Justice Ministry not backing down on Istanbul Convention

Justice Minister Dzintars Rasnacs on Monday reiterated his opposition to Latvia signing up to the Istanbul Convention Action Against Violence Against Women And Domestic Violence. 

In a sometimes stormy press conference during which his ministry's impartiality and professionalism was repeatedly called into question by journalists, Rasnacs claimed that because leaders of Latvia's various Christian denominations supported his stance against signing the convention, so did the majority of the Latvian population.

"We saw that a short time ago the leaders of Latvia's traditional Christian denominations gave a public statement in which they invited the government not to sign this convention and not to ratify it," Rasnacs told journalists.

"These Christian leaders represent 1.5 million Latvian residents - that's a substantial majority, in fact three quarters of the population."

"Only thirteen European Union member states have ratified this convention even though twenty seven have signed it," Rasnacs added, warning that it introduced troubling "social constructs" about gender identity that did not marry with accepted "norms" in society as a whole.

"Only one political party [in Latvia] is in favor of signing - the liberal wing of the Unity party," Rasnacs said, adding that vehement opposition to his ministry's stance in media and social media "has not taken into account the conservative stance of the greater part of society."

Then Rasnacs handed over to lawyer Baiba Rudevska - author of a controverisal Justice Ministry legal analysis - via video link. Rudevska delivered a rambling monologue in which she repeatedly lambasted the text of the convention itself for being of "extraordinarily low quality."

Immediately after the press conference, Vera Kacevska, whose legal office employed Reudevska to produce her analysis, told LSM she was surprised by the storm the affair had kicked up. 

Vera Kacevska on Istanbul Convention controversy
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