New report on racism in Latvia
The Council of Europe Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) on Tuesday published a report on racism in Latvia in which it underscored that the country had made progress on the integration of refugees and those benefiting from subsidiary protection.
The Council of Europe Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) published on 4 march the 5th report on racism in Latvia in which it underscored that since the adoption of ECRI’s fourth report on Latvia on 9 December 2011, country had made progress on the integration of refugees and those benefiting from subsidiary protection but said that more measures were necessary.
In the area of integration, the authorities developed an Action Plan for the implementation of the Guidelines on National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy (2012-2018).They also provided a large number of free Latvian language courses to national minorities and immigrants, as well as to so-called “non-citizens” who wish to apply for citizenship. The rules for granting Latvian nationality to newly-born children of “non-citizens” were eased, now requiring only one parent’s request instead of both. Furthermore, a number of activities were implemented to facilitate the integration of refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, including those who arrived in Latvia under the EU quota distribution system. At local level, Riga City Council carried out various support programmes, together with NGOs, including training seminars for teachers on integrating refugee children in schools, awareness-raising for social workers and support to local citizens’ initiatives.
ECRI also notes that the support activities for refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiaryprotection (alternative status) are not sufficient, especially in the areas of language training and integration into the labour market.
ECRI noted the incidents of alleged discrimination against refugees/persons with alternative status when trying to access health care services as welle as high marginalisation of Roma minority, especially in the area of education and employment.