Latvia - Amnesty International Report 2010

Human Rights in REPUBLIC OF LATVIA

Amnesty International  Report 2013


The 2013 Annual Report on
Latvia is now live »

Head of state
Valdis Zatlers
Head of government
Valdis Dombrovskis (replaced Ivars Godmanis in March)
Death penalty
abolitionist for ordinary crimes
Population
2.2 million
Life expectancy
72.3 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f)
12/10 per 1,000
Adult literacy
99.8 per cent

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people were exposed to harassment by state officials. There were reports of ill-treatment in prisons.

Background

The global financial crisis had a particularly marked impact on Latvia. Severe cuts in public expenditure reduced funding to the police force, to maintaining the national minimum wage and to exempting minimum incomes from tax. Public sector wages were cut by more than 20 per cent.

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people

On 8 May the Commission on Meetings, Marches and Demonstrations of the Riga City Council authorized a Baltic Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride march organized by NGOs from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. On 13 May, however, 34 of the 60 city councillors called for the decision to be revoked, saying the march was offensive to public decency and posed a threat to public security. On 14 May the Council withdrew permission for the march, but the following day the Riga Municipal Court overturned the ban. The march went ahead on 16 May, with protection provided by the police. Counter-demonstrators hurled homophobic verbal abuse.

Torture and other ill-treatment

In December, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, reporting on a visit in December 2007, expressed concern at allegations of physical ill-treatment by prison officers at Jēkabpils, Daugavpils and Jelgava prisons, and at Cēsis Correctional Centre. The Committee criticized the authorities for not fully investigating such allegations in an impartial and independent process. The Committee further reported high levels of violence between prisoners, which the authorities failed to prevent or limit. This resulted in self-harmings by inmates seeking transfer to safer prison units.