Links to English-language studies & policy documents

Vladimir BUZAYEV Legal and social situation of the Russian-speaking minority in Latvia. Riga: Averti-R, 2014 http://www.russkije.lv/files/images/text/PDF_Files/Legal-and-social-situation.pdf (also available, in a different version, in French and Russian)

Roma in Latvia. Research report 2015 – Society Integration Foundation – http://oldweb.km.lv/lv/doc/nozaru/integracija/Romi/romi_latvija_petijums_ENG.pdf

Language situation in Latvia: 2010–2015 A sociolinguistic study. Scientific Editor: L. Lauze. Editor-in-Chief: G. Kļava. Rīga: LVA, 2017. 272 pgs. http://www.valoda.lv/en/research/study-of-the-linguistic-situation/ (also available, in print version, in Latvian)

Guidelines on National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy (2012-2018). Cabinet of Ministers. https://www.km.gov.lv/uploads/ckeditor/files/Sabiedribas_integracija/Petijumi/En_Pamatnostad.pdf (also available in Latvian and Russian)

Poleshchuk, Vadim (ed.). Chance to Survive. Minority Rights in Estonia and Latvia Moscow, Paris: Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, Foundation for Historical Outlook and Legal Information Centre for Human Rights. ISBN 978-9949-18-818-5 https://web.archive.org/web/20110313081515/http://www.lichr.ee/main/assets/L-3-eng.pdf (also available in Russian)

The Latvian language, Languages in Latvia. State Language Commission, 2003 http://www.vvk.lv/doc_upl/Valodas_Latvijaa_ENG.pdf (also available, in adifferent version, in various languages)

EUI reports on citizenship, naturalisation and electoral rights in Latvia http://globalcit.eu/country-profiles/?country=Latvia

CEDAW concluding comments on Latvia (excerpts on language and education), 2020

E. Principal areas of concern and recommendations

[..]

Education

33. The Committee welcomes the comprehensive education reform to develop new, competency-based education content that includes respect for gender equality pursuant to the general basic education standard and general secondary education standard for 2020–2021 and the preschool education guidelines for 2019–2020. It notes the increasing number of women and girls enrolling in previously male – dominated fields of study. However, the Committee regrets the lack of information on women in leading academic positions. It also notes with concern:

[..]

(b) The fact that, despite the efforts undertaken by the State party to increase school enrolment among girls belonging to minority groups, in particular Roma girls, their numbers are stagnating;

[..]

(d) The education reform led to a reduction of teaching of minority languages for girls and boys in public and private secondary-level education institutions.

34. Recalling its general recommendation No. 36 (2017) on the right of girls and women to education, the Committee recommends that the State party raise awareness among girls and boys, parents, teachers and political leaders about the importance of the education of girls at all levels as a basis for their empowerment and that it:

[..]

(d) Strengthen its measures to include Roma girls in the mainstream education system and collect data on dropout rates, and provide information, disaggregated by sex and age, among other relevant factors, in its next periodic report on school attendance and dropout rates among Roma girls;

[..]

(f) Ensure that the amendments to the Education Law do not create undue restrictions on access to education in minority languages by girls and boys.

[..]

Disadvantaged groups of women

41. The Committee is concerned that the State party has not introduced any specific policy or programme to address the situation of disadvantaged groups of women and lacks disaggregated statistical data regarding those populations and that the plan for the promotion of equal rights and opportunities for women and men for the period 2018–2020, which includes references to young people, older persons and disability, does not contemplate specific measures aimed at women from those groups. More specifically, the Committee is concerned that:

[..]

(c) Older women, in particular those from linguistic minorities, face multiple barriers owing to requirements with regard to knowledge of the Latvian language.

42. The Committee recommends that the State party introduce policies and programmes to eliminate the multiple forms of discrimination faced by disadvantaged groups of women. More specifically, the Committee recommends that the State party:

[..]

(c) Ensure that adequate support is provided to members of linguistic minorities, especially older persons, including the provision of translators and interpreters in State and municipal offices, in particular in regions that have a high concentration of minority language speakers, in line with article 10 of the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, to which Latvia is a party.


Document data: CEDAW/C/LVA/CO/4-7, 10.03.2020. Link: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CEDAW/C/LVA/CO/4-7 Also available in Russian and French

CEDAW concluding comments on Latvia (excerpts on Roma), 2020

E. Principal areas of concern and recommendations

[..]

Women’s access to justice

[..]

