Fundamental Rights Report 2018 (excerpts), 2018

3. Equality and non‑discrimination

(..)

3.2 Religious symbols remain centre of attention

(..)

Meanwhile, legislation banning face-covering in public spaces was adopted in Austria and Germany, with Latvia tabling a  bill to that effect in  2017.

(..)

Still in August, the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers approved a bill from the Ministry of Justice that would put restrictions on covering one’s face in public, except where necessary for professional, health or artistic reasons.15 According to the Minister of Justice, the “main aim of the law is prevention, so that people know beforehand that they will have to observe the rules of our cultural historical environment”.16 The bill seeks to ensure unity and harmony in society, foster communication between members of the public and promote living together. It foresees a complete ban on face-covering in public places, except in churches, prayer rooms or premises reserved for religious activities. In November, the parliament’s legal office
advised against adopting this bill, because there was not sufficient justification to conclude that the restrictions it proposes are proportionate and in compliance with either the Latvian constitution or the European Convention on Human Rights.17

(..)

Endnote 15 Latvia, Cabinet of Ministers (Ministru kabinets), Draft Law ‘Law on the Restriction of Face Covering’ (Likumprojekts “Sejas aizsegšanas ierobežojuma likums”), last accessed 4 January 2017.

Endnote 16 LETA (2017), ‘No Wearing of Face Covering Clothing in Public Places’ (Publiskās vietās nedrīkstēs nēsāt seju aizsedzošus apģērbus), 22 August 2017 (available to subscribers only). For more information see LETA website.

Endnote 17 Latvia, Saeima Legal Office (Juridiskais birojs), Opinion Concerning the Draft Law on the Restriction of Face Covering to the Saeima Human Rights and Public Affairs Commission, last accessed 4 January 2017.

(..)

3.4. Discrimination and unequal treatment remain realities, data underscore

(..)

Research conducted in Latvia concerning the social inclusion of persons in situations of vulnerability shows that public awareness of discrimination is low, with gender discrimination often perceived as not being a  problem.55 The findings also show that persons with intellectual disabilities and Roma people often face discrimination in employment. As is the case in other EU  Member States, most people who experience discrimination do not know where to turn to report incidents.

Endnote 55 Latvia, SIA “Safege Baltija”, SIA “Comperio”, SIA “Prospero” (2017), ‘Izpētes ziņojums par pašreizējo sabiedrības izpratnes un informētības līmeni un efektīvākajiem informācijas sniegšanas mehānismiem’.

The research included an opinion poll,56 which shows that Latvian residents often harbour negative attitudes towards asylum seekers and visible minorities. The poll shows that about one third of Latvian residents do not want to either live next to, work with or be friends with Roma. Similar findings emerge with regard to Muslims, refugees and asylum seekers.

Endnote 56 Latvia, Market Research Company SKDS (2017), ‘Izpētes ziņojums par pašreizējo sabiedrības izpratnes un informētības līmeni un efektīvākajiem informācijas sniegšanas mehānismiem’, Society Integration Fund, pp. 168-198; 1,033 respondents aged between 15 and 74 and representing all Latvian regions took part in the public opinion poll.

(..)

4. Racism, xenophobia and related intolerance

4.1. No progress in countering racism in the EU

(..)

4.1.1. EU and Member States respond to persisting hate crime and hate speech

(..)

Latvia amended its legislation to prohibit associations and foundations
from propagating openly Nazi, fascist or communist ideology and conducting activities aimed at inciting national, ethnic, racial and religious hatred or enmity.12

Endnote 12 Latvia (2017), Amendments to Law on Associations and Foundations, (“Grozījumi Biedrību un nodibinājumu likumā” (Nr.563/Lp12)).

(..)

4.2. More efforts needed for correct implementation of the Racial Equality Directive

(..)

4.2.2. Promoting national action plans against racism, xenophobia and ethnic discrimination

(..)

Table 4.1: EU Member States with action plans and strategies against racism, xenophobia and ethnic discrimination in place in 2017

EU Member StateName of strategy or action plan in EnglishPeriod covered
(..)(..)(..)
LVGuidelines on National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy (2012–2018) 2012-2018
(..)(..)(..)

(..)

4.3. Stepping up efforts to counter discriminatory profiling

(..)

Figure 4.3: Most recent police stop perceived as ethnic profiling among those stopped in five years before the survey, by EU Member State and target group (%)

RUSMINEE0
LT0
LV0
Group Average0
EU-28Total33

Notes: (..) RUSMIN, Russian minority (..) Source: FRA, EU-MIDIS II 2016

(..)

5. Roma integration

(..)

5.2. Overview of the fundamental rights situation of Roma

5.2.1. Combating anti-Gypsyism

(..)

Latvia promoted Roma arts to counter stereotyping and promote mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue.31

Endnote 31 Latvia, Ministry of Culture (2017) Introduction to the Latvian Roma culture at the event “Blueberries and Romance”, (Notiks iepazisanas ar Latvijas romu kulturu pasakuma “Mellenes un romances”) 9 November 2017.

(..)

5.2.2. Education

(..)

Bulgaria, 58 the Czech Republic, 59 Hungary, 60 Latvia, 61 Romania62 and Slovenia63 continued, expanded or introduced programmes using Roma mediators and teaching assistants.

Endnote 61 Latvia, Cabinet of Ministers (Ministru kabinets) (2017), Guidelines for National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy 2012 – 2018, Annual Implementation Plan 2017 – 2018 (Par Nacionālās identitātes, pilsoniskās sabiedrības un integrācijas politikas pamatnostādņu 2012.-2018. gadam īstenošanas plānu 2017.-2018. Gadam), 31 May 2017.

(..)


Document data: published in June, 2018. Link: https://fra.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/annual-reports/fundamental-rights-2018

Tagged: Tags