The Universal Periodic Review

Human rights are a part of everyone’s daily lives – they are the rights that concern equality and personal freedom. Feeling safe and like a valuable member of society irrespective of your disability, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion or colour is a human right. The right to get married and start a family, get an education and receive medical care is a human right. Human rights are everyone’s rights; a society with human rights is a happy society.

Estonia faced its third Universal Periodic Review by the UN Human Rights Council in May 2021. This meant that the situation of human rights in the country received more international attention than usual. During the review, countries around the world assessed the work Estonia had done in the last four to five years to guarantee human rights and made recommendations on how the state could better protect the rights of its people.

The human rights review was based on various reports that were independent of each other. In response to the national report of Estonia, the Equal Treatment Network submitted its shadow report to the UN in October prior to the review. This gave even the quietest voices a chance to be heard. While the report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was a look at human rights through the eyes of the state, the role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) was to make the voice of the people heard at the international level.

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