What are the main human rights documents?
There are certain national and international human rights documents that could be important for you.
In Estonia, human rights have been included in the highest national law – our constitution. Chapter 2 of the Constitution contains many important human rights.
In addition to the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, there are other laws that guarantee human rights, such as the Gender Equality Act, the Equal Treatment Act and the Personal Data Protection Act.
There are also many other laws which are not human rights documents in themselves, but which protect different aspects of human rights.
example The Criminal Procedure Law contains provisions guaranteeing human rights during a criminal trial.
The European Convention on Human Rights and its Protocols contain a wide range of civil and political rights. The implementation of this Convention by the member states is supervised by the European Court of Human Rights, which is also accessible to you as an individual.
Read more about your access to the Court.
Like the European Convention, the Covenant contains a broad catalogue of civil and political rights. Unlike the European Convention, this document is binding on many countries around the world. The implementation of this Covenant is supervised by the UN Human Rights Committee, which is also accessible to you as an individual.
Read more about your access to the Committee.
The European Social Charter contains a long list of economic and social rights. The European Committee of Social Rights supervises the conformity with the Charter in the member states. The Committee does not accept individual complaints, but is open to collective claims by certain type of organizations.
As the title suggests, it contains a broad range of economic, social and cultural rights. This Covenant is also binding on many countries around the world. The implementation of this Covenant is supervised by the UN Committee of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which is also generally accessible to individuals. However, as Estonia has not ratified the new Optional Protocol, which grants such access, complaints against Estonia cannot be submitted.
The following documents are related to more specific rights or groups:
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (read document)
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (read document)
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (read document)
- European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (read document)
- Convention on the Rights of the Child (read document)
- European Convention on the Exercise of Children’s Rights (read document)
- Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (read document)
- Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (read document)