The status of refugees has been granted to five persons from Iraq, while alternative protection has been provided to 12 persons from Syria and Eritrea. The Iraqi and Syrian families arrived from Greece and the Eritreans were relocated from Italy.
The families are not fresh arrivals, as they are already living at Latvia's only asylum center in Mucenieki on the outskirts of Riga and are looking for permanent homes.
While refugee status is granted indefinitely, alternative protection is granted for a period of one year. If after one year the situation in the country of origin has not changed so that the person in question no longer needs protection, he or she is issued a new one-year residence permit.
As reported, two families from Syria and two from Iraq were relocated to Latvia from Greece under an EU-wide program, while two Eritreans were relocated from Italy.
Alternative status can be granted to a person if there is a reason to believe that this person is at risk of being exposed to death penalty or corporal punishment, torture, inhuman or degrading attitude, or degrading punishment in his or her country of nationality or previous country of residence (if a person is stateless); this person requires protection due to international or domestic armed conflicts and he or she cannot return to his or her country of nationality or previous country of residence (if a person is stateless).
Refugee status can be granted if a person has justified fear of persecution in his or her country of nationality or previous country of residence (if a person is stateless) due to his or her: race; religion; nationality; membership of a social group; or political views.
So far, Latvia has admitted 53 persons under the EU-wide refugee relocation program. Latvia has committed to taking in 531 asylum seekers over two years. While most of them will be relocated from EU member states Greece and Italy, 50 people will be relocated from third countries, most likely Turkey.