In March we’ll introduce the human rights shadow report to foreign states and policy makers

In October 2020 the Equal Treatment Network submitted the shadow report on the Estonian human rights situation to the UN for the third Universal Periodic Review. In March Uljana Ponomarjova, the Centre’s lawyer and the network coordinator, will, together with partners, present the report both to foreign states and Estonian policy makers.

Presenting the report to foreign states guarantees a constructive review

On 4th May, during the Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council, other countries will assess the work that Estonia has done in the human rights field during the last 5 years. They will also give their recommendations on how Estonia could protect the human rights of its people even better. In March, the network presents the shadow report to embassies that we’ve worked with before, as well as to other countries in the UN Pre-session meeting.

“The goal of meeting with embassies is to bring the attention of these countries to the concerns of Estonian human rights. We hope that during the review, Estonia would be asked about the societally critical topics that we wrote about in the report,” Uljana Ponomarjova said.

At the beginning of the month, there was a joint meeting with representatives from the embassies of the UK, Norway, Sweden and Ireland. “During the meeting, we touched upon several very important and timely topics covered in the shadow report, such as regulating hate speech, the rights of women, the right of minors to receive psychiatric treatment, and accessibility. We also presented potential solutions to these issues which we’ve highlighted in the report,” Uljana said. This Friday, Uljana and Kadi Viik, one of the authors of the shadow report, will meet with Canadian diplomats.

Uljana ja UPR kvariraport
As is typical of the corona era, the meetings are held safely via video conferencing

Before the review in May, there will be a Pre-session on 25th March, where the Equal Treatment Network will give representatives of foreign countries an overview of the shadow report, explain the shortcomings of the Estonian human rights situation and answer any questions. The aim of the Pre-session meeting is to ensure that foreign states are aware of the opinions of NGOs and will be able to give Estonia constructive feedback on 4th May and offer well thought out recommendations to our country.

The aim of meeting politicians is to change laws

In addition to foreign states, the network also presents the shadow report this month to Estonian policy makers. The aim of these meetings is to initiate changes in laws and to solve the issues highlighted in the report. This and next week we’ll meet the representatives of the Riigikogu factions via video conferencing. In addition to the Human Rights Centre there will also be representation from Feministeerium, Estonian Union of Child Welfare, Estonian Centre of Disabled Persons and Estonian LGBT Association. Due to the specific issues highlighted in the report, we will also have meetings with Maris Lauri (Minister of Justice) and Signe Riisalo (Minister of Social Protection).

The Equal Treatment Network presented the shadow report to the UN in October, and the full text of the report is available in both Estonian and English.

The project is supported by the Active Citizens Fund of EEA Grants, which is operated by Open Estonia Foundation in cooperation with Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organisations.

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