Summary: This report extracts mentions of children's rights issues in the reports of all UN Treaty Bodies and their follow-up procedures. This does not include the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child which are available here: http://www.crin.org/resources/treaties/index.asp
Please note that the language may have been edited in places for the purpose of clarity.
- UN Human Rights Committee
- UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
- UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
- UN Committee against Torture
- UN Committee on Migrant Workers
- UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- UN Committee on Enforced Disappearance
Last reported: 12 and 13 March 2014
Concluding observations adopted: 25 March 2014
Trafficking: The Committee is concerned that trafficking persists in the State party, which also remains a country of origin for trafficking for sexual and labour exploitation, in particular of young women aged 18-25. The Committee is further concerned at insufficient identification and referral mechanisms, as evidenced by the low figures on identified and possible victims of trafficking, and the slow progress in implementing measures against trafficking (arts. 3 and 8). (paragraph 8)
The State party should:
(a) Enhance proper identification and referral mechanisms and expand training to law enforcement officials and other professionals to improve their capacity to assist victims of trafficking;
(b) Promptly, effectively and impartially investigate, prosecute and punish all acts of trafficking;
(c) Reinforce the mechanisms of support, rehabilitation, protection and redress, including the State-funded social rehabilitation services and assistance in reporting incidents of trafficking to the police, and ensure their availability to all victims of trafficking, as relevant;
(d) Carry out awareness-raising campaigns on the criminal nature of trafficking in human beings.
Asylum seekers: The Committee is concerned about reports of the prolonged detention of asylum seekers including children in facilities with poor conditions, and obstacles in accessing asylum procedures at some border-crossings. (paragraph 14)
The State party should:
(d) Ensure that detention of asylum seekers is used only as a measure of last resort, for the shortest possible period, and that such detention is necessary and proportionate in light of the individual circumstances, and avoid detaining minors;
(e) Ensure that living conditions and treatment in all immigration detention centres are in conformity with international standards;
Minorities and education: The Committee is concerned at the prevailing negative effects on minorities of the transition to Latvian as the language of instruction, based on the Education Law, and the gradual decrease of the measures in support of teaching minority languages and cultures in minority schools (arts. 26 and 27). (paragraph 20)
The State party should intensify measures to prevent negative effects on minorities of the transition to Latvian as the language of instruction, in particular to remedy the lack of textbooks in some subjects and the lack of quality of the materials and of training for non-Latvian teachers in the Latvian language. The State party should also take further steps in support of teaching minority languages and cultures in minority schools.
Roma: The Committee is particularly concerned that certain municipalities have continued to exclude Roma children by placing them in separate classes from other children which prevents them from receiving equal quality of education and limits their professional opportunities (arts. 26 and 27). (paragraph 21)
The State party should take immediate steps to eradicate the segregation of Roma children in its education system by ensuring that the placement in schools is carried out on an individual basis, after due assessment of the child’s circumstances and capacities, and is not adversely influenced by the child’s ethnic origin or socially disadvantaged condition.
Last reported: 28 / 29 October 2003
Concluding Observations issued: 6 November 2003
Birth registration: The Committee is concerned at the low level of registration as citizens of children born in Latvia after 21 August 1991, to non-citizen parents (Article 24). (Paragraph 17).
The State party should take all necessary measures to further encourage registration of children as citizens.
Education and minority groups: While noting the explanation provided by the State party for the adoption of the Education Law of 1998, particularly the gradual transition to Latvian as the language of instruction, the Committee remains concerned about the impact of the current timelimit on the move to Latvian as the language of instruction, in particular in secondary schools, on Russian speakers and other minorities. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned about the distinction made in providing state support to private schools based on the language of instruction (Articles 26, 27). (Paragraph 20).
The State party should take all necessary measures to prevent negative effects on minorities of the transition to Latvian as the language of instruction. It should also ensure that if state subsidies are provided to private schools, they are provided in a non-discriminatory manner.
