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conceptual mapping >  cultures and identities  > Linguistic minorities in Estonia : discrimination must end

Amnesty International

Linguistic minorities in Estonia : discrimination must end

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Estonia has a sizeable Russian-speaking linguistic minority which constitutes approximately a third of the population. Persons belonging to this minority enjoy very limited linguistic and minority rights, and often find themselves de facto excluded from the labour market and educational system through a system of rigorous language and citizenship requirements for employment and limited possibilities of studying in minority languages in higher education. Such comprehensive and restrictive citizenship requirements for employment both in the public and private sector, together with Estonia’s failure to effectively fulfill several linguistic and educational rights, have led to a situation in which there are disproportionately high levels of unemployment among the Russian-speaking linguistic minority.

This in turn has further contributed to social exclusion and vulnerability to other human rights abuses. In consequence, many from this group are effectively impeded from the full enjoyment of their economic, social and cultural rights (ESC rights). Although some significant steps have been taken in recent years by the Estonian authorities, Amnesty International believes that the current policies fail to constitute a coherent framework within which these ESC rights can be guaranteed for persons belonging to the Russian-speaking linguistic minority. Amnesty International is therefore calling on the Estonian authorities to remove barriers to the full and effective enjoyment of ESC rights.

document de référence rédigé le : 1 December 2006

date of on-line publication : 12 December 2006

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