Estonian politicians, diplomats and the president highlighted ending gender-based violence on Thursday on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Almost 4,000 cases of domestic violence were reported in Estonia last year.
In 2020, data from the Ministry of Justice show there were 3,987 cases of domestic violence and 81 percent of the victims were women and 88 percent of the perpetrators were men.
The figure was similar to 2019 when 4,119 domestic violence crimes were recorded by police. This was a 14 percent increase on the previous year.
In Estonia, 15 percent of all recorded crimes are related to domestic violence, a statement from the Ministry of Social Affairs said on Thursday.
A joint statement from the ministers of social affairs, justice, foreign affairs and the interior said violence against women does not just hurt women but also families and children.
A report published earlier this year by the European Union's Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) showed Estonia has one of the highest levels of domestic violence in Europe.
Reporting incidents to the police is also one of the lowest in Europe at 13 percent. The EU average is 30 percent.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform), Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani (Center) and Minister of Social Affairs Signe Riisalo (Reform), Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) and President Alar Karis all wore orange clothing and posted pictures on social media to participate in the #OrangeTheWorld campaign promoted by UN Women.
"Members of the Estonian government are emphasizing the message that violence against women has to stop everywhere in the world. Together we can and must make a difference," Kallas wrote.
On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, members of the Estonian government are emphasising the message that violence against women has to stop everywhere in the world. Together we can and must make a difference. #OrangeTheWorld @UN_Women pic.twitter.com/VVmsMsNsAS— Kaja Kallas (@kajakallas) November 25, 2021
President Karis said: "We all must stand united for the elimination of violence against women."
#orangetheworld at today's meeting with @anuvehvilainen. I wish one day this sort of fight will be unnecessary, but until then, we all must stand united for the elimination of violence against women. pic.twitter.com/OS0h9iH56O— Alar Karis (@AlarKaris) November 25, 2021
Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets said: "Protecting the rights of women and girls, their empowerment and gender equality" are priorities for Estonia's foreign policy.
Today is International Day to End Violence against Women led by @UN_Women. Protecting the rights of women and girls, their empowerment and gender equality are among the main human rights priorities of foreign policy. #OrangeTheWorld #GenerationEquality pic.twitter.com/kBDcmDq1p7— Eva-Maria Liimets (@eliimets) November 25, 2021
Estonia's Ambassador at Large for Human Rights Minna-Liina Lind said it was encouraging to see the issue get so much attention in Estonia. She also posted photos of ambassadors to Estonia highlighting the issue and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs lit orange.
Encouraging to see that today in Tallinn a lot of attention is given to— Minna-Liina Lind (@MinnaLiinaLind) November 25, 2021
prevent&eliminate #ViolenceAgainstWomen in joining the#OrangeTheWorld campaign:@MFAestonia building in orange and Ambassadors based in Estonia joining forces! pic.twitter.com/15blsKPzsV
Other well-known buildings in Estonia were also lit in orange to mark the day, such as Kaarsild Bridge in the middle of Tartu and the city's Vanemuine Theater.
Sixteen ambassadors and embassies in Estonia also took a stand against gender-based violence.
"Ending violence against women starts with believing survivors and adopting comprehensive and inclusive approaches that tackle the root causes, transform harmful social norms, and empower women and girls. Many factors contribute to fighting and ending gender-based violence: for example, survivor-centered essential services across policing, justice, health, and social welfare sectors and sufficient financing for a comprehensive women's rights agenda," the German Embassy in Estonia said in a statement.
The participating embassies were Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States.
Editor: Helen Wright