Centre’s response to the government: In a democratic society, everybody’s human rights are respected

The government’s decision to proceed with the marriage referendum probably saddens every Estonian who values human rights. Us too. The precondition for a democratic and human rights respecting society is that the rights of all, including minorities, are respected. In democracy this is based in part on statesmanship. Human rights for minorities should not be the generosity of the majority, but a social agreement, a fundamental value of a country. We sincerely hoped that we would have such an agreement in Estonia.
The proposed referendum does not provide a platform for meaningful discussion, but allows for the spread of hatred and misinformation against the LGBT + community. However, we know from history what national hostility policies can lead to. We know how easy it is to create an image of an enemy from a minority. The planned referendum does not create a bridge and a meaningful discussion between different people and worldviews, but takes Estonia further away from the ideals of human rights. And it’s very sad. Really.
But the dream of Estonia that respects all people remains, and we work for it at the Estonian Human Rights Centre every day. We hope to do this together with many good and caring Estonian people.

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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.

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