Kaljulaid: A few bad decisions all that is needed to lose freedom

President Kersti Kaljulaid.
President Kersti Kaljulaid. Source: Siim Lõvi / ERR

Democratic rule of law could be endangered by making just a few bad choices, President Kersti Kaljulaid warned in her greeting to mark the 30th anniversary of the Estonian Congress.

"We need to remember that people's rights and freedoms can be lost by making only a few decisions not based on democratic values," Kaljulaid said in her greeting read aloud by actor and MP Üllar Saaremäe. The president did not attend the concert-ceremony after returning from a work visit to the United States on Saturday where she attended an event that was later found to have hosted people infected with the novel coronavirus.

Kaljulaid referenced an address by intellectuals called "Holy Purpose – Republic of Estonia" written a few weeks before the Estonian Congress was elected that said, among other things: "We are about to shed an ideology of intolerance that abused us during these occupation years, and we do not want the Estonia of the future to have a place for those who are intolerant of dissidents."

"This sentence sums up what matters especially to people living in a totalitarian society. The realization that a free Estonia can only be a democratic state based on the rule of law where everyone's freedoms and opinions are respected. This conviction gave a purpose to the congress and later re-independent Estonia and is what made possible our rejoining the free world that prioritizes democracy, citizens' rights and rule of law," the president said. "Just as it was then, threats may originate among ourselves today. That is why we must remember that people's rights and freedoms may disappear as a result of just a few choices not based on democratic values. Only together – as it was 30 years ago – can we protect a society free of intolerance," Kaljulaid emphasized.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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