On 21 March 2012, the Riigikogu ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol by which Estonia assumed the obligation to promote the opportunities of the persons with disabilities to fully and independently participate in the society.
Under the Chancellor of Justice Act, the Chancellor of Justice performs from 1 January 2019 the functions of promoting the implementation, upholding and monitoring of the Convention. The Chancellor of Justice ensures that all disabled persons are able to exercise their fundamental rights and freedoms on equal grounds with other persons. The Chancellor of Justice is independent in performing these functions. The Chancellor of Justice involves disabled persons in the performance of the functions, above all, via an advisory body.
To promote and monitor the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Chancellor of Justice:
- improves society’s awareness of the rights of disabled persons;
- draws attention to issues related to the implementation of the rights of disabled persons;
- makes recommendations for the implementation of and adherence to the Convention;
- helps persons with disabilities to initiate discussions on topics of importance for them;
- analyses legislation and draft legislation;
- carries out surveys and draws up reports;
- gathers and analyses statistics on referrals by persons with disabilities;
- cooperates with Estonian and international authorities and organisations.
To uphold the rights arising from the Convention, the Chancellor of Justice:
- resolves applications concerning the rights of persons with disabilities;
- makes proposals to revise practices that are in conflict with the Convention;
- verifies that laws, regulations and other legislations of general application are in conformity with the Constitution and other laws and, in the event of a conflict, makes a proposal to the issuer of the act to bring it into compliance with the Constitution and laws;
- submits a request to the Supreme Court to declare the legislation of general application unconstitutional or invalid if the issuer of the act fails to amend the provision that is in conflict with the Constitution and laws.
All the people, authorities, companies and organisations of Estonia must make certain that the rights of persons with disabilities are upheld in their field of activity. This is the only way of ensuring that disabled people feel that their rights are protected and they are able to participate in the society on grounds equal to other people.