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United States Intervention at the 11th Session of the UPR Working Group – Latvia
May 5, 2011

Statement of the United States of America

11th Session of the UPR Working Group: Latvia

May 4, 2011


The United States warmly welcomes State Secretary Teikmanis and the entire

Latvian delegation to the UPR Working Group. We congratulate Latvia on the submission of its National Report and its demonstrated commitment to the UPR process. We have carefully reviewed the report and followed today’s presentation, and would like to offer the following observations and recommendations.

The United States commends Latvia for working to promote tolerance and an integrated society. We applaud Latvia’s cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to provide international protection for refugees and other persons. We encourage Latvia to continue its efforts to promote respect for the human rights of all individuals and continue implementation of the National Program for the Promotion of Tolerance.

Though Latvia has made progress on combating intolerance against immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees, and members of certain ethnic groups and religious minorities, more remains to be done in this regard. We welcome Latvia’s inclusion of violence motivated by race as a hate crime in its criminal code. However, the legislation leaves individuals of certain groups unprotected from bias-motivated violence, including LGBT persons, and we urge Latvia to strengthen its legal framework to combat violent hate crimes and discrimination. We note that obstacles remain in integrating members of the Russian-speaking minority and urge Latvia to take steps to address those obstacles. We also remain concerned about detention procedures, including prolonged periods of pretrial detention, ill-treatment, and deplorable conditions in detention facilities. We appreciate that the State Secretary has addressed these issues in his presentation, and we look forward to hearing of further progress in these areas.

Bearing in mind these concerns, we offer the following recommendations:

1. That Latvia consider legislative and administrative measures to recognize violence on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation as a hate crime.

2. That Latvia do more to promote the value of citizenship among all groups, thereby encouraging naturalization of the remaining non-citizens.