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: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/minorities.htm

# # # #

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: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/minorities/expert/index.htm

UN Human Rights, country page – Latvia: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/LVIndex.aspx

UN Human Rights, follow us on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unitednationshumanrights

Twitter: http://twitter.com/UNrightswire

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/UNOHCHR

Check the Universal Human Rights Index: http://uhri.ohchr.org/en

*****

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ban Condemns Killing Of Former Lesotho Military Commander

United Nations Secretary-General today condemned the killing of Lt. Gen. Maaparankoe Mahao, former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, on 25 June, near Maseru. More>>

Ban Welcomes US Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

Ban welcomes US Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing right to same-sex marriage Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) pride march. Photo: OHCHR/Joseph Smida More>>

UN Agency Welcomes EU Measures On Refugee Arrivals

Afghan refugees in front of the abandoned hotel Captain Elias on Kos Island, Greece, where hundreds of refugees and migrants are waiting for their registration. Photo: UNHCR/J. Akkash More>>

Increase In Voluntary Blood Donors Can Save Millions Of Lives

Increase in voluntary blood donors can save millions of lives, UN health agency says on World Day More>>

Kenya: Funding Shortage Means Food Cut To 500,000 Refugees

Funding shortage forces UN agency to temporarily cut food aid to 500,000 refugees in Kenya More>>

UN Launches Education Appeal In Fight Against Child Labour

12 June 2015 – The United Nations has announced it is marking the 2015 edition of the World Day Against Child Labour with a call for the international community to invest in quality education as a key step in the fight against child employment ... More>>

Pope Francis & UN Agency On Sustainability Of Agriculture

Pope Francis (centre) with delegates to the 39th FAO Conference during a special audience at the Vatican. Photo: FAO More>>

South Sudan: Call For De-Escalation Of In-Country Conflict

Women and children have suffered devastating attacks in South Sudan’s Unity State. Photo: UNICEF/South Sudan/Sebastian Rich More>>

Burundi: Emergency Support To Refugees Fleeing Burundi Crisis

Burundians fleeing pre-election violence rest on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a gruelling 22-hour boat journey. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled over the past month, arriving in Tanzania, Rwanda and ... More>>

Afghanistan: Commitment To Advancing Women's Rights

While the outgoing senior United Nations rights official in Afghanistan said she expected the human rights advances made “will be sustained, will not be rolled back, and will not be sacrificed,” she lamented the high level of violence against ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news