor, many human rights violations received public attention.

Kari Käsper, Member of Board of Estonian Human Rights Centre said: “Everyone can stand up against human rights violations and ensure respect for human rights in their workplace, school or community. We owe special gratitude for those persons, who around the world stand up for human rights, even when this means risking with their or their close ones’ life and liberty.”

In Estonia, remarkable progress has been achieved within the last 20 years in the realm of human rights, but there are still several shortcomings. The awareness of rights is low and in many cases Estonian people are unaware of the ways they can defend their human rights.

Marianne Meiorg, Member of Board of Estonian Human Rights Centre said that equal treatment and access to justice were topics which received most attention during the last year. This includes high court fees, which prevent many from protecting their rights in court.

UN General Assmenly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948. Because of this, every year on 10 December the international human rights day is celebrated. Watch the video message from Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissoner for Human Rights:

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It is important to protect everyone’s human rights, because it helps to keep stability and peace in the society. There are many challenges for protection of human rights in Estonia: intolerance has really come out of the closet. Bad things happen when good people are too passive, but together we can make a change.

Estonian Human Rights Centre is the competent, accountable and impactful independent human rights organisation in Estonia. Your recurring or one-time donation helps to stand up for human rights everywhere: in courts, in the media, in schools, in the workplace, on the streets and in governmental venues.

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