Kertu Tuuling takes up position as Centre’s new legal representative on refugee issues

September introduced a new lawyer on refugee issues to the Estonian Human Rights Centre. Kertu Tuuling, who holds a Master’s degree from Tallinn University, has previously worked in family law and found her way to the Centre in pursuit of work that can change the world. We are delighted that Kertu chose the Estonian Human Rights Centre and had the chance to ask her about her background, where she comes from and why she decided to join us.

Tell us a bit about your background, studies and previous engagements.

I graduated with a Master’s degree in Law from Tallinn University this spring. I have previously worked in family law, which obviously has parallels with human rights. During the years I worked alongside my studies, I also have experience in the hotel industry and real estate.

Your new position will involve complex and sensitive topics. What did you find most important when applying for the position?

The desire to change and improve things. I do not enjoy working simply for the sake of making more money or doing something that makes no difference to society and that does not present a daily challenge. A builder I once knew told me that they like their job (building houses) because in years to come they can look at the houses they have built with their own hands. In a similar manner, I will hopefully be able to read court decisions or know people whose lives I have positively impacted in some capacity.

Why do you care about human rights?

Because I see the way those in need are left without help in society and how their human rights are violated.

How much do you follow what is happening in society and which issues are particularly important to you?

I do not follow it any more on a daily basis because I find that the media does not provide accurate coverage of everything, but I do follow enough to know what is happening in the world. As a lawyer, the thing that interests me most is of course lawmaking – whether or not a law was passed in the parliament, etc. Also the news about what problems and concerns people have.

What would you recommend other people watch, read…

You can both watch and read The Handmaid’s Tale. At times, I found it truly repulsive to watch, but at the same time, it is sufficiently eye opening to make you realise that this is the way things are in our society at the moment – we know that somewhere out there someone’s life is literal hell, but public authorities are doing nothing to improve the situation.

*The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, published in 1985.

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