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Position Statement White Paper

Country : The Republic of Estonia


Committee : The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

Topic A. Protection of Children in Times of Armed Conflicts


The Republic of Estonia understands the urgency of discussing the protection of children,
particularly in times of armed conflict on this council. It is estimated that around 300,000
children are involved conflicts from around the world, and also millions of children working
with inhumane conditions. These children are used for combatants, messenger, forced sexual
service, and also other work that poses a threat to their health, safety, or morals. Although most
of the children know what kind of horror they would face if they involve in an armed conflicts,
some of them still voluntarily enlist because of their dreary economic conditions and the urge to
seek revenge for violence inflicted on themselves or their families1. Estonia believes that
children is one of the most important factor of a countrys development, and therefore they
should be protected at all costs to ensure their wellbeing so that they can contribute positively on
world peace and sustainable development.
The Republic of Estonia has been striving to eradicate the use of children in armed
conflicts, both domestically and internationally. The Republic of Estonia acceded to the
Convention on the Rights of the Child by a resolution of the Supreme Council of the Republic of
Estonia of 26 September 1991, the letter of accession was deposited with the United Nations
SecretaryGeneral on 21 October 1991 and the Convention took effect in relation to Estonia on
20 November 1991. In 1992, the Child Protection Act was adopted (RT 1992, 28, 370). The
Child Protection Act is based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. According to the
Act, persons below the age of 18 years are considered as children 2.According to Article 3
paragraph 2 on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the
involvement of children in armed conflict, the Republic of Estonia declares that the minimum
age for voluntary recruitment into national armed forces is 18 years 3. Estonia has also signed and
ratified many other international treaties relevant to the protection of children's rights, such as
the ILO Convention No. 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the
Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, the Hague Conventions on Protection of
Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption and on Civil Aspects of
International Child Abduction, and the European Convention on Recognition and Enforcement
of Decisions concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children.
The Republic of Estionia proposes tworeccommendations regarding to streghten the child
protection policies:

Unicef. "Fact sheet: Child soldiers." Online: article]. Cited 3 (2004). Accessed 15 July 2015
<http://www.unicef.org/emerg/files/childsoldiers.pdf>
2
Initial Reports on CRC : Estonia. 2002. Accessed 15 July 2015
<http://www.bayefsky.com/reports/estonia_crc_c_8_add.45_2001.php>
3
Assembly, UN General. "Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in
Armed Conflict, 25 May 2000." (2000).Accessed 15 July 2015
<https://treaties.un.org/pages/viewdetails.aspx?src=ind&mtdsg_no=iv-11-b&chapter=4&lang=en>

Mohammad Alvin P Universitas Indonesia

Position Statement White Paper


Country : The Republic of Estonia
Committee : The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)
1. Poverty Eradication : Estonia recognizes that child labor and child soldier is an
expression of poverty and deprivation of well being, therefore Estonia reccommends an policy
which have the target of poverty elimination. With less children fall into the status of poverty,
they can have more options other than becoming a child soldier or working illegally with
inhumane conditions. By making investments with proper management and tight monitoring on
countries that have poor economic conditions or currently in conflict with another country, child
labor and child soldier can gradually cease to exist and therefore childrens right can be
protected.
2.Increasing Education Investments : The second reccomendation proposed by Estonia
is related to the education of children. We cannot protect every child 24/7. There will be some
time these children are out of our watch. During those time, only the child itself can protect
them. Thus we must be able to make education accessible so they can protect themselves. By
allocating more fund into the education sector, each country can make schooling more affordable
and thus more children are able to go to school. And also by implementing conditional cash
transfer4, parents will have more incentives to send their children to school, rather than sending
their children to become child soldier or labor. A 2003 study by the International Labor
Organization5 estimated that eliminating child labor and extending quality schooling for all
children over a 20-year period would result in the baseline case in US$ 5 trillion in economic
gains, after accounting for opportunity costs.

