Hate crime data 2019 (Latvia), 2020


Latvia regularly reports hate crime data to ODIHR. Latvia’s criminal code contains a general penalty enhancement. Data reported to ODIHR also include offences of incitement to hatred. Data are collected by the Ministry of Interior, law enforcement agencies, the Department of Analysis and Management of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Courts Administration unit of the Ministry of Justice and the Security Police of the Republic of Latvia. Data are not made publicly available.

How hate crime data is collected

There is no specific system for police to record hate crimes, so they are registered in the same way as any other offence.

While the Prosecution Office captures hate speech cases separately (these are crimes falling under Section 78 of the Criminal Law Triggering of National, Ethnic and Racial Hatred), no statistical information is compiled on hate crimes, which are defined as crimes committed due to racist, national, ethnic or religious motives in Section 48(1)14 of the Criminal Law.

The Court Administration compiles judicial crime statistics according to the relevant criminal law section. Data on hate crimes cannot be captured separately because Latvia’s hate crime provision is not a substantive offence but a sentencing provision.



YearHate crimes recorded by policeProsecutedSentencedAbout these data
2019Not availableNot available Not available
2018Not availableNot availableNot available
2017Not availableNot availableNot available
20161170Reported police and prosecution figures consist of incitement of hatred cases. Three of the cases recorded by police may have involved violence or threats.
20151115Reported police and prosecution figures consist of incitement of hatred cases, some of which may have involved violence or threats.


No information is available.


No information is available.


ODIHR observes that Latvia has not periodically reported reliable information and statistics on hate crimes to ODIHR.

Document data: published 16.11.2020. Link: http://hatecrime.osce.org/latvia?year=2019

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

HCNM letter to the Parliament’s Speaker on campaigning & tertiary education, 2020


As part of the ongoing dialogue between the Government and Saeima of Latvia and the office of the High Commissioner on National Minorities, please allow me to address two issues that, in my opinion, are of importance.

I took note of the initiative in the Saeima to consider amending the Election Campaigning Law which envisages that election campaign materials must be in the State language only. Although promoting the State language, including through its use during the elections, is key to the successful integration of society, it is equally important to ensure that it is not achieved at the expense of minorities’ linguistic rights, which need to be protected in line with Latvia’s international obligations and as part of a coherent and comprehensive integration policy.

International standards provide for the right of national minorities to conduct election campaigns in their mother tongues. Notably, paragraphs 32.1 and 32,5 of the Copenhagen Document commit participating States to grant national minorities the right “to use freely their mother tongue in private as well as in public” and “to disseminate, have access to and exchange information in their mother tongue.” In line with the OSCE HCNM Ljubljana Guidelines on Integration of Diverse Societies, “the overall framework for political participation should be designed to facilitate the inclusion of minority issues in the public debate as well as to promote the political participation of persons belonging to minorities. This should include displaying electoral information and advertising in minority languages, providing opportunities for the use of minority languages in the media and producing electoral material in minority languages.” (Guideline 27). I would thus respectfully encourage the Saeima not to adopt any amendments that pose restrictions on campaigning in any language other than the State language.

I am also aware of the decision of the Constitutional Court of Latvia regarding the use of languages in private higher education institutions. I noted that the regulator has been given one year to review existing language restrictions. In connection with this, and as expressed in the letter dated 8 July 2020 from HCNM Zannier, I would like to reiterate the need for the Latvian authorities and the Saeima to consider exempting private higher educational institutions from strict language requirements and foresee a possibility for private institutions to be able to exercise academic freedom in determining the languages of instruction, including minority languages.

It is my intention, as Director and Officer-in-Charge of the office of the HCNM, to continue our open dialogue and co-operation with the Government and Saeima of Latvia. To this end, the office of the High Commissioner stands ready to provide expert support on the abovementioned issues and beyond.

Please accept, excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Christophe Kamp

Director and Officer-in-Charge

Office of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities

Document data: 08.09.2020 (also sent to the foreign minister) Link: https://titania.saeima.lv/LIVS13/saeimalivs13.nsf/0/38CBD809ACA764E3C2258602002B29ED?OpenDocument

Draft amendment to the Pre-election Campaign Law, 2020

To supplement the law with a Section 5.1, to read as follows:

Section 5.1. The Language of the Pre-election Campaign

The pre-election campaigning, the expenses for placement of which fall under expenses subject to restrictions for the amount of pre-election campaign expenses, as provided by law, shall be made in the official language only.”

To supplement the law’s Transitional Provisions as follows:

Transitional Provisions

5. Section 5.1. of the present law shall come into force on January 1, 2021″

Document data: the bill is numbered 780/Lp13. It was conceptually approved by the Parliament’s plenary on September 3, 2020. Three readings are ahead. The Latvian text of the amendment is available at https://titania.saeima.lv/LIVS13/saeimalivs13.nsf/0/2943494D663BA615C22585D10024170C?OpenDocument The text of the current law is available in English in an almost up-to-date version (the amendments of June 2020, not yet translated there, are procedural) at https://likumi.lv/ta/en/en/id/253543-pre-election-campaign-law . For the international law context, see ECtHR judgment in Şükran Aydin and Others v. Turkey http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/fre?i=001-116031

The Law on International Schools (excerpt), 2020

Section 1. Terms Used in this Law

The following terms are used in this Law:

1) an international school – an educational institution founded by a natural or legal person and registered in the Republic of Latvia, which implements in the Republic of Latvia an educational programme recognised by an other member state of the European Union or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, by the Board of Governors of the European Schools or by the International Baccalaureate Organization, in the official languages of the member states of the European Union and the member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Adopted 02.07.2020. Latvian text: https://titania.saeima.lv/LIVS13/saeimalivs13.nsf/0/6B83B33A45FFB721C22585A00048EF18?OpenDocument