© 1998-2005 Dieter Kraus.
Eesti (Estland, Estonia)
information on churches, religious communities and related
The Constitution of the Republic of
Estonia (1992, full text in English), in Estonian,
on Church & State and as regards religion see:
§ 12. [Equality, incitement of hatred]
(1) Everyone is equal before the law. No one shall be discriminated
against on the basis of nationality, race, colour, sex, language, origin,
religion, political or other opinion, property or social status, or on
(2) The incitement of national, racial, religious or political hatred,
violence or discrimination shall, by law, be prohibited and punishable.
The incitement of hatred, violence or discrimination between social strata
shall, by law, also be prohibited and punishable.
§ 8. [Estonian citizenship]
(1) Every child of whose parents one is an Estonian citizen has the
right to Estonian citizenship by birth.
(2) Everyone who has lost his or her Estonian citizenship as a minor
has the right to its restoration.
(3) No one shall be deprived of Estonian citizenship acquired by birth.
(4) No one shall be deprived of Estonian citizenship because of his
or her beliefs.
(5) The conditions and procedures for the acquisition, loss and restoration
of Estonian citizenship shall be provided by the Citizenship Act.
§ 9. [Status of non-estonian citizens; status of legal persons]
(1) The rights, freedoms and duties of each and every person, as set
out in the Constitution, shall be equal for Estonian citizens and for citizens
of foreign states and stateless persons in Estonia.
(2) The rights, freedoms and duties set out in the Constitution shall
extend to legal persons in so far as this is in accordance with the general
aims of legal persons and with the nature of such rights, freedoms and
§ 40. [Freedom of religion; no state church]
(1) Everyone has freedom of conscience, religion and thought.
(2) Everyone may freely belong to churches and religious societies.
There is no state church.
(3) Everyone has the freedom to exercise his or her religion, both
alone and in community with others, in public or in private, unless this
is detrimental to public order, health or morals.
§ 41. [Opinions and beliefs]
(1) Everyone has the right to remain faithful to his or her opinions
and beliefs. No one shall be compelled to change them.
(2) Beliefs shall not excuse a violation of the law.
(3) No one shall be held legally responsible because of his or her
§ 42. [Data protection]
State agencies, local governments, and their officials shall not gather
or store information about the beliefs of an Estonian citizen against the
citizen's free will.
§ 45. [Dissemination of ideas, opinions and beliefs]
(1) Everyone has the right to freely disseminate ideas, opinions, beliefs
and other information by word, print, picture or other means. This right
may be restricted by law to protect public order, morals, and the rights
and freedoms, health, honour and good name of others. This right may also
be restricted by law for state and local government civil servants, to
protect a state or business secret or information received in confidence,
which has become known to them by reason of their office, and the family
and private life of others, as well as in the interests of justice.
(2) There is no censorship.
§ 124. [Military service, conscientious objection]
(1) Estonian citizens have a duty to participate in national defence
on the bases of and pursuant to procedure provided by law.
(2) A person who refuses to serve in the Defence Forces for religious
or moral reasons has a duty to perform alternative service pursuant to
procedure prescribed by law.
(3) Persons in the Defence Forces and alternative service have all
constitutional rights, freedoms and duties, unless otherwise prescribed
by law due to the special interests of the service. The rights and freedoms
prescribed in paragraphs 3 and 4 of § 8, §§ 11-18, paragraph 3 of §
20, §§ 21-28, § 32, § 33, §§ 36-43, paragraphs 1 and 2 of § 44,
§§ 49-51 of the Constitution shall not be restricted. The legal status
of persons in the Defence Forces and alternative service shall be provided
Churches and Congregations Act 2002 (doc file, in English, via the
Estonian Ministry of the Interior) (local
Non-Profit Organisations Act (sorry, no link available at the moment),
Organisations in Estonia,
step closer to resolution of Estonian Orthodox problem" (01/2002),
of registering Estonian Orthodox continues" (03/2002).