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Estonian activists file lawsuit against school for refusing to teach Russian language

May 05, 2017, 9:37 UTC+3 TALLINN

The lawsuit has been filed in the European Court of Human Rights

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TALLINN, May 5. /TASS/. Estonian human rights activists have filed a lawsuit in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over a refusal of the Haabersti Russian Gymnasium in Tallinn to teach the Russian language.

"The lawsuit is based on the violation of Article 2 of the First Protocol of the Convention (on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) envisaging the right to education," Chairman of the Board of the Russian School of Estonia NGO, Mstislav Rusakov, told BNS news agency.

Late last year, Estonia’s court rejected a cassation appeal of the NGO with a request to grant the right to study Russian at two schools in Tallinn. Later, a decision was taken to turn to the ECHR. The complaint was filed by a member of the Council of the Russian School of Estonia Yulia Mazalova, whose child studies in the gymnasium.

Rusakov stresses that the chapter should be closed on the issue of keeping Russian schools in Estonia.

"The decisions of the ECHR, by contrast with endless recommendations of international human rights organizations, are binding and we hope to find understanding at the European level," he said.

In 2015, supervisory boards at two schools in Tallinn decided to choose Russian as the language for studying. This initiative was supported by the city’s meeting. However, the government denied this right to gymnasiums.

Under the law passed earlierin  2011, schools are required to conduct at least 60% of education in Estonian. The law allows some exemptions at the request of local self-government provided that there is the support of the government.

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