UNESCO Social and Human Sciences
You are in the MOST Phase I website (1994-2003).
The MOST Phase II website is available at: www.unesco.org/shs/most.



Constitution as adopted on 28 June 1992.

Article 6

    The official language of Estonia shall be Estonian.

Article 12

    (1) All persons shall be equal before the law. No person may be discriminated against on the basis of nationality, race, colour, gender, language, origin, religion, political or other beliefs, financial or social status, or other reasons.

Article 21

    (1) Any person who is deprived of his or her liberty shall be informed promptly, in a language and manner which he or she understands, of the reason for the arrest, and of his or her rights, and shall be given the opportunity to notify his or her immediate family of the arrest...

    (2) No person may be held in custody for more than 48 hours without specific permission by a court. Such a decision shall be promptly made known to the person in custody in a language and in a manner he or she understands.

Article 37

    (4) All persons shall have the right to instruction in Estonian. Educational institutions established for ethnic minorities shall choose their own language of instruction.

Article 51

    (1) All persons shall have the right to address state or local government authorities and their officials in Estonian, and to receive answers in Estonian.

    (2) In localities where at least half of the permanent residents belong to an ethnic minority, all persons shall have the right to receive answers from state and local government authorities and their officials in the language of that ethnic minority.

Article 52

    (1) The official language of state and local government authorities shall be Estonian.

    (2) In localities where the language of the majority of the population is other than Estonian, local government authorities may use the language of the majority of the permanent residents of that locality for internal communication, to the extent and in accordance with procedures established by law.

    (3) The use of foreign languages, including the languages of ethnic minorities, by state authorities and in court, and pre-trial proceedings shall be established by law.

Note: The complete text of the Constitution and further information on the constitutional background of Estonia are provided by the International Constitutional Law Project at the University of Bern.

To MOST Clearing House Homepage