United Nations is being lied to, claims Latvia's rights ombudsman

Some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are providing inaccurate and even false information to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in an attempt to discredit Latvia, said Latvia's Chief Ombudsman responsible for civil rights, Juris Jansons.

The ombudsman is angry about reports handed in by several NGOs about the situation in Latvia.

"[The] Ombudsman expressed his indignation about the fact that non-governmental organizations give inaccurate and at some points false information to the international institutions. At this point Ombudsman questions if such distorted information is given deliberately to discredit the Republic of Latvia," said a statement released August 9 by the office of the ombudsman.

“Such information and outline of the situation as certain NGOs offer is actually mendacious. At the time when the State represented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and also the Ombudsman for years keep explaining to international stakeholders certain notions and fact, for example, that non-citizens of Latvia are not stateless, some groups of people turn it all around and give misleading information. As Ombudsman I am disappointed that the UN Committee trust such organizations and do not verify the truthfulness of their statements,” Jansons said in an English-language statement.

Consequently he has sent a letter to the UN Committee stating that UN institutions lack unified methodology when it comes to reporting and participation of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and non-governmental institutions (NGOs). 

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Ombudsman letter to UN

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"Currently this methodology is rather chaotic and the criteria of the mechanism for submitting information and expressing opinion is unclear. Ombudsman invites the United Nations to do what it takes in order to make participation of NHRIs and NGOs in UN procedures clear, available, effective and result-oriented," the statement said.

The 96th session of the UN Committee was held on August 8-9 in Geneva, during which a report on Latvia was assessed. Latvia submitted its report in late 2017, but in July two NGOs submitted their alternative or shadow reports – The Latvian Human Rights Committee and the Latvian Human Rights Center.

The full collection of reports submitted to the U.N. can be read online.

 

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