14. In the light of its general recommendation No. 33 (2015) on women’s access to justice, the Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Continue its efforts to ensure effective access to justice, full inclusion and accessibility for disadvantaged or marginalized women, such as women belonging to ethnic minority groups, in particular Roma women, women who are non-citizens, refugee, asylum-seeking, migrant, rural and older women, women with disabilities, lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons; [..]

[..]

Education

33. The Committee welcomes the comprehensive education reform to develop new, competency-based education content that includes respect for gender equality pursuant to the general basic education standard and general secondary education standard for 2020–2021 and the preschool education guidelines for 2019–2020. It notes the increasing number of women and girls enrolling in previously male – dominated fields of study. However, the Committee regrets the lack of information on women in leading academic positions. It also notes with concern:

[..]

(b) The fact that, despite the efforts undertaken by the State party to increase school enrolment among girls belonging to minority groups, in particular Roma girls, their numbers are stagnating;

[..]

34. Recalling its general recommendation No. 36 (2017) on the right of girls and women to education, the Committee recommends that the State party raise awareness among girls and boys, parents, teachers and political leaders about the importance of the education of girls at all levels as a basis for their empowerment and that it:

[..]

(d) Strengthen its measures to include Roma girls in the mainstream education system and collect data on dropout rates, and provide information, disaggregated by sex and age, among other relevant factors, in its next periodic report on school attendance and dropout rates among Roma girls;

[..]

Employment

35. The Committee welcomes the amendments to the Labour Law to strengthen the equal treatment of women and men in employment and consider harassment as a form of discrimination. It also takes note of the inclusive employment guidelines for the period 2015–2020, which are aimed at promoting equal opportunities in the labour market for all persons, regardless of age, gender or disability, and have overcoming the gender pay gap as one of the key priorities. The Committee nevertheless remains concerned about the following:

[..] (c) The difficulties encountered by the State party in including Roma women and women belonging to other ethnic minority groups, migrant women, rural women, older women and women with disabilities in the labour market; [..]

36. The Committee recommends that the State party: [..] (c) Enhance access to the labour market for women, including disadvantaged groups of women, such as Roma women and women belonging to other ethnic minority groups, migrant women, rural women, older women and women with disabilities; [..]

Health

37. The Committee welcomes the fact that the State party’s health-care system is based on the principle of universal coverage. It also welcomes the fact that the State party promotes healthy lifestyles for women and girls and that the implementation of the maternal and child health improvement plan for the period 2018–2020 and of the public health guidelines for the period 2014–2020 has resulted in the improvement of a number of indicators in the area of maternal and child health, including the reduction of infant mortality. The Committee further welcomes the fact that the State party introduced, in 2019, additional support services for persons, including women, living with HIV to ensure early and effective access to treatment and that the services provided at HIV prevention points are free of charge and anonymous. The Committee nevertheless notes with concern the following:

[..] (b) The limited access, despite the existing universal health coverage system, of women to basic health services, including sexual and reproductive health services and modern contraceptives, in particular for girls and young women, including girls and women in rural areas, Roma girls and women, older women, girls and women with disabilities; [..]

[..]

Disadvantaged groups of women

41. The Committee is concerned that the State party has not introduced any specific policy or programme to address the situation of disadvantaged groups of women and lacks disaggregated statistical data regarding those populations and that the plan for the promotion of equal rights and opportunities for women and men for the period 2018–2020, which includes references to young people, older persons and disability, does not contemplate specific measures aimed at women from those groups. More specifically, the Committee is concerned that:

[..] (b) Roma women and women from other ethnic minorities face multiple forms of discrimination in access to basic services, education, employment and health services and in participating in public and political life, owing to deeply rooted so cial stereotypes; [..].

42. The Committee recommends that the State party introduce policies and programmes to eliminate the multiple forms of discrimination faced by disadvantaged groups of women. More specifically, the Committee recommends that the State party:

[..] (b) Intensify its efforts to ensure that Roma women and women from other ethnic minorities enjoy equal access to basic services, education, employment and health services, as well as to participation in public and political life; [..]


Document data: CEDAW/C/LVA/CO/4-7, 10.03.2020. Link: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CEDAW/C/LVA/CO/4-7 Also available in Russian and French

CEDAW concluding comments on Latvia (excerpts on citizenship and participation), 2020

B. Positive aspects

4. The Committee welcomes the progress achieved since the consideration in 2004 of the State party’s combined initial, second and third periodic reports in undertaking legislative reforms, in particular the adoption of the following:

(a) Law on the Discontinuation of Non-citizen’s Status for Children, in 2019; [..]

[..]

E. Principal areas of concern and recommendations

[..]

