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Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is prohibited in all settings.
Overview of the child rights situation

Children who are 10 years and older shall be heard in court and courts may hear younger children. But this mostly does not happen. There are youth centres and youth councils, but participation can be enlarged. Estonia is trying to improve the child right’s situation, but due to insufficiency of the measures, they do not reach the youth, so that their living conditions are getting worse. Russian children are discriminated, because the Russian language is prohibited in many contexts, which means a massive disadvantage for Russian-Estonian children. Juvenile offenders face violations of their rights and are not supported by countries acts.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The prevalence of sexual abuse of children in Estonia is high, while the level of detection is low and the existence and accessibility of support services is insufficient.

Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe Committee recommends to ensure that children belonging to linguistic and ethnic minorities have adequate access to education, including instruction in or on their mother tongue and inclusive education, respectively.
Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee is concerned at insufficient protection against discrimination for children with disabilities. Public Institutions have physical barriers and local authorities do not guarantee all children with disabilities places in kindergarten and schools. The Committee recommends, among other things, to take immediate measures to ensure that all children with disabilities have access to health care, including early detection and intervention programmes.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenEstonia grants citizenship to children with undetermined citizenship born in the State party, but only if they are younger than 15. The Committee is also concerned that less attention is paid to stateless children who have arrived in the country in a migratory context. In addition to that, reports suggest that the detention of asylum-seeking or refugee children is increasing. Therefore, the Committee urges the State party to prohibit detention of refugee and asylum-seeking children and to ensure that those unaccompanied children are assigned a free and qualified lawyer.
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
physical health

Drug abuse among children and adolescents is on increase. The Committee recommends to adopt regulations concerning the organization of rehabilitation institutions for children and the activities carried out in them, including in relation to the restriction of freedom of movement and other fundamental rights of children.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The suicide rate doubled in the age group of 15 to 19 from 2013 to 2014. The Committee is also concerned that primary level psychological assistance is insufficient owing to the shortage of child psychiatrists.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention and implement, as soon as possible, its proposals to promote alternative measures to detention. Estonia should also ensure that detention conditions are compliant with international standards, including with regard to access to education and health services.

Specific observations

The Committee is concerned that it is not possible for foreigners to apply for a residence permit if they have a minor child living in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit or a child who is an Estonian citizen living in Estonia.

Favourable attitudes towards corporal punishment are still dominant and 22 per cent of schoolchildren in the State party have been victims of bullying.

The Committee is concerned that the school drop-out rate remains high, especially among boys, and that the language policy in secondary education often prevents Russian-speaking students from acquiring mastery in core subjects, because they are taught only in Estonian.

Additional BackgroundConcluding observations on the second to fourth periodic reports released on 8 March 2017.
Last Updated (date)1st of March, 2022