CERD follow-up letter to Latvia on citizenship & Roma (excerpt), 2020

Paragraph 21 (a) of the Concluding Observations

The Committee welcomes the measures taken by the State party to facilitate access to the naturalization process, including the introduction of reductions and exemptions from naturalisation fees for certain vulnerable groups, the launch of a project by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs in April 2019 to promote naturalization through awareness-raising campaigns on citizenship procedures, and the introduction of self-testing measures to help applicants pass their naturalization exams. While welcoming the steady decrease in the number of non-citizens in the State party, the Committee notes with concern that the number of those non-citizens who annually receive citizenship of Latvia or another country has remained stable.

It is also concerned that the reported yearly decrease in the number of non-citizens is to a certain extent attributed to non-citizens passing away. The Committee considers the response to this recommendation partially satisfactory and encourages the State party to strengthen its efforts to facilitate access to naturalization in order to further decrease the
number of persons without nationality.

Paragraph 21 (b) of the Concluding Observations

The Committee welcomes the adoption, in October 2019, of a law that enables children born in Latvia to two ‘non-citizen’ parents to automatically be entitled to Latvian citizenship by birth, which is deemed a positive step to prevent statelessness of such children and terminate the separate legal category of non-citizens in the State party. It also welcomes information on simplified acquisition of Latvian citizenship for older non-citizen children to encourage their citizenship registration. However, the Committee regrets that the State party has not taken any measures to extend automatic citizenship to all noncitizen children in Latvia who are currently under 15. The Committee considers that the response to this recommendation is partially satisfactory and requests that the State party provide, in its next periodic report, information on further measures taken to phase out the
separate legal category of non-citizens, as well as on their impact.

Paragraph 23 (d) of the Concluding Observations

The Committee notes the information on the measures taken by the State party to address the continued stigma and socioeconomic discrimination against members of the Roma community, in particular the provision of various tools and mechanisms for the Ombudsperson to combat discrimination, improve cooperation and dialogue with the Roma community and its representative organizations, and ensure their involvement in the development and implementation of relevant Roma integration policies and progammes. It also notes that, in 2018, the Latvian Roma Platform project III was implemented by the Ministry of Culture to combat Antigypsyism in society, foster intercultural dialogue between the Roma community and the general population, and exchange best practices on Roma integration at the local and regional level. The Committee regrets, however, that appropriate action has not been taken to implement its recommendation and considers the response of the State party unsatisfactory. The Committee reiterates its recommendation to reinstate the post of Roma consultant in the Office of the Ombudsperson and requests the State party to provide, in its next periodic report, further information and data on the alternative measures currently used to help increase visibility and consultations with the Roma community on issues concerning them.


Document data: 24.09.2020 CERD/101st session/FU/MJA/ks Link: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CERD/Shared%20Documents/LVA/INT_CERD_FUL_LVA_43389_E.pdf

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