Last reported: 8 / 9 May 2007
Concluding Observations issued: 7 January 2008
Violence: The Committee is concerned about the high incidence of domestic violence and other forms of abuse against women and children in the State party, which often go unreported. In this connection, the Committee is particularly concerned about the absence of specific legislation on domestic violence and of a coherent strategy to support victims of domestic violence. (Paragraph 21).
Street children: The Committee, while welcoming the information that the State party is currently undertaking studies into the situation of children living and/or working on the street, is concerned about the absence of an effective strategy to address the problem. (Paragraph 23).
The Committee recommends that the State party undertake urgent and effective measures to address problems faced by children living and/or working on the street, and to protect them against all forms of exploitation. The Committee requests the State party to provide detailed information as well as up-to-date and comparative statistics on this issue in its next periodic report.
Education: The Committee remains concerned about the budget allocation for education and its impact on the quality of education, particularly with regard to State schools, as well as the level of salaries for teachers. The Committee regrets the lack of clarity in the information provided by the State party regarding the quality of education in the State party, in particular the lack of specific information provided on measures taken to address the situation of children in rural areas. (Paragraph 30).
The Committee urges the State party to allocate the required resources to improve the quality of education offered in schools at all levels, in line with the Committee’s general comment No. 13 (1999) on the right to education. The Committee recommends that the State party review the quality of education offered in State schools, and ensure access to education in all parts of the country.
Roma children: While welcoming the efforts made by the State party to increase educational opportunities for Roma children, including the National Programme on Roma in Latvia (2007-2009), which includes specific measures on education and integration, the Committee remains concerned that a high percentage of Roma children drop out, often at early stages of schooling . (Paragraph 31).
The Committee urges the State party to continue to take effective measures to increase school attendance by Roma children, including, inter alia, through allocation of scholarships and the recruitment of additional school personnel from among the Roma community. The Committee requests the State party to provide, in its next periodic report, information on the results of the National Programme on Roma in Latvia (2007-2009), including measures taken in the field of education.
Violence in schools: The Committee regrets that it did not receive sufficient information on the progress achieved by the State party in ensuring that schools are free from aggression, drugs and alcohol.
The Committee invites the State party to provide information on the measures taken, and the progress achieved, in making schools safe for all children.
Last reported: 13 / 14 August 2003
Concluding Observations:10 December 2003
Education and minority groups: While recognizing the importance of the education system in creating a coherent society, the Committee is concerned that the educational reform that will introduce bilingual education in all minority schools by September 2004 may cause problems for linguistic minorities in the educational system if it is implemented in the proposed time frame. (Paragraph 51).
The Committee encourages the State party to remain attentive and flexible to the needs and abilities of the persons primarily affected and concerned by the reform. The importance of maintaining a close dialogue with the schools and local communities, including both parents and children, is paramount in the process. It further urges the State party to monitor the reform process closely in order to ensure that a high quality of education is maintained by, inter alia, considering an extension of the transition period to bilingual education and preventing any negative effects that might otherwise arise.
While recognizing the possibility of establishing private schools offering, inter alia, education in minority languages, the Committee urges the State party to ensure that the manner in which funding to private schools is provided is in conformity with the Convention.
Concluding Observations issued: 18 August 2004
Gender equality: The Committee is concerned at the lack of a comprehensive gender equality law. The Committee is furthermore concerned that the State party’s apparent hesitation in utilizing temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention may indicate a lack of understanding of the purpose of such measures and the reasons for their application. (Paragraph 51).
The Committee recommends that the State party adopt a comprehensive gender equality law. It furthermore recommends that the State party clearly distinguish between general social policies adopted to improve the situation of women and girls, such as the Programme for the Implementation of Gender Equality, and temporary special measures taken under article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention to accelerate the achievement of a concrete goal for women of de facto equality, in line with general recommendation 25, in various areas of their lives.
Stereotyping: The Committee is concerned about the persistence of patriarchal attitudes and traditional stereotypes regarding the role of men and women in the family and in society at large. It is also concerned that efforts to eradicate negative stereotypes are not comprehensive and ongoing. (Paragraph 53).
