New asylum law completed

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The Latvian parliament human rights and public affairs committee on Tuesday completed work on the new Asylum Law, reported BNS.

The bill was sent for the third reading at the parliament. A total of 146 proposals had been submitted for the third reading.

The European Commission has started an infringement procedure against Latvia for failure to fully implement two directives in relation to asylum seekers.

The new bill enforces rights for individuals to seek asylum in Latvia, to be granted the status of refugee or alternative status or for receiving temporary protection.

The bill stipulates that in the case of mass relocation, refugees will be ensured temporary protection.

"A huge work has been done. I hope that sanctions of the infringement procedure will not be too big," said the committee's chairwoman Inese Laizane after the vote.

One of the chief amendments to the law is that interviewing of asylum seekers will be conducted by the Citizenship and Migration Affairs Board instead of the Border Guard.

The parliament committee also agreed that the parliament should be the first institution to decide on the admission of refugees in extraordinary cases.

So far the decision had to be made by the government whose decision -- the national position -- is backed by the parliament European affairs committee.

The Interior Ministry said that the general procedure of granting the refugee status or alternative status to asylum seekers has not changed.

The previous Asylum law was adopted in 2009.

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