Last Updated: Thursday, 21 August 2014, 11:05 GMT

Amnesty International Report 2010 - Latvia

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 28 May 2010
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2010 - Latvia, 28 May 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c03a81bc.html [accessed 21 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

REPUBLIC OF LATVIA

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 Jekabpils, Daugavpils and Jelgava prisons, and at Cesis 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.

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