Integration monitor

Integration monitor is a daily Latvian press digest on ethnic minority and society integration issues. The Monitor reviews the biggest Latvian dailies: Diena, Latvijas Avize, Neatkariga (in Latvian language), Vesti Segodnya (in Russian language). In specific cases other information sources are used. Latvian Centre for Human Rights is not responsible for information published by the media.

June 30, 2016

Main topics in June
  • Saeima adopted the draft amendments to the Immigration Law
  • 22 relocated Syrian asylum seekers from Turkey and Greece arrived to Latvia in June
  • Media reports about several hate speech cases
  • Number of non-citizens in Latvia has decreased three times
  • Study on possible risks to destabilization of the society published

On 9 June, the Saeima has adopted in the third and the final reading the draft amendments to the Immigration Law. Among other provisions, the amendments foresee a fee in amount of EUR 5,000 for extension of the residence permit for foreign investors. The corresponding requirements foresee that those foreigners who have purchased the real estate until the draft amendments adopted in 2014 ( which significantly raised ithe lower threshold of the real estate price required for eligibility for residence permit on the basis of investment in Latvia). will have to pay the fee only after the second extension of the residence permit. However, those who bought the real estate in Latvia after the adoption of the amendments in 2014 will have to pay the fee during the first time of extension. The new amendments also give rights to the Cabinet of Ministers to evaluate the impact of the temporary residence permits on national security or economic development and to set restrictions for granting the permits to third country nationals in certain cases and for certain period of time, but not longer than 5 years. News agency LETA,,

In June, two groups or 22 persons of relocated Syrian asylum seekers from Turkey and Greece arrived to Latvia within the refugee quota policy. There are 10 minors among the arrived asylum seekers. In total, Latvia has accommodated 47 relocated asylum seekers. Meanwhile, the participants of the seminar for local civil servants and social integration specialists stressed that finding housing is the biggest challenge for refugees in Latvia as many of the owners of the apartments refuse in renting to refugees.  News agency LETA

Media reports about several hate speech cases.On 30 June the Riga City Zemgale District Court started hearing if a criminal proceeding against Latvian entrepreneur Andris Brencis for comments inciting racial hatred published on the Internet. The man wrote intolerant statements about dark-skinned persons and said that he is ready to shoot them. Another court hearing for hateful comments against Muslims is scheduled for 18 October. The person posted comments saying that converted Muslims must be burned. Currently, the State police is investigating another case concerning comments inciting hatred against sexual minorities. Commenting the tragic events in Orlando gay club, a man wrote a comment supporting mass shooting of gay people. The Security police forwarded to the Prosecutor’s office a criminal proceeding against one of the activists of the “Non-citizens Congress” Aleksandrs Gaponenko for incitement to national hatred. According to Gaponenko’, the criminal proceeding against him was initiated for his post saying that the aim of the U.S.A. tanks is to control Russian activists in Latvia. News agency LETA,,

The number of non-citizens in Latvia has decreased three times during past 20 years. According to the Central Statistical Bureau, there were 232,000 non-citizens in Latvian in the beginning of 2016.

According to a study on possible risks to destabilization of the society in Latvia conducted by the Security and Strategic Research Centre of the Latvian National Defense Academy, even thou there are Russian speaking residents in Latvia who support Russia’s position, the possibility of mass protests and wide active support to Russia’s actions is very low. According to the study, Latvia’s Russian speaking residents and non-citizens cannot be considered as homogenous group because there is a diversity of opinions among them. For instance, about half of Latvian Russian speaking residents and non-citizens does not support Russia’s message. In general, both Latvian and Russian speaking residents are highly unsatisfied with political and economic situation in Latvia. In addition, both groups agree that economic and  personal security issues are more important than external threats to state security.  News agency LETA,,




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