Integrating Estonia’s Non-Citizen Minority

While the “zero-option” approach — the granting of citizenship equally to all who were permanent residents at the time the state in question gained independence — was rejected in Estonia, we uncovered no systematic, serious abuses of human rights in the area of citizenship. Non-citizens in Estonia are guaranteed basic rights under the Estonian Constitution, including the right to unemployment benefits and social services. Problems exist, however, especially concerning the successful integration of Estonia's large non-citizen, non-Estonian speaking population, nearly 40 percent of the country's 1.6 million residents.