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NIEM Latvia coalition meeting October 26th

On October 26th think tank PROVIDUS organised a national coalition meeting with partners in order to address the emerging issue of Belarus’ political crisis and the increasing number of Belarussians requesting asylum in Latvia.

The meeting was attended by multiple stakeholders including Members of the Parliament, civil servants from the Ministry of Welfare, Ministry of Culture, and relevant non-governmental organisations. Participants of the meeting outlined several issues and underlined the need for better communication about the availability of social services and the asylum process. Furthermore, NGO members raised the issue of employment opportunities for asylum seekers whose skills are in high demand on the labour market and several administrative obstacles linked to having a bank account. 

One of the more sensitive issues centred on the hope many Belarussians have regarding a quick resolution of the political crisis which would permit them to return to their home country. As a result, many choose not to request asylum and thus are prevented from accessing many social services that are otherwise available. This also prevents them from seeking legal employment. The is a strong need to communicate the legal and social benefits of requesting asylum more clearly and effectively.  
PROVIDUS submitted an overview of the various issues identified by the stakeholders to the Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights and continues to coordinate the dialogue between all the relevant participants. 

Link to information about the meeting, as well as relevant documents can be found here