The Committee recommends that the State party intensify its efforts, inter alia, by strengthening specific programmes directed at both women and men and at the media, to change stereotypic roles and discriminatory attitudes and perceptions about the roles and responsibilities of women and girls and men and boys in the family and in society.
Trafficking: While recognizing the legislative and other measures, including the adoption of the National Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons of 2002, that have been taken to address the issue of trafficking in women and girls, including the establishment of a special police unit and the strengthening of international cooperation and the promotion of awareness-raising events, the Committee is concerned at the increase in trafficking in women and girls. It regrets that insufficient information is given as to the actual size of the problem. (Paragraph 57).
The Committee recommends the full implementation and funding of a national strategy to combat trafficking in women and girls, which should include the prosecution and punishment of offenders. The Committee also encourages the State party to pursue increased international, regional and bilateral cooperation with other countries of origin, transit and destination for trafficked women and girls. It recommends that the State party address the causes of trafficking and introduce measures aimed at improving the economic situation of women so as to eliminate their vulnerability to traffickers, education initiatives and social support, and rehabilitation and reintegration measures for women and girls who have been victims of trafficking, including special shelters for women victims of trafficking. The Committee further urges the State party to make the issue of trafficking in women and girls a high priority and to include in its next report comprehensive information and data on the issue and on the impact of measures taken.
Exploitation: The Committee is concerned about the lack of sufficient information and data on prostitution in Latvia. Moreover, the Committee is concerned about the involvement of under-age girls in prostitution, and the high demand for under-age prostitutes, as well as the reported insufficient rehabilitation and social integration services available to them. (Paragraph 59).
The Committee calls on the State party to take all appropriate measures to suppress exploitation of prostitution of women, including discouraging the demand for prostitution. The Committee calls upon the State party to ensure that under-age girl prostitutes are offered the support they need to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society. The Committee also urges the development of programmes of action and the adoption of all appropriate measures to create educational and employment opportunities for young girls at risk of entering prostitution, and to combat and eradicate the exploitation of these young girls, including the prosecution of, and strong penalties for, those who exploit them.
Education: The Committee is concerned about gender stereotyping in textbooks and other teaching materials. The Committee also regrets that insufficient data disaggregated by sex have been provided with regard to the choices that both sexes make regarding vocational, scientific and technical training and higher education. (Paragraph 65).
The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to eliminate gender stereotyping and encourage diversification of the educational choices of boys and girls through counselling. The Committee also requests that data disaggregated by sex with regard to educational choices be provided in the next periodic report.
Abortion: While noting a steady decrease in the number of abortions, the Committee is concerned that the abortion rate remains high. (Paragraph 69).
The Committee recommends that further measures be taken to guarantee effective access of women to health-care information and services, particularly regarding sexual and reproductive health, in order to prevent recourse to abortion and protect women from its negative health effects. It further recommends that programmes and policies be adopted to increase the knowledge of and access to contraceptive methods with the understanding that family planning is the responsibility of both partners.
HIV/AIDS: The Committee is concerned at the spread of HIV/AIDS, the increase in the infection rates of women and the absence of a strategic national plan to address the issue of HIV/AIDS and how it affects women. (Paragraph 71).
The Committee urges the State party to take comprehensive measures to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS, to take strong preventive measures and to ensure that women and girls infected with HIV/AIDS are not discriminated against and are given appropriate assistance. The Committee also recommends that sex education, particularly targeting adolescents, be made widely available, with special attention to the prevention and further control of HIV/AIDS.
Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of Latvia
Last reported: 31 October and 1 November 2013
Concluding Observations adopted: 15 November 2013
Domestic violence: While noting amendments introducing aggravating circumstances of violence and threat of violence in article 48 of the Criminal Law, and recalling its previous concluding observations (para.20), the Committee remains concerned that domestic violence is not defined as a specific crime in the Criminal Law and that marital rape is not recognized as a separate criminal offence. It is also concerned at the absence of protection measures such as restraining orders against perpetrators of domestic violence and physical abuse, at the inadequate support from the State party in the running of shelters specifically for abused women and the fact that psycho-social and legal rehabilitation services are provided mainly by non-governmental organizations (arts. 2, 12, 13, 14 and 16).
