Overview 110th Session – Latvia
The Human Rights Committee examined the Third Periodic Report of Latvia on the 12th and 13th of March 2014. Mr. Viktors Makarovs, Deputy Foreign Minister of Latvia, headed the delegation. He presented a long list of legislations and programs with the objective to improve the human rights situation in Latvia.
Topics addressed in both the List of Issues and the dialogue between the Committee and the State delegation were the independence and funding of the Ombudsman; the delay in the implementation of the Views of the Committee; the regulation of the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and the special naturalization tests for persons with disabilities. Moreover, the delegation highlighted that several efforts are being taken to combat violence against women; to ensure gender equality in all aspects of public and private life; and to prevent and provide support to the victims of human trafficking.
The main issues, however, concerned the Latvian language policy and the high number of stateless and non-citizen persons in the country. Regarding languages, the Delegation expressed its commitment to preserve the Latvian language, while at the same time, ensuring that minorities were given the right to use their own languages. In relation to the situation of non-citizens, the delegation admitted that the figures prove that the issue remains a challenge for the State (13% of the population are non-citizens) and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to address the situation.
In the concluding remarks, the Chairperson expressed satisfaction with the commitment and Latvia’s increased efforts to eradicate violations and challenges as a result of the country’s history, in particular, regarding the issue of languages.
The Concluding Observations selected for the follow-up procedure, under which the State should provide information on the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations within one year, are: paragraph 15 on the safety and material conditions in police, remand, and prison facilities; paragraph 19 on Strengthen of the State’s strategies to fight against hate crimes; and paragraph 20 on national minorities and education, especially with relation to language.
The next periodic report should be submitted by the 28th March 2020.
The complete video of the review (in English) is available from: http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/hrctte-110-session-latvia/