A tenth of residents see coronavirus measures as breach of human rights

A tenth of Estonian residents find that restrictions laid down during the coronavirus pandemic violated their human rights, while 85 percent believe the emergency situation in spring did not constitute a breach of basic rights, a study ordered by the Estonian Institute of Human Rights and carried out by pollster Turu-uuringute AS found.

Emergency situation measures have not violated people's human rights, 85 percent of respondents found, while 11 percent felt their rights had been breached. 14 percent of men believed their rights were violated but just 9 percent of women.

In general, 87 percent of people questioned said that the human rights situation in Estonia is good. This was the opinion of 89 percent of Estonian citizens, 66 percent of Russian citizens living in Estonia and 64 percent of stateless persons.

At the same time, 8 percent of people feel they've violated someone's human rights. This opinion was most common among people in the 20-29 age group (19 percent), people with elementary and basic education (18 percent), students and college students (17 percent).

During the previous study in 2018, 73 percent of people were satisfied with the general human rights situation. (68 percent in 2016 and 54 percent in 2012). "Therefore, we can say that the human rights situation remains excellent, despite the emergency situation and what is happening in society," said Vootele Hansen, head of the Estonian Institute of Human Rights.

Journalism seen as protector of human rights

Answers to the question of whether the Estonian press has observed and protected human rights reveal that over 50 percent of people perceived the Estonian media as a protector of human rights, while a third of respondents said the same of Russian-language media.

57 percent of people found that the Estonian media has observed and protected human rights, while 23 percent found it has not and 20 percent could not answer. Regarding Estonian media in Russian, 33 percent of people said it protects human rights, 17 percent that it doesn't and 50 percent could not say.

The respondents said that public broadcaster ERR has been the most mindful of human rights (65 percent), while 14 percent found it the least mindful and 21 percent could not say.

Private media was found to observe human rights principles by 47 percent of people (44 percent in spring), while 17 percent believed it does not and 36 percent could not say. The figures for Estonian print media were 55 percent, 19 percent and 26 percent, respectively. The Estonian press was found to observe human rights by 66 percent of Estonians and 33 percent of people from other nationalities.

Turu-uuringute AS carried out the online survey among 1,000 residents in August 25-30. People were asked whether the COVID-19 emergency situation violated human rights and whether state institutions, the media and businesses have observed and protected human rights in their work.

People were also asked whether they believe the Constitution protects their rights and values and whether obligations therein matter to people. The first survey of this kind was taken in May.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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