Submitted to: Social Humanitarian & Cultural Committee
Addressing the Topic of: Combating Racism And Xenophobia
Country: Republic of Estonia
Delegate: Rebecca Dooley
School: Forest Hills Central High School
Estonia, a small nation in Northern Europe, enjoys a great level of democracy and personal freedom, and as a result, progressive ideals have been allowed to flourish. Due to the fact that the majority of the population is not particularly religious, many Estonians share cultural or historical backgrounds, and all citizens benefit from a revitalized economy, there are few causes of tensions between different groups in Estonia. However, mirroring the global trend, Estonia has seen a rise in right-wing social groups. Unlike many other countries, however, this trend is likely not caused by the global refugee crisis—Estonia takes in a few refugees due to our own initiative and even fewer due to European Union’s initiatives. The small number of refugee applicants means that there has been no major emergence of anti-immigrant policy, in fact, Estonia has made it easier for employers to hire foreign workers and for those workers to obtain temporary visas. These workers are more relevant to Estonian society than refugees; because of the easily obtainable work visas, thousands of people migrate to Estonia specifically to work. Because of this, policy has needed updating to protect the rights of these immigrant workers, as concerns for their well-being have been raised.
Estonia has additionally made efforts to minimize the risk of racist and xenophobic attitudes by investing in campaigns like No Hate Speech. Just three years ago, Estonia allocated over 110,000 euros to the Ministry of Education and Research to set up mobile counseling and educational groups for immigrants, create guides on the prevention of xenophobia for teachers, and aid for students arriving under the EU migrant plan. This money also goes to different schools and organizations that teach Estonian to children and illiterate adults wishing to find work.
- Rebecca Dooley