The main focus of this study is direct and indirect discrimination on grounds of ethnicity in Latvia.
Data on occupational proportionality do not suggest the existence of widespread discrimination on the basis of ethnicity in Latvia. Moreover, the welfare of the ethnic minorities (hereinafter, minorities) is comparable to that of the majority, which is not the case in societies where discrimination on grounds of ethnicity is frequently observed. However, there is an obvious lack of ethnic parity in certain institutions and sectors.
The main reason for the lack of ethnic parity are weak involvement of ethnic minorities in the process of the state's renewal and the consequent lack of representation in newly created institutions, persistent poor knowledge of Latvian among minorities, lack of motivation to acquire citizenship, scepticism concerning the work of state institutions as a whole and low salaries of civil servants, patterns of ethnic self-segregation, especially among ethnic Latvians, but also among the minorities, a lack of open hiring procedures, a lack of education on ethnic discrimination and human rights in society, unbalanced and often incongruous information in the mass media and separate communication networks which operate in different languages. This study offers a number of policy recommendations to improve the existing situation.
This report is based on statistical data obtained from surveying Latvia's district and city local governments, ministries, several large state enterprises, institutions of higher learning, schools and nineteen private companies.
Author: Artis Pabriks, the fellow of the Soros Foundation - Latvia Public Policy Fellowship Programme
Financial support: Soros Foundation - Latvia, Constitutional and Legal Policy Institute, and the Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative of the Open Society Institute (Budapest)