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ECMI Publications Programme

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#91: Estonian Ethnic Minorities: The Right to Health and the Dangers of Social Exclusion

Author Vadim Poleshchuk
Pages 26
Source European Centre for Minority Issues
Release Date 11-04-2016

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The Russian-speaking population of Estonia experienced serious problems on the labour market and in education in the years following the post-Soviet transition. The perception of inequality is typical among minority groups. Nowadays there are no significant disparities in terms of health conditions or access to the health care system for majority and minority groups; however, there are accumulated negative factors for the minority population, especially when we look closer at socially marginalised groups. In addition to their generally weaker socio-economic status, many Russophones face the problem of social exclusion, proven by higher rates of extreme poverty, incarceration, and homelessness, trafficking victimisation, drug abuse and HIV/AIDS. All these factors may have an adverse effect on the enjoyment by ethnic minorities of the right to health. Considering the demographic make-up of Estonia, a reduced use of the Russian language in the provision of health services has emerged as a new challenge to the national health care system.

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