Legal Information Centre for Human Rights

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Legal Information Centre for Human Rights
Founded 1994
Focus Human rights
  • Tallinn, Estonia
Key people
Director A. Semjonov
Formerly called
Public Centre of Legal information for Human Rights
Member of ENAR

Legal Information Centre for Human Rights is a non-governmental organisation based in Estonia, according to Hanne-Margret Birckenbach, is "particularly involved in promoting the concerns of Russian-speaking inhabitants and with outstanding contacts to West European research institutes", which "is considered as one of the few attempts in Estonia to develop competence in the understanding of human rights issues, whereas Estonian judges or the legal education system, for instance, have remained uninterested".[1] It participates at the EU FRA's Fundamental Rights Platform[2] and is FRA's RAXEN focus group for Estonia,[3] is member of AEDH[4] and ENAR[5] as well as supports UNITED network.[6]

Its sponsors include the European Commission, Tallinn city, British, Russian, Norwegian, US, Dutch embassies.[7]

In 2009, the Estonian Internal Security Service has published statements on the Centre's director Semjonov, claiming that


Amnesty International evaluated these statements in the following way:


In a project financially backed by the Russkiy Mir Foundation, the centre has published the book "Russian Schools of Estonia. Compendium of Materials" with the aim of creating conditions for the preservation of the existing public system[10] of separate Russian language schools within Estonia.[11][12] The current system is described as a legacy of the Soviet period when the education system was segregated with Russian settlers attending separate nursery schools, primary schools, and secondary schools[13] with different curricula and instruction was held exclusively in Russian while the natives attended public schools with instruction in both Estonian and Russian[14][15] On the other hand, Estonian minister of education Aaviksoo, in rebuking claims that the school reforms were unconstitutional[16] (the LICHR book claims Russian school closures are unconstitutional[10]), stated that Russian schools in Estonia have existed for more than 100 years, including the first independence time between the world wars, and will continue to exist.[17] The UN Forum on Minority Issues considers that "The creation and development of classes and schools providing education in minority languages should not be considered impermissible segregation, if the assignment to such classes and schools is of a voluntary nature".[18] The “establishment or maintenance, for religious or linguistic reasons, of separate educational systems or institutions” as such is not considered discriminatory by the Convention against Discrimination in Education if participation in such systems or attendance at such institutions is optional, and if the education provided conforms to such standards as may be laid down or approved by the competent authorities.[19]


  1. ^ Birckenbach, Hanne-Margret (2000). Half full or half empty?: the OSCE mission to Estonia and its balance sheet 1993-1999 (PDF). European Centre for Minority Issues. p. 39. 
  2. ^ Organisations participating in the Fundamental Rights Platform
  3. ^ Partners
  4. ^ AEDH: Member Leagues
  5. ^ Member organisations in Estonia
  6. ^ List of supporters
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ Annual Review 2008 — p. 26
  9. ^ Amnesty International Report 2010 p. 139
  10. ^ a b Legal Information Centre for Human Rights; Russkiy Mir Foundation (2010). Russian Schools of Estonia. Compendium of Materials (PDF). Legal Information Centre for Human Rights. ISBN 978-9985-9967-2-0. 
  11. ^ Vetik, Raivo; Jelena Helemäe (2011). The Russian Second Generation in Tallinn and Kohtla-Järve: The TIES Study in Estonia. Amsterdam University Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-90-8964-250-9. 
  12. ^ Pavlenko, Aneta (2008). Multilingualism in post-Soviet countries. Multilingual Matters. p. 160. ISBN 978-1-84769-087-6. 
  13. ^ Current politics and economics of Russia, Volume 3. Nova Science Publishers. 1992. p. 78. 
  14. ^ Pourchot, Georgeta (2008). Eurasia rising: democracy and independence in the post-Soviet space. ABC-CLIO. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-275-99916-2. 
  15. ^ Brown, Kara (2011). "The State, Official-Language Education, and Minorities: Estonian-Language Instruction for Estonia's Russian-Speakers". In Bekerman, Zvi. International Handbook of Migration, Minorities and Education: Understanding Cultural and Social Differences in Processes of Learning. Thomas Geisen. Springer. p. 202. ISBN 978-94-007-1465-6. De jure Russification during the Soviet occupation of Estonia (1940-1991) was driven by three models: (1) Russian monolingualism for Russians with minimal, if any Estonian-language instruction; (2) Estonian-Russian bilingualism for ethnic Estonians; and (3) assimilation of other non-Russian and non-Estonian ethnicities. In practice, Russification meant an increase in Russian-language instruction in Estonian-medium schools, the rapid expansion of the Russian-medium school network, and the marginalization of Estonian-language education in Russian-medium schools. 
  16. ^ Ott Tammik (2011-12-22). "Minister: Russian Schools Are Here to Stay". ERR. Retrieved 27 December 2011. 
  17. ^ Аавиксоо: русские школы в Эстонии никуда не исчезнут ERR (Russian)
  18. ^ Recommendations of the Forum on Minority Issues A/HRC/10/11/Add.1 — para. 27
  19. ^ Yves Daudet, Pierre Michel Eisemann Commentary on the Convention against Discrimination in Education UNESCO, 2005

External links[edit]