Equal participation in political and public life

[..]

30. Reiterating its previous recommendations (A/59/38, part two, para. 62), the Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to increase the representation of women in political life at the decision-making level in both elected and appointed governmental bodies and adopt temporary special measures, including requiring political parties to introduce quotas for women candidates, to increase the participation of women, in particular [..] women belonging to ethnic minority groups and [..] in political and public life, in line with its general recommendation No. 23 (1997) on women in political and public life.

Nationality

31. The Committee welcomes the adoption in 2019 of the Law on the Discontinuation of Non-citizen’s Status for Children, establishing that all children born in the State party after 1 January 2020 automatically obtain Latvian citizenship. It is concerned, however, at the potential gender impact of current legislation and policies regarding citizenship, in particular on the most disadvantaged groups of women, owing to the lack of statistical data disaggregated by sex, age and other relevant factors.

32. The Committee recommends that the State party ensure an analysis of the potential gender impact of current legislation and policies regarding citizenship by developing data collection systems that capture information disaggregated by sex, age, linguistic minority, ethnic origin and disability, among other relevant factors, both on those requesting and on those obtaining citizenship, and report on progress in that regard in its next periodic report.

[..]

Disadvantaged groups of women

41. The Committee is concerned that the State party has not introduced any specific policy or programme to address the situation of disadvantaged groups of women and lacks disaggregated statistical data regarding those populations and that the plan for the promotion of equal rights and opportunities for women and men for the period 2018–2020, which includes references to young people, older persons and disability, does not contemplate specific measures aimed at women from those groups. More specifically, the Committee is concerned that:

[..]; (b) Roma women and women from other ethnic minorities face multiple forms of discrimination in access to basic services, education, employment and health services and in participating in public and political life, owing to deeply rooted social stereotypes; [..]

42. The Committee recommends that the State party introduce policies and programmes to eliminate the multiple forms of discrimination faced by disadvantaged groups of women. More specifically, the Committee recommends that the State party:

[..] (b) Intensify its efforts to ensure that Roma women and women from other ethnic minorities enjoy equal access to basic services, education, employment and health services, as well as to participation in public and political life;


Document data: CEDAW/C/LVA/CO/4-7, 10.03.2020. Link: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CEDAW/C/LVA/CO/4-7 Also available in Russian and French

ECSR conclusions on Latvia under Article 31 RESC (excerpts on housing and Roma), 2020

Article 31 – Right to housing

Paragraph 1 – Adequate housing

The Committee takes note of the information contained in the report submitted by Latvia. It also takes note of the comments made by the “Association of owners of apartments and tenants of denationalized and municipal housing” and FIDH Latvian Human Rights Committee.

[..]

Measures in favour of vulnerable groups

[..]

As regards the situation of Roma, the report explains that, although there are no specific measures targeted to Roma as regards housing, they are entitled to housing assistance on the same grounds as other vulnerable groups, on the basis of income criteria. The report refers to a survey carried out in 2015 (Roma in Latvia), according to which 75-80% of Roma families encounter difficulties regarding availability and quality of housing. According to this survey, the housing and living conditions of Roma are lower than the average level of the rest of the population, their housing is most likely to be without shower or bathroom (55.9%), flush toilets (42,1%) or water supply (26%) and is also likely to be overcrowded (4-6 persons per household, against 2-3 on average for the rest of the population). The study results convey that Roma make an active use of the assistance the municipalities and NGOs provide in housing area, in particular more than half of them (53.7%) had received housing benefits. However, the study indicates that increased efforts would be needed to provide assistance to housing repair. In this respect, the report states that, in cooperation with local government housing experts and housing managers different issues associated with the supply of housing are being settled and housing management skills of Roma inhabitants, as well as understanding of the need to pay for public utilities is enhanced by discussing matters with the debtors and explaining possible consequences.

The Committee notes takes note of the recommendations formulated in the above mentioned survey and asks the next report to provide updated information on the implementation of the measures under way or planned to improve the adequacy of housing in general and in particular for vulnerable groups, including Roma. In the light of the information available, it considers meanwhile that the situation is not in conformity with Article 31§1 of the Charter on grounds that the measures taken to improve the substandard housing conditions of Roma are insufficient.

Conclusion

The Committee concludes that the situation in Latvia is not in conformity with Article 31§1 of the Charter on the ground that the measures taken to improve the substandard housing conditions of Roma are insufficient.


Document data: Conclusions XXI-4 (2019) March 2020 Link: https://rm.coe.int/rapport-lva-en/16809cfbc4