The State party should:
(a) Adopt comprehensive legislation on violence against women that would establish domestic violence and marital rape as specific offences in the Criminal Law;
(b) Ensure that all reports of domestic violence, including sexual violence and violence against children, are registered by the police, that all such incidences of violence are promptly, impartially and effectively investigated and perpetrators prosecuted and, if found guilty, punished in accordance with the gravity of their acts;
(c) Sensitize and train law enforcement personnel in investigating and prosecuting cases of domestic violence;
(d) Ensure that victims of domestic, including sexual, violence benefit from protection, including restraining orders for the perpetrators, and have access to medical and legal services, including psycho-social counselling, to reparation, including rehabilitation, as well as to safe and adequately funded shelters specifically for abused women, which the State directly runs and supports. (para. 14)
Non-citizen residents: While welcoming the significant reduction in the number of so-called “non-citizen residents” from 29 per cent in 1995 to 13 per cent at present and the amendments to the Citizenship Law introduced in May 2013 allowing for a simplified naturalization procedure, the Committee is concerned at the large number of non-citizens residing permanently in the State party (arts. 2 and 16).
The State party should:
(a) Invite non-citizen residents to avail themselves of the simplified naturalization procedure in the Citizenship Law amended in May 2013 and facilitate the granting of citizenship to and naturalization and integration of non-citizens;
(b) Enhance efforts to raise the awareness of parents whose children are eligible for naturalization and consider granting automatic citizenship at birth, without previous registration by parents, to the children of non-citizen parents who do not acquire any other nationality, with a view to preventing statelessness;
(c) Consider offering language courses free of charge to all non-citizen residents and stateless persons who wish to apply for Latvian citizenship. (para. 16)
Situation of asylum seekers: The Committee is concerned:
(a) That persons seeking asylum may not enjoy all the procedural guarantees, including access to legal counsel and the right to appeal negative decisions;
(b) That the risk of refoulement may exist in cases where appeals of negative decisions under the accelerated asylum procedure may not have a suspensive effect;
(c) That the detention of asylum seekers is not only used as a measure of last resort and that asylum-seekers who are minors may be detained starting at the age of 14 (arts. 3 and 16).
The State party should:
(a) Take all necessary measures to abide by its obligations under article 3 of the Convention and refrain from expelling, returning (refouler) or extraditing a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he/she would be in danger of being subjected to torture;
(b) Ensure that all persons seeking asylum in the State party, including at its border-crossing points, enjoy all procedural guarantees, including access to legal assistance and interpreters and the right of appeal against negative decisions;
(c) Ensure that decisions concerning asylum, including under the accelerated procedure, can be appealed and have a suspensive effect in order to avoid the risk of refoulement;
(d) Use detention of asylum-seekers only as a measure of last resort for as short a period as possible, refrain from detaining minors, and revise policy in order to bring it in line with the UNHCR Guidelines on the Applicable Criteria and Standards relating to the Detention of Asylum-Seekers and Alternatives to Detention. (para. 17)
Last reported: 8 / 9 November 2007
Concluding Observations issued: 19 February 2008
Juvenile justice: The Committee notes a number of initiatives taken by the State party to improve the conditions of detention for persons under the age of 18 including in juvenile correctional facilities, such as the establishment of the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs and the State Children Rights Protection Inspectorate under its auspices to monitor the regime and conditions of juvenile detention, and the adoption of the Basic Policy Guidelines for the Enforcement of Prisons Sentences and Detention of Juveniles for 2007-2013. However, the Committee expresses its concern at reports that juveniles are often held in pre-trial detention for prolonged periods and at the high percentage of juveniles remanded in custody (arts. 2, 11 and 16). (Paragraph 11).
