World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Latvia: Rejection of Russian Should Inspire Dialogue

Latvia: “Rejection of Russian as an official language should inspire dialogue on minority rights” – UN expert

GENEVA (22 February 2012) – United Nations Independent Expert on minority issues, Rita Izsák, today encouraged the Government of Latvia to ensure its protection of the rights of the Russian speaking minority and engage in a process of meaningful dialogue following a referendum on 18 February which rejected a proposal to recognize Russian as a second official State language.

“This referendum should not be considered as a victory for one community over another, rather it should mark an opportunity for enhanced dialogue on minority rights in Latvia. I urge the Latvian authorities to make concentrated efforts to bring the different communities together and assist them in overcoming historical prejudices, fears and mistrust,” Ms. Izsák said.

“There is clearly the need for greater discussion and dialogue about how to create unity in diversity and how to accommodate the needs and rights of all groups within society,” stressed the human rights expert.

“It should be clearly understood that Latvia’s referendum result does not mean that Latvia has any less obligation to ensure the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, including to use their minority language,” the Independent Expert said, underscoring that those rights are enshrined in various international treaties and human rights standards, including Article 27 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Declaration on Minorities* and must be respected by all States.

According to the UN expert, such international human rights law requires that States protect the national or ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identity of minorities, and promote conditions for that protection, including through legislative and other measures. Minorities have the right to use their own language in private or in public without discrimination and provisions should also be made to enable minorities to learn and be taught in their mother tongue as well as the official State language.

About 27% of Latvia’s population is of Russian origin and an estimated one-third of the 2.1 million inhabitants consider Russian to be their mother tongue. Some 75 per cent of Latvia’s population voted against an amendment to the Constitution to introduce Russian as a second official language.

(*) Check the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities:

# # # #

Rita Izsák was appointed as Independent Expert on minority issues by the Human Rights Council in June 2011. As Independent Expert, she is independent from any government or organization and serves in her individual capacity. Learn more, log on to:

UN Human Rights, country page – Latvia:

UN Human Rights, follow us on social media:




Check the Universal Human Rights Index:



© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>


Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news