New equality commissioner: Disabled people's rights need better protection
Estonia's incoming gender equality and equal treatment commissioner Christian Veske, who is set to take up his new post early this year, wants more attention to be paid to protecting the rights of people with disabilities.
According to Veske, it is positive to see that Estonia is, overall, moving towards becoming a more equal society.
"The latest interesting study that has come out is report on gender equality monitoring, conducted by the Ministry of Social Affairs. It shows that the majority of people believe, that a society where women and men are equal is a good society to live in," Veske said.
The number of appeals made to the gender equality and equal treatment commissioner has fallen in recent years from 441 in 2017 to 239 in 2021.
The most common issues have related to gender discrimination, the unequal distribution of family and household responsibilities as well as discrimination against others due to their beliefs and disabilities.
"Often the problem is that the legal framework cannot keep up with the times, or is slow for whatever reason. For example, the rights of people with disabilities are also protected less under the Equal Treatment Act, than those of some other groups. This is something, which I see as a problem and that I would like to discuss more with the public authorities and put on the agenda," Veske said.
Veske also pointed out, that there is room for development in some of other areas, which come under the Equal Treatment and Gender Equality Acts.
"One of the issues I can certainly see is unequal treatment, as well as potentially negative attitudes, on the basis of (people's) sexual orientation. The Registered Partnership Act is outside the remit of the (gender equality and equal treatment) commissioner, however, it is important. When it comes to the development of the legal framework, there are some gaps there and it can have an impact on certain people's lives," Veske said.
Christian Veske will take up his post as gender equality and equal treatment commissioner on February 16.
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Editor: Michael Cole