The experience of a foreign student in Riga
Rajan came to Riga three months ago and is studying at a university. He practices Sikhism and wears a turban – a headwear often worn by Sikh men. While traveling home from the university by tram, Rajan noticed that three young men were watching and talking about him. When the tram stopped and the young people went to get off – one of them rudely and loudly said something to Rajan in Latvian, the second pushed him with his elbow, and the third, while jumping out of the tram, pulled the turban off Rajan’s head.
What to do in a similar situation?
Practical advice: in such a situation, it is important to get to safety quickly and avoid any provocation. If you are in a group of several people, it is useful to make a photo, video or audio recordings of how the attack, provocation takes place, as well as to identify any witnesses that could confirm the facts of a possible attack.
Hate crimes should be reported to the State Police as soon as possible by calling 110 or contacting the nearest police station. The victim must describe what happened to the police officer in as much detail as possible, paying attention to the special indicators of hate crimes, such as the fact that the attacker has expressed racist, xenophobic, homophobic, etc. notes or slogans, the attacker had special clothing or inscriptions on it, tattoos with various symbols, etc.
Hate speech on the Internet can be reported to the administration of a particular website by using the reporting tools or by writing to mentioned contact email.
Why is it important to report hate crime?
Hate speech and hate crimes are dangerous because they attack the core of a person’s identity, which is made up of characteristics such as age, gender, skin color, nationality, religious beliefs, physical and mental abilities, sexual orientation, etc.
Hate speech and hate crimes are dangerous because they convey a message not only to the person directly targeted, but to all members of a particular group, that they are not welcomed in this society, that they do not deserve certain rights, and that they are less valuable than other members of society.
Hate speech and hate crimes are also dangerous because they can cause long-term psychological damage to victims, affecting not only the victim himself, but the community to which it belongs, as well as the wider society. Verbal abuse divides society and can escalate into regular attacks, and lead to wider disturbances.
The State police
Čiekurkalna 1.līnija 1, k- 4 , Rīga, LV – 1026
Free of charge consultation:
The Latvian Centre for Human Rights
(Latvijas Cilvēktiesību centrs)
Skolas ielā 21, 609C,
T.: (+371) 67039290
Psychological support for the victims of crime is provided by:
the “Skalbes” crisis and counselling center
This informative material is created as part of the project “Towards a more tolerant society: information, education, support and cooperation.” The project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and the Norwegian grant programme “Active Citizens Fund”. Make Room Europe and the Latvian Centre for Human Rights are fully responsible for the content of this material.