Seminar "Combating Discrimination and Intolerance Based on a Person’s Sexual Orientation"

The Latvian Centre for Human Rights, with the financial support by the Canadian Embassy in Riga, is organizing seminar concerning discrimination and intolerance on ground of sexual orientation, which is first semminar of "Mobilizing Civil Society against Intolerance" Series.

In view of the events of 2005, when various expressions of intolerance became increasingly visible in the public sphere, while the voice for tolerance was insufficiently mobilized in either government or civil society, the Latvian Centre for Human Rights is planning a series of four seminars entitled “Mobilizing Civil Society against Intolerance”. The objective of the seminar series is to mobilize civil society to express opposition to intolerance. The seminars will bring in outside expertise and provide for dialogue, in order to promote better understanding of the specific issues and areas, regarding which intolerance is most frequently expressed and whose discussion in the public sphere has all too frequently been unnecessarily confrontational and disrespectful. Since civil society is still weak in Latvia and cooperation amongst NGOs is often lacking, the seminar series is also designed to promote informal cooperation and exchange amongst NGOs regarding related issues, which is why a broad array of NGOs active in different fields have been approached with the hope that they will participate in this common effort to foster a constructive civil society dialogue.

The seminar series foresees separate seminars, which will allow a deeper focus on issues that relate to each of the most vulnerable groups to prejudice and intolerance presently in Latvia: 1) LGBT, 2) visible minorities (race/ethnicity), 3) religious minorities and 4) migrants (newcomers), asylum seekers and refugees.

In order to promote better understanding of the substance of the issues and related development in other EU countries, as well as to broaden the available sources of expertise in Latvia, each seminar will present a particularly qualified foreign expert. In the seminar on discrimination and intolerance towards persons because of their sexual orientation, the Latvian Centre for Human Rights is particularly pleased to announce the participation of Hans Ytterberg, the Swedish Ombudsperson against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. This Ombud institution was established in 1999 and is one of the four Ombud institutions in Sweden. Hans Ytterberg is a former judge, who is also active as a high-level anti-discrimination expert at the European Union level.  

The seminar will take place on Thursday 23 February from 10.00 – 15.30 in the Riga Graduate School of Law auditorium W42 (Alberta iela 13, entrance from Strelnieku iela).


Seminar Program

9.45–10.00   - Registration

10.00–10.10  - Introduction, Ilze Brands Kehris, director of Latvian Centre for Human Rights

Letter to Seminar’s Participants by Laila Freivalds (PDF, 179.41 KB), Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs

10.10–10.25 - Tolerance and anti-discrimination in Latvia –practical and legal aspects, Ilvija Pūce, staff lawyer of Latvian Centre for Human Rights

10.25–10.40 - The Situation of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) support organizations in Latvia (PPT, 808.00 KB), Linda Freimane, Mozaika

10.40–11.00 - Questions and discussion

11.00–12.00 - Combating homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation (DOC, 4.05 MB)(I part), Hans Ytterberg, Sweden’s Ombudsperson against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation

12.00–13.00 - Lunch

13.00–14.00 - Combating homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, Hans Ytterberg, (cont’d)

14.00–15.30 - Discussions and Conclusion


Published: 2006-02-23