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.

Jan. 21, 2014

  • Neatkariga interviews the Ombudsman Juris Jansons
  • Vesti Segodnya criticizes the Ombudsman
  • Ainars Slesers proposes political parties to sign a manifest on nations’ reconciliation

Neatkariga interviews the Ombudsman Juris Jansons. The Ombudsman believes that idea of bilingual education is good and corresponds with human rights standards but only with one precondition – the meaning of the bilingual education should be ensured in practice. The Ombudsman blames left wing politicians such as Igors Pimenovs and Elizabete Krivcova (both members of the Concord Centre) who criticized his proposal to transfer secondary education in ethnic minority schools into Latvian language, in usage of children interests for their own political rating or a resource to maintain hatred in the society. Mr Jansons also blames Russian language mass media for, in his opinion, biased reflection of his statements. Thus, he declines that he ever said that he wants to close Russian language schools as newspapers reported. The Ombudsman also criticizes assimilation approach as a tool for integration and believes that it is important to consult with representatives of ethnic minorities about what they want.

Vesti Segodnya prints a critical article about the Ombudsman Juris Jansons. The newspaper criticizes the Ombudsman for his proposal to transfer education in minority school into Latvian language and for his arguments why such changes in education system are necessary. According to the newspaper, the Ombudsman says that he cares about competitiveness of Russian speaking students but his conclusion are based on subjective feeling and not on facts.

Latvijas Avize prints an interview with the leader of a new political party “United for Latvia” Ainars Slesers (ex-leader of the Latvia’s First Party, recently returned to politics.) Mr Slesers proposes political parties to sign a manifest on nations’ reconciliation in order to take out of politics radicalism, historical fear of Eastern neighbour country as these are one of the obstacles which hinder state’s development. Regarding the existing bilingual education system, Ainars Slesers states that he does not support transfer of education in all state funded ethnic minority schools into Latvian language only. Mr Slesers believes that it is wrong that there are still students with poor Latvian language proficiency, but instead of blaming children for it or ruin bilingual education, it is necessary to dismiss teachers who are not proficient in Latvian for required level and change school’s administration.



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