B. Positive aspects
3.The Committee welcomes the recent adoption of new laws, as well as the amendments to the domestic legislation with a view to bringing it into conformity with the principles and provisions of the Convention. In particular, it welcomes the amendment of 1998 of the Citizenship Law according to which all children born in Latvia since 1991 are automatically entitled to citizenship. It also takes note with appreciation of, inter alia, the Law on the Protection of the Rights of the Child of 1998 and the Law on Custody and Local Courts of 1995.
D. Subjects of concern and recommendations
1. General measures of implementation
16. The Committee recommends that the State party continue to develop a system of data collection and indicators consistent with the Convention. This system should cover all children up to the age of 18 years, with specific emphasis on those who are particularly vulnerable, including child victims of abuse, neglect, or ill-treatment; children with disabilities; non-citizen children; children belonging to minorities; children in conflict with the law; children who work; adopted children and children living in the streets and in rural areas. It further encourages the State party to use these indicators and data in the formulation of policies and programmes for the effective implementation of the Convention.
2. General principles
22. The Committee recommends that the general principles of the Convention, in particular the provisions of its articles 2, 3 and 12, be appropriately integrated in all relevant legislation concerning children and applied in all political, judicial and administrative decisions and in projects, programmes and services which have an impact on all children, including non-citizen children, and guide the determination of policy-making at every level and actions taken by social and health welfare institutions, courts of law and administrative authorities.
23.The Committee is concerned that the principle of non-discrimination is not fully implemented for non-citizen children, children belonging to minorities, including Roma children, poor or dysfunctional families, children with disabilities and children living in rural areas, especially with regard to their access to adequate health and educational facilities. In this context, it notes with interest the State programme for the improvement of the condition of children in the country for 1999. It further takes note with concern of the requirement to record ethnic origin in passports.
24. The Committee recommends that the State party collect disaggregated data to enable monitoring of discrimination against all children, in particular those belonging to the above-mentioned vulnerable groups, with a view to developing measures to put an end to any form of discrimination. It further reiterates the recommendation of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to reconsider the requirement to record ethnic origin in passports (A/54/18, para. 407).
3. Civil rights and freedoms
Right to nationality
25.The Committee is deeply concerned that, although all children born in Latvia after 1991 are automatically entitled to citizenship according to the amendment of 1998 of the Citizenship Law, there is still a large number of children who are without Latvian nationality. Further it expresses its concern at the slow pace in general of the process of naturalization of non-citizens in Latvia.
26. In light of article 7 of the Convention, the Committee concurs with the recommendation of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to streamline the process of naturalization for all those who apply for citizenship (A/54/18, para. 404) and, in particular, it encourages the State party to provide more information and support to the parents of non-citizen children to enable them to apply for citizenship on behalf of their children.
7. Special protection measures
Children belonging to minority groups
51.The Committee notes with concern that the Education Law of 1998 foresees that, as of 2004, all State-funded schools will provide secondary education in Latvian only, while bilingual education will be available only until 9th grade. Further, it notes the slow pace of the National Programme for Integration of Society in Latvia, owing in particular to a lack of funding.
52. The Committee encourages the State party to ensure that children belonging to minorities can also use their own language in secondary education, in accordance with articles 29 and 30 of the Convention. Further, it encourages the enforcement of the integration process, in particular at community level, and the provision of more information about the process.
Document data: published 21.02.2001. CRC/C/15/Add.142 Link: http://undocs.org/en/CRC/C/15/Add.142