Human rights activist: Latvian police are getting better with hate crimes

Take note – story published 1 year ago

People in Latvia talk more and more about hate crimes, and the police have been able to investigate such crimes well enough recently, said Kaspars Zālītis, head of the movement 'Dzīvesbiedri' (Life Partners) in an interview with Latvian Radio on June 2.

"We have seen that the police have been able to investigate such cases well enough recently, so people are starting to talk about it more and more. If I said five years ago that the situation was completely latent and I don't know about any cases, then now we know in these recent months about at least 10 cases.

"The police know about these cases, too. Over a month, police have proposed criminal proceedings in two cases, which is a huge achievement."

Zālītis said that this does not mean that Latvia has suddenly become an intolerant country, but people are now aware that they can ask for help. Two such criminal proceedings in Rīga "against 100 similar ones in Stockholm" do not indicate that Rīga is particularly safe for the community, while Stockholm is unsafe, said Zālītis.

The head of the movement welcomed the newly elected President Edgars Rinkēvičs' priority – human rights.

"I think Mr. Rinkēvičs has already said in his first theses that human rights and democracy will be one of his priorities. I very much hope it will be the law of partnerships, the Law of the Civil Union or a regulation that this will move forward.

"We have two Constitutional Court judgments, we have 42 recognized families, and their number continues to grow. We already have three judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, which also states that Latvia has a positive obligation to recognize same-sex families, so that … Part of democracy and human rights is the rule of law, and the new President has said he will move it and will also contribute to public discussion in this direction, which the current President has unfortunately not done during the four years," Zālītis said.

He stressed that there had been 25 years of talks about the regulation of partnerships. "We are prepared to change a number of laws that should also be adopted, or be it one, more substantive law. There are more than 70 laws that require changes. The number may still increase," Zālītis said.


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