Annual Conference on Human Rights 2014: “Dignity in the context of human rights”


International Human Rights Day, 10 December 2014, will see the continuation of a tradition: the Annual Conference on Human Rights organized by the Estonian Institute of Human Rights. The conference will be held for the fourth year, focusing on salient topics and touch-points. The patron of the conference is Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

In past years, the panel discussions and presentations at the annual conference have dealt with the human rights situation today, the role of non-governmental organizations in guaranteeing human rights, human rights and security in the information age, and other topics. This year the conference agenda includes three keynotes and a panel discussion following each one: 1) guarantees under international law; 2) rights of native peoples; guarantees under international law; 3) the situation and future in Russia and Ukraine and human rights.

The  first  group of topics will search for answers to following questions: How can international law guarantee protection for human rights around the world? Has international law lost its previous standing in connection with the Ukraine crisis?What might force countries to respect human rights?How to explain the fact that human rights are often better protected in NATO member states than in other democracies? Does NATO give additional backing to protection of human rights?

The second  group of topics at the annual conference deals with the situation with regard to human rights of native peoples. The emphasis here will be on cultural, demographic, political and legal problems – who has the right to decide on funding for the environment and natural resources, education in the primary language, safeguarding and funding for traditions, the role of local government and civic initiatives, curtailment of native people’s rights by higher authorities, and possibilities for according greater protection to the rights of native peoples. The panel discussion will include representatives of various native peoples.

The third group of topics, devoted to the situation in Russia and Ukraine, focuses on the reasons behind the crisis, developments to this point, possible solutions, the role of Europe and the US, the situation of human rights and refugees as a consequence of the conflict.

In addition to the abovementioned aspects, the conference will showcase a study conducted in collaboration with the University of Tartu on privacy rights in the context of new everyday technologies (social networks, smart phones, cloud computing, video surveillance etc). Analysis will centre on protection for people’s private lives and rights and various ethical, legal and social aspects from the standpoint of human rights. The study focuses on people’s expectations, viewpoints and awareness of privacy protection.

During the conference, simultaneous interpreting will be available in English, Russian and Estonian.

Toomas H. Ilves
President of the Republic of Estonia
Mart Nutt
Estonian Institute of Human Rights,
Main Organizer

The conference is invitation-only.

More information:

The organiser reserves the right to make changes in the schedule and the presenters.