BY THE ESTONIAN TENANTS` UNION
It is the anniversary year of the Republic of Estonia. We are happy to be an independent state, a country that needs to be cherished and developed by every individual and collectively into a safe society. The slogan of the anniversary year of the Republic of Estonia is “ A COUNTRY BUILT TOGETHER”. The President of the Estonian Republic Toomas Hendrik Ilves said in his New Year speech, “ We are a happy nation. We can be more confident in our state and culture and feel more independent today than ever before. A confident state based on justice looks its citizens in the eye.” Being confident in our state we look each other in the eye and ask – do we all enjoy living here?
The late 1980-ies and 1990-ies were marked by an upsurge of national feeling and self-consciousness. Non-violent activities backed by the People`s Front during the Singing Revolution led to a fully legitimate restoration of the independent Estonian Republic, admired by the whole world.
The national radical political forces immediately started the restoration of legal succession on the so-called restitutional basis. Though being warned by scientists and balanced political forces they disregarded their opinions as well as the principles of social and economic solidarity and, following the patterns of brutal liberalism and political decisions began to redistribute the national wealth.
On 13th March 1996 Riigikogu (Estonian Parliament) acknowledged the inconsistency of the ownership reform with the regulations of the Convention for the Protection of the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms by including a reservation upon passing the “ Act of Ratification of the Convention for the Protection of the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms”.
The “Principles of Ownership Reform Act” § 2 (2) states: Return of property to former owners or their legal successors in the course of ownership reform shall not prejudice the interests protected by law of other persons or cause new injustices.
In the course of the reform this purposeful provision was neglected, indicating contradictions with the Constitution and the “Principles of Ownership Reform Act”.
By not observing the principles of equal treatment the ownership reform created forced tenants - a large group of people with a special social, economic and legal position in the society. The number of the people who were deprived of the possibility to privatise their dwelling is approximately 100 000, exceeding the number of those deported by the bolsheviks more than 3 times. Under the circumstances social scientists regarded the situation in the housing sphere as schizophrenic.
To solve the problems of forced tenants and remedy the injustices they suffered the Estonian Tenants`Union claim that the forced tenants who were deprived of their legal possibility to privatise their dwelling on the equal basis with other lessees, should
be paid compensation for the suffered material damage considering the market price of the dwelling,
be made equivalent to other subjects of moral injustice extending the social benefits available to other subjects to forced tenants to redeem their moral sufferings.
Estonian Tenants´ Union 2008 June