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"Sense of belonging to Latvia has become significantly stronger" says report to UN

From 11 May to 14 May 2021, the National Report of Latvia on the human rights situation in the country was reviewed and approved in the 38th session of the Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group of the United Nations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed. 

During the review, the head of the Latvian delegation, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Andris Pelšs, presented what Latvia has accomplished in the protection of human rights since 2016. Progress with ensuring gender equality, inclusion of minorities and promoting public participation was highlighted in particular.

"Compared to 2015, the sense of belonging to Latvia has become significantly stronger among the persons belonging to ethnic minorities... The fact that half of persons belonging to ethnic minorities consider themselves Latvian patriots and only 8% do not feel that they belong to Latvia, demonstrates successful integration of ethnic minorities into Latvia’s society" the report says.

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Latvia’s National Report covers the period from 2016 to 2020. 87 United Nations member states took part in the review of Latvia’s National Report evaluating Latvia’s achievements in the protection of human rights and offering recommendations for further progress.

One of the more eye-catching statistics states: "Latvian language skills have also improved. In 1989, 23% of persons belonging to ethnic minorities knew Latvian, while in 2017, 94% of these persons confirmed knowing the language."

"The member states commended what has been accomplished in the field of gender equality, societal integration and prevention of discrimination. Special mention was made of the adoption of Latvia’s first National Action Plan on the Implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in Latvia for 2020-2025. The member states also welcomed the adoption in 2019 of the Law on the Discontinuation of Non-Citizen Status for Children stipulating that, as of 1 January 2020, all children born to non-citizen families in Latvia are automatically granted Latvian citizenship," the MFA said.

In all, UN member states offered 258 recommendations to Latvia. They urged Latvia to do more to combat domestic violence, violence against women and children, hate crime and all types of discrimination. In addition, the member states underlined the improvements needed to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities including their access to education, and prevention of trafficking in persons.

Other areas noted included promoting gender equality and reducing the gender pay gap. The member states recommended that Latvia consider accession to several important international human rights protection instruments, including ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence.

In the months just ahead, Latvia is expected to consider all the recommendations received and present its perspectives on them to the UN.

You can read the full report at https://undocs.org/en/A/HRC/WG.6/38/LVA/1 and we have also attached it to this news story as a Microsoft Word document.

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