Who protects human rights?
State & the Ombudsman
As the State is the main human rights guarantor, it has to ensure that human rights are respected and protected in the country. Human rights have to be respected and included in the decision making and in actions by all state institutions – courts, law enforcement, governmental and municipal institutions etc. In addition to this requirement, in Estonia, the national ombudsman – the Chancellor of Justice – oversees the respect and protection of human rights in the country. The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Estonia can review whether different laws and regulations violate human rights.
European & International institutions
Often, when a State is responsible for human rights violations, its national protection scheme is not sufficient to address the problem. There are, therefore, several international institutions that supervise and enforce human rights obligations on the States. Such institutions can be international courts (like the European Court of Human Rights) or monitoring types of institutions (like the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment).
Read about which institutions are accessible to you as an individual.
Human rights are also monitored and defended by national and international non-governmental organizations. These are most often private non-profit organizations that work for the advocacy of certain rights at different levels, offer legal aid to the victims of human rights violations and/or organize awareness raising campaigns. Many non-governmental organizations worldwide have been instrumental in achieving changes to combat insufficiently protected human rights.
Read about organisations in Estonia that work with human rights.