On behalf of undersigned human rights organizations working at both an international and local level for the promotion and protection of the human rights of people with mental health problems and/or a intellectual disabilities, we would like to draw your attention to a number of issues following the tragedy of Regi Social care home, where 25 residents with mental disabilities died in a fire.
Available statistical data on Roma’s inclusion and achievement within the Latvian education system raises serious concerns. Among the 5,985 Romani people who were fifteen years old or older at the time of the last census in 2000, 24.3 per cent have not completed the fourth grade. For comparison, only 2.1 per cent of the Latvian general population has not completed primary education.
Within the first nine months of 2005, there have been no court cases related to racism, xenophobia and discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, race, religion or language in the area of employment. However, this year court delivered first rulings in two cases of discrimination on the grounds of 1) sexual orientation and 2) multiple grounds – sex and property status based on the anti-discriminatory clauses of the Labour Law. In both cases court ruled that anti-discrimination clauses were violated. The number of complaints of discrimination in employment received by special bodies remains very low: only the Latvian National Human Rights Office has received two complaints on alleged discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity.
LCHR in collaboration with Czech Helsinki Committee implements a project „Combating Hate Crime in Latvia and the Czech Republic: Legislation, Police Practice and the Role of NGOs” addressing the issue of ineffective policing of hate crime in Latvia and the Czech Republic.
The anti-discrimination projects „Latvia – Equal in Diversity I” and „Latvia – Equal in Diversity II” are administered by the Secretariat of Special Assignments Minister for Social Integration and implemented in collaboration with several partner organisations, including the Latvian Centre for Human Rights.