Friday, March 09, 2007

U.S. State Department: No Discrimination against Russians in Estonia

Postimees discusses the recently-released annual U.S. State Department report (or series of reports) on human rights around the world, and notes that it clears Estonia of the charge of discriminating against its Russian-speaking citizens. From the report itself:

Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians are the largest ethnic minorities, making up 29 percent of the population. The government pursued a policy of social integration, particularly through its language policy which requires knowledge of Estonian in order to obtain citizenship and mandates that all public servants and public sector employees, service personnel, medical professionals, and sole proprietors use the Estonian language. Actual proficiency is usually determined through examination; however, citizenship applicants who have previously passed the basic level Estonian language proficiency examination or the basic school final examination for Estonian as a second language no longer have to take the citizenship language exam. Some noncitizen residents, particularly ethnic Russians, continued to allege that the language requirement resulted in job and salary discrimination.
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