The State party should increase its efforts to bring its legislation and practice as regards the arrest and detention of juvenile offenders fully in line with internationally adopted principles, including by:
a) Ensuring that deprivation of liberty, including pre-trial detention, should be the exception, to be used only as a last resort and for the shortest time possible;
b) Developing and implementing alternatives to deprivation of liberty, including probation, mediation, community service or suspended sentences;
c) Adopting an action plan based on the Basic Policy Guidelines for the Enforcement of Prisons Sentences and Detention of Juveniles for 2007-2013 and ensuring the necessary resources for its effective implementation and follow-up; and
d) Taking further measures to improve the living conditions in detention facilities, elaborating more contemporary and modern programmes aimed at re-socialization, and ensuring training of prison personnel to raise their professional qualification in light of their work with juveniles.
Trafficking: While recognizing the existence of legislative and other measures to address sexual exploitation and trafficking in women and children, including the State Programme for Elimination of Trafficking in Human Beings(2004-2008), the Committee is concerned about persistent reports of cross-border trafficking in women for sexual and other exploitative purposes. The Committee notes the information provided on social rehabilitation for victims of trafficking, including the provision of State-financed social rehabilitation, but regrets the lack of information on training of law enforcement personnel and other relevant groups (arts. 2, 10 and 16). (Paragraph 21).
The State party should continue to take effective measures to prosecute and punish trafficking in persons, including through the strict application of relevant legislation. The State party should conduct nationwide awareness-raising campaigns, provide adequate programmes of assistance, recovery and reintegration for victims of trafficking and conduct training for law enforcement officials, migration officials and border police on the causes, consequences and incidence of trafficking and other forms of exploitation.
Not yet signed or ratified.
Last reported: 3 April 2014
Concluding observations issued: 29 August 2017
Principal areas of concern and recommendations
General principles and obligations (arts. 1-4)
The Committee is concerned: that children with an intellectual or hearing disability whose impairment is not deemed severe enough by the Medical Disability Commission may not be entitled to receive the official disability status and consequent financial and other State support (para. 6, b).
The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that disability determination is based on a human rights model of disability and includes an assessment of the needs, wills and preferences of the individual concerned, with particular attention to children with an intellectual and hearing disability, and which focuses on the elimination of barriers as well as the promotion of the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in society (para. 7, a).
Children with disabilities (art. 7)
The Committee is concerned about: the continued institutionalisation of children with disabilities in long-term care centres due to low provision of family and community-based services for children of all ages and impairments, as well as for their families; the lack of access to mainstream, inclusive, quality education; the alleged high rate of domestic violence perpetrated against children with disabilities; the charity and “cure” approach to children with disabilities that is perpetuated through television fundraising campaigns (para. 10, a, b, c and d).
The Committee recommends that the State party: reinforce support services for children with disabilities and their families in local communities, foster deinstitutionalisation, prevent any new institutionalisation and promote social inclusion and access to mainstream, inclusive, quality education; investigate allegations of domestic violence against children with disabilities and ensure perpetrators are prosecuted under the Criminal law; prevent and sanction any public campaigns promoting a charity and “cure” approach to children with disabilities (para. 11, a, b and c).
Personal mobility (art. 20)
The Committee is concerned about the lack of availability and support for the timely acquisition of quality mobility aids, devices and adaptations in accordance with the individual needs of persons with disabilities, and particularly for women and children with disabilities (para. 30).
The Committee recommends that the State party facilitate the access to quality mobility aids, assistive equipment, devices and technologies for all persons with disabilities, including women and children with disabilities, in accordance with the needs of the individual concerned (para. 31).
Education (art. 24)
The Committee is concerned that the majority of children with disabilities attend special schools or are oriented towards home schooling as a permanent solution owing to the lack of reasonable accommodation and accessibility, including physical accessibility, in the majority of mainstream schools, higher education institutions and lifelong learning frameworks (para. 38).
Recalling its general comment No. 4 (2016) on the right to inclusive education and Sustainable Development Goal 4, especially its targets 4.5 and 4(a), the Committee urges the State party to ensure that no child is refused admission to mainstream schools on the basis of disability, and that it further allocate the resources necessary to guarantee reasonable accommodation to facilitate the accessibility of all students with disabilities to quality, inclusive education, including in pre-school, tertiary and lifelong learning education (para. 39).
Not yet signed or ratified.