- Vesti Segodnya prints an article by the MP Boriss Cilevics about concept of multiculturalism and social cohesion in Europe
- Latvijas Avize interviews organisers of free-of-charge Latvian language courses in Riga
Vesti Segodnya prints an article by the MP Boriss Cilevics about concept of multiculturalism and social cohesion in Europe. According to the author, after terrorist attacks in France and in Norway critics of multiculturalism speak about failure of multiculturalism in countries where it has never existed. The author believes that all contemporary European states face the problem of diversity management and dilemma between cultural diversity as fundamental value and the necessity to find a common level of uniformity or common comprehension for successful management and effectiveness of the state. In author’s opinion, policy of multiculturalism is practised mostly by such countries as Canada, U.S.A or partly by the Great Britain. While, neither France nor Germany have ever practised it. Therefore, it would be more correct to speak about crisis of social cohesion or society integration in these countries. Mentioning an example of the official Latvia’s integration concept (elaborated by the ex-Minister of Culture Sarmite Elerte) which stresses cultural assimilation, the author believes that it contradicts the modern comprehension about the social cohesion which has rather social than cultural character. The social cohesion includes three basic elements: common values, common official language, and guarantees of equality and non-discrimination. And in Europe, the biggest problems are caused by the main precondition of integration – comprehension and acceptance of common, universal values, believes Mr Cilevics.
Latvijas Avize interviews organisers of free-of-charge Latvian language courses funded by the Riga City Council. The enrolment for the courses was announced on Monday, 16 February and almost all the groups got filled up during the very first day, leaving also some persons in the reservation list. The majority of the applicants for the courses are middle age persons and seniors with comparatively low state language proficiency. The fact there are is a low number of young people applying for the courses most likely evidences that the level of Latvian language learning in minority schools in high, believe representatives of the organisations organising the courses.
- Experts interviewed by criticize the initiative to introduce volunteer state language inspectors
Experts interviewed by Vesti Segodnya criticize the initiative of the State Language Centre to introduce volunteer state language inspectors. Social scientist Aigars Freimanis said that the current idea causes only doubts and looks more like snitching. Political scientist Olga Procevska, in her turn, called such idea as a consequence of ethnic nationalism and compared it with practice of soviet era.
- State Language Centre plans to introduce volunteer language inspectors
- Riga City Council announced enrolment for free-of-charge state language courses
The State Language Centre (SLC) plans to introduce volunteer language inspectors. According to the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Justice Janis Iesalnieks, there are only 19 state (Latvian) language inspectors in Latvia and they are not able to solve all the problems regarding state language usage. Mr Iesalnieks believes that volunteer inspectors could become helpers for companies and private persons who do not have sufficient knowledge about state language usage. Such practice could also help to improve the SLC image as an institution which is not repressive but helpful to Latvian residents, says Iesalnieks. It is planned that the volunteer inspectors will go through special training and will be issued certificates. Vesti Segodnya
The Riga City Council announced enrolment for free-of-charge state language courses. The City Council granted EUR 117,510 for implementation of seven projects aimed at organisation of state language courses for 1200 Riga residents. In 2012, 2569 persons graduated free-of-charge state language courses, 1391 in 2013, and 1232 in 2014. Vesti Segodnya
- Saeima criminalised illegal participation of Latvian residents in foreign armed conflicts
The Saeima has adopted draft amendments to the Criminal Law stipulating criminal liability of persons for illegal participation in armed conflicts outside Latvia. According to the amendments, persons who illegally take part in the foreign armed conflicts, sponsor armed conflicts, or recruit, train and send other persons to the armed conflicts could be punished with up to 10 years of imprisonment. As reported, there is information about several persons from Latvia taking part in the military conflict in the Eastern Ukraine on side of separatists and in Ukrainian volunteer military units. But up to this day, there were no legal measures for prosecution of these persons. Latvijas Avize
- 373 foreigners applied for asylum in Latvia during 2014
Vesti Segodnya reports that 373 foreigners applied for asylum in Latvia during 2014. The majority of asylum seekers (171 persons) were Georgian citizens. There were also 75 asylum seekers from Ukraine. During 2014, the State Border Guard detained 139 foreigners who tried to enter Latvia illegally. 98 of detained foreigners were from Vietnam and 12 from Afghanistan. According to a representative of the State Border Guard, these citizens of Vietnam use Latvia as transit country to travel to other European countries.