CRC Concluding observations on Latvia (excerpts), 2006

D. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations

1. General measures of implementation (arts. 4, 42 and 44, para. 6 of the Convention)

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Data collection
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17. The Committee recommends that the State party undertake measures to develop a systematic and comprehensive collection and disaggregation of data that is consistent with the Convention, and can be used for the development, implementation and monitoring of policies and programmes for children. Particular emphasis should be placed on gathering data relating to children who need special attention, including non-citizens, stateless and refugee children, and children of minorities. Consideration should be given to conducting analytical, in-depth studies on children who are particularly vulnerable, such as child victims of abuse, neglect, or ill-treatment; street children; children with disabilities and special needs; and children in long-term institutional care and residential boarding schools.

Dissemination of the Convention

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19. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Continue its efforts to disseminate the Convention in all relevant languages, and also through the use of child-friendly materials and school curricula in primary and secondary schools;
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2. General principles (arts. 2, 3, 6 and 12 of the Convention)

Non-discrimination
20. The Committee welcomes the declaration of the State party that all children in Latvia enjoy the same rights irrespective of their citizen-status as well as the decision to remove the mandatory requirement to record ethnic origin in passports. It reiterates, however, its previous concern that the principle of non-discrimination is not fully implemented in Latvia for children belonging to minorities, including Roma children, children with disabilities, and children living in rural areas, in particular with regard to their access to adequate health and education facilities.

21. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Undertake effective measures to ensure that all children within its jurisdiction enjoy the rights enshrined in the Convention, in accordance with article 2, including through the adoption of legislation, which specifically prohibits all forms of discrimination;
(b) Undertake comprehensive public education campaigns to prevent and to combat negative social attitudes and behaviour based on sex, age, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, disability; and 

(c) Include information in the next periodic report on the measures and programmes relevant to the Convention on the Rights of the Child undertaken by the State party to follow up on the Declaration and Programme of Action adopted at the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, and taking account of the Committee’s general comment No. 1 on the aims of education (2001). 

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3. Civil rights and freedoms (arts. 7; 8; 13-17; 19 and 37, para. (a), of the Convention)

Nationality
26. The Committee welcomes the various steps taken by the State party to expedite the naturalization process of non-citizen and stateless children. The Committee remains concerned, however, that despite the 1998 amendment of the Citizenship Law, which entitles children born in the period 1992-2005 to citizenship, and is granted upon application, a considerable number of children in Latvia still do not yet have Latvian citizenship or are stateless.
27. The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to accelerate the naturalization process for those who wish to gain citizenship, with the goal of eliminating the transitional legal status of non-citizens. The Committee encourages the State party to provide more information and support to the parents of non-citizen and stateless children to ensure that all children in Latvia can easily acquire citizenship.

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Children belonging to minority groups
63. The Committee notes that bilingual education for minorities will be provided until the ninth grade only (end of primary education), and that comprehensive and professional secondary education, as well as vocational education, will be provided in the Latvian language only, with the exception of subjects related to language, identity, and culture of minorities, which can be taught in the minority language. While the State party declares that it is carefully monitoring this process, the Committee remains concerned that those children required to learn in a new language may experience difficulties in following the instruction.
64. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Continue to provide information to children and their parents about the shift to the Latvian language in secondary education;
(b) Assist children who have language deficits;
(c) Train teachers to ensure that children are not disadvantaged by the new medium of instruction; and
(d) Continue to monitor and to include information on the implementation of the language policy in the educational system in the next State party report.

8. Follow-up and dissemination

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Dissemination
66. The Committee further recommends that the second periodic report and written replies submitted by the State party and related recommendations (concluding observations) adopted by the Committee be made widely available in the languages of the country, including (but not exclusively) through the Internet, to the public at large, civil society organizations, youth groups, professional groups, and children, in order to generate debate and awareness of the Convention, its implementation and its monitoring.

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Document data: adopted 02.06.2006, published 28.06.2006 Link: http://undocs.org/en/CRC/C/LVA/CO/2

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