CESCR Concluding Observations on Latvia (excerpt), 2007

B. Positive aspects

(..)

6. The Committee notes with satisfaction the ratification by the State party, in October 2005, of the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

(..)

D. Principal subjects of concern

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10. While noting the existence of anti-discrimination provisions in the administrative and criminal legislation of the State party, the Committee regrets the delay in the enactment of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in the State party.

11. The Committee regrets that it did not receive full and adequate information on the fulfilment of the obligation of the State party to guarantee the enjoyment of rights enshrined in the Covenant without discrimination, as stipulated in article 2, paragraph 2, of the Covenant, with respect to non-citizens with permanent resident status who make up some 20 per cent of the population in Latvia.

12. The Committee is concerned that the State Language Law which mandates the use of Latvian in all dealings with public institutions, including administrative districts, may be discriminatory in effect against linguistic minorities living in the State party, including the Russian-speaking minority which constitutes a significant proportion of the population. In  particular, the Committee is concerned that members of linguistic minorities, especially older persons, may be disadvantaged in their claims to public authorities with regard to their entitlement to public services. This has a negative impact on their enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights.

(..)

31. While welcoming the efforts made by the State party to increase educational opportunities for Roma children, including the National Programme on Roma in Latvia (2007-2009), which includes specific measures on education and integration, the Committee remains concerned that a high percentage of Roma children drop out, often at early stages of schooling.

(..)

E. Suggestions and recommendations

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36. The Committee urges the State party to take the necessary measures to enact, without further delay, comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, in accordance with article 2, paragraph 2, of the Covenant.

37. The Committee urges the State party to ensure that the lack of citizenship of permanent residents does not hinder their equal enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, including employment, social security, health services and education. The Committee also requests the State party to provide, in its next periodic report, detailed and comprehensive information on the enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights, disaggregated by citizen/non-citizen status.

38. The Committee urges the State party to ensure that adequate support is provided to members of linguistic minorities, especially older persons, through, inter alia, increased allocation of resources to subsidize language courses, with a view to enhancing opportunities for those wishing to acquire fluency in Latvian. The Committee also recommends the State party, in line with article 10 of the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities to which Latvia is a party, consider providing translators and interpreters in State and municipal offices, in particular, in regions that have a high concentration of minority language speakers.

(..)

56. The Committee urges the State party to continue to take effective measures to increase school attendance by Roma children, including, inter alia, through allocation of scholarships and the recruitment of additional school personnel from among the Roma community. The Committee requests the State party to provide, in its next periodic report, information on the results of the National Programme on Roma in Latvia (2007-2009), including measures taken in the field of education.


Document data: E/C.12/LVA/CO/1 , adopted 16.05.2007 Link: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=E/C.12/LVA/CO/1&Lang=En (also in Russian)

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