Cash transfer from the governments to families that meets the conditions, such as sending their children to school.
International Program on Elimination of Child Labor, Investing in Every Child. An Economic Study of the Costs and Benefits of
Eliminating Child Labor (Geneva: International Labor Organization, 2003). Accessed 15 July 2015
<http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---webdev/documents/publication/wcms_071311.pdf>
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Mohammad Alvin P Universitas Indonesia

Position Statement White Paper


Country : The Republic of Estonia
Committee : The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

Topic B. Resolving Statelessness


'Everyone has the right to a nationality. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his
nationality, nor denied the right to change his nationality.' Such is the text of article 15 of the
1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This has not always been the case. The right to a
nationality and the notion of 'effective nationality', of nationality as a basis for the exercise of
other rights, have been developed through the course of this century. Notable landmarks include
the 1930 Hague Convention on Certain Questions relating to the Conflict of Nationality Laws,
the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, and the 1997 European Convention on
Nationality. The principles contained in these conventions have been elaborated upon and
reinforced by other treaties, jurisprudence, and State practice. The right to a nationality is a
human right, in turn, out to serve as a basis upon which to settle issues pertaining to the
acquisition, loss, or denial of nationality6.
The Republic of Estonia wholly recognises the statelessness issues facing todays world,
especially in Sub-saharan African Countries, Middle East Countries, and Asian Countries.
Estonia also had issue with statelessness problem.The situation of stateless ethnic Russians in
Estonia has been a long-standing concern among civil society. The problem dates back to the
Soviet occupation of the Baltic States, during which many ethnic Russian were forced to move
there. When Estonia gained independence, citizenship in Estonia was restricted to those who had
links to these countries prior to the occupation. As a result, hundreds of thousands were left
stateless7.
Eventhough Estionia hasnt acceded the 1954 Convention on statelessness and 1961
Convention on the reduction of statelessness, stateless residents in Estonia have almost the same
rights as permanent residents of Estonia. What these technically stateless individuals indeed do
not have is the right to participate in the elections to Estonia's parliament.they have arguably
even more opportunities than Estonian citizensnamely, they can travel visa-free both in the EU
and in the Russian Federation. Some believe that this has in fact contributed to the situation
where some of the stateless individuals seem not to be actively interested in naturalization. The
only condition the stateless individuals can be naturalized into Estonian residents is that they
must pass the Estonian language test requirement. Those who successfully naturalize are paid
back the money they spent on the language course8.the Estonian government has made
significant steps to encourage gray passport holders to apply for either Estonian or Russian
citizenship. For example, in 1998 one amendment was passed to give children born in Estonia
after February 25, 1992, and whose parents have lived in Estonia for at least five years,
automatic citizenship.
6

Batchelor, Carol A. "Statelessness and the problem of resolving nationality status." Int'l J. Refugee L. 10 (1998):
156.
7
http://www.statelessness.eu/blog/russia-and-baltics-great-statelessness-game#sthash.GQa2Ghus.dpuf. Web.
Accessed 15 July 2015
8
http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/stateless-not-right-less-debate-over-citizenship-estonia. Web.
Accessed 15 July 2015

Mohammad Alvin P Universitas Indonesia

Position Statement White Paper


Country : The Republic of Estonia
Committee : The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)
Overall, Estonia's citizenship and language policies have served legitimate aims and been
compatible with international legal standards. While statelessness has not been fully solved, most
Russian-speakers have opted for Estonia's citizenship and have learned to speak at least some
Estonian over the last 20 years. It is therefore important not to focus only on the negative but on
what has been achieved in terms of integration in Estonia. Estonia reccommends Economic
development in the northeastern region must be actively promoted by the Russian government,
so all regions have comparable rates of employment.The UNHCR should also create a
department with regional specialists to address specific needs of stateless populations. The UN
High Commissioner for Refugees should continue to facilitate discussions toward accession to
the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the
Reduction of Statelessness9.

http://www.refintl.org/policy/field-report/left-behind-stateless-russians-search-equality-estonia. Web. Accessed


15 July 2015

Mohammad Alvin P Universitas Indonesia