TALLINN – In his opening speech at the annual conference of the Estonian Institute of Human Rights in Tallinn on Friday, Estonian President Alar Karis stressed that we can defeat the maze of lies of authoritarian regimes by crushing them with truth.
"How can we save ourselves from this hybrid weapon? By raising people's awareness and resilience, constantly explaining what is real and what is not," Karis said according to spokespeople.
"Authoritarian regimes use words as weapons. They direct them towards democracies and keep firing subjugated speech at us with powerful disinformation campaigns. The aim is to increase divisions in society, confrontation, and instill fear," the president said.
He said Estonia has set the goal of maintaining and supporting the free media by co-leading the Media Freedom Coalition and will continue to work towards it when it assumes the presidency of the Internet Freedom Coalition.
"And I promise, we will continue to be a thorn in the side for those who seek to stifle open debate on the need to respect human rights," he said.
The president said Estonia is ready to take on an even greater responsibility. To this end, the country will also apply for membership of the Human Rights Council.
"Standing against impunity is demanded by our internal sense of justice, the lesson of history, the suffering inflicted on our parents and grandparents. It is a sad experience, the dreadful repetition of which we witness today in Ukraine, also because similar crimes have gone unpunished in the past. A serial killer will continue to act until they are punished," the president said.
Karis said that democracy has been challenged all over the world. The question is whether freedom and human rights will prevail, or whether even more people will be subjected to oppression and restrictions on freedoms.
According to the president, it is our task to prove that the desire for democracy and freedom is always stronger and capable of survival even in the harshest of circumstances. The world has become much more black and white, and we have to choose a side. And it is clear that Estonia is choosing the side of the defender of human rights and freedom.