Stenbock House, Tallinn, 14 June 2018 – Today, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas and Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, discussed Estonian policy for the elderly, the rights of women, combating violence against women, the gender pay gap, and issues related to artificial intelligence and human rights.
“Everyone living in Estonia must be able to live with dignity and stability, safety, and the ability for self-realisation must be ensured for all of us. Improving the well-being of our elderly is an important step towards this. For this reason, the system for long-term care must be improved in the near future. This includes improving the accessibility to and the quality of welfare services. Everyone deserves the certainty that the state would value them even in their utmost need for healthcare,” Ratas said.
The prime minister noted that he understands well the desire of the elderly to live as well as possible and to actively participate in society. For this, the state and the society in general must support the equal treatment of people regardless of age and support the participation of the elderly in the labour market. The Diverse Workplace label developed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Estonian Human Rights Centre is a good example of the efforts made towards it. The label indicates that the company is looking for talent, irrespective of their age, gender, or background.
Ratas admitted that the gender pay gap is still a major challenge in Estonia. According to the prime minister, the country seeks to inspire the private sector by improving the transparency of wages and surveillance.
Both Estonia and the Council of Europe are currently researching the artificial intelligence. A group of experts of the Council of Europe is developing suggestions for the better enforcement of human rights in automated data processing and is researching the impact of artificial intelligence on human rights.
“Estonia is one of the first countries to research the concurrence of artificial intelligence and human rights. Technology is supporting our transparent governance and protecting human rights. We are now exploring how to put artificial intelligence into work the same way – for the benefit of the people. Artificial intelligence will be the most impactful piece of technology in the near future,” noted Ratas.
The aim of the Council of Europe is to promote democracy, rule of law, and human rights. The organisation consists of 47 member states. Estonia joined the Council of Europe in 1993 and this year is the 25th year as its member.
Ratas assured Mijatović that he highly appreciates her work and counsel. Estonia has made significant progress in the enforcement of human rights during the last five years by acting on the received recommendations.
Last year, Estonia ratified the Istanbul convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The reformed Child Protection Act prohibited corporal punishment of children in 2014. Just yesterday, the Parliament amended the Chancellor of Justice law including the function of the National Human Right Institution to its tasks. The Chancellor of Justice will also monitor the implementation of the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.
Photos (Jürgen Randma/Government Communication Unit): https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7vej02iycooc51e/AAAzUzM9YTxDMHrxNO_CX9Dca?dl=0