The Estonian Institute of Human Rights is the first independent human rights organisation in Estonia. It has been actively and systematically engaged in the protection of human rights since the re-independence of Estonia. Established on 10 December 1992, Human Rights Day, it was initiated by President of Estonia, Lennart Meri.
Our mission is the advancement of human rights studies and raising awareness of human rights and connected issues in Estonia and around the world. With our annual conferences, we strive to expand new views in the field of human rights, where cultural differences abound and value systems are different and often opposing. Our chosen subjects reflect important events happening in our global society.
Does the human rights debate in its contemporary form help the advancement of democratic ideas? Or has the rhetoric of human rights become a defence for forces ignoring them? A justification for funnelling freedom of speech and the domination of an aggressive minority over a silenced majority?
Every year, our Annual Conference brings together over 300 people: activists, politicians, diplomats, government officials, journalists, analysts and experts from over thirty countries.
Among others, our conference has hosted Madeleine K. Albright, Vagn Joensen, Cuno Jakob Tarfusser, Richard Barrett, Dr Quirine Eijkman, Mustafa Qadri, Kalev H. Leetaru, Artjom Troitski, Stephen J. Rapp, Gentian Zyberi, Riina Kionka, Dunja Mijatovic, Thomas Zerdick, Malavika Jayaram, David Mothander , Douglas Davidson, Anja Mihr, Christopher McCrudden, Mustafa Džemilev, Marriët Schuurman, Galina Timtšenko, Dalee Sambo Doroug, Maria Makejeva, Lauri Mälksoo, Dmitri Muratov and others.
The patron of the conference is The President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves.
From 2013 til 2015, Estonia is a member of the Human Rights Council of the UN. We are happy to play a role in Estonia leading the international human rights debate.