It must be possible for everyone to live in dignity, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) said during a meeting with Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović in Tallinn on Thursday.
Topics discussed at the meeting included policy with regard to the elderly, women's right, combating violence against women, the gender pay gap, and matters related to artificial intelligence (AI) and human rights, with Ratas saying that every person must have the opportunity to live in dignity, and that stability, security and the opportunity for self-realisation must be ensured for everyone, spokespeople for the government told BNS.
"One important step to ensure this is by improving the situation of the elderly," the prime minister noted. "For this, we need to put the system of long-term care in place in the next few years, including improving the availability and quality of care services. Everybody needs confidence that the state will value them when the person's health needs more care as well."
Ratas also described the gender pay gap as a continued challenge for Estonia. According to the prime minister, the state is trying to serve as an example for the private sector by increasing the transparency of wages and oversight.
Both Estonia and the Council of Europe are actively researching AI at this point. There is a group of experts in the Council of Europe working on recommendations for ensuring human rights in the automatic processing of data and is conducting research on the link between the use of AI and human rights.
"Estonia is one of the first countries to become engaged in research of the combined effect of AI and human rights," Ratas highlighted. "Technology supports our transparent governance and protects the rights of the people. Now we are looking at how we could put AI, which is the technology that will change the world the most in the near future, to work for the benefit of the people."
Ratas reaffirmed to Mijatović that he attaches high value to the commissioner's work and recommendations.
Over the past five years, Estonia has taken several steps based on the commissioner's recommendations to ensure the protection of human rights. For instance, last year, the Riigikogu ratified the Istanbul Convention aimed at preventing and combating family violence and violence against women. With the new Child Protection Act, corporal punishment against children was banned in 2014. On Wednesday, the Riigikogu adopted amendments to the Chancellor of Justice Act which make the Office of the Chancellor of Justice Estonia's national human rights authority. The Chancellor of Justice will also start exercising oversight over the fulfilment of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The 47-nation Council of Europe is an organisation promoting democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Estonia joined the Council of Europe in 1993.
Editor: Aili Vahtla