Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
Address: Chemin des Fins 2, Case Postale 102, 1211 Geneva 19 - Telephone: 022 799 9100 - Fax: 022 799 9178

Universal Periodic Review Working Group – 11th Session

Universal Periodic Review of Latvia

Statement by Australia

5 May 2011

Australia welcomes the delegation from Latvia and appreciates its constructive engagement in the Universal Periodic Review Process.

Australia welcomes the Latvian Government’s progress in promoting and protecting human rights. We commend Latvia for its actions to combat discrimination and promote tolerance, including on the basis of race, ethnicity and nationality.

We recognise Latvia’s current de-facto moratorium on the use of capital punishment, but is concerned that the death penalty remains at domestic law.

Australia commends Latvia for acceding to core UN human rights treaties and welcome Latvia’s issuance of a standing invitation to UN human rights special procedures mandate holders.

We note that Latvia has significantly facilitated naturalisation, decreasing the number of non-citizens from 29 per cent in 1995 to 14.7 per cent in October 2010. We thank State Secretary Tekmanis for his presentation on this issue today, and we encourage Latvia to take steps to decrease further the number of non-citizens and to improve the social and political rights of non-citizens.

Australia recommends Latvia:

1. Accede to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aimed at abolishing the death penalty, and take the necessary steps to remove the death penalty from Latvia’s justice system;

2. Intensify measures to tackle racism and hate crimes; and

3. Seek to further decrease the number of non-citizens and to improve the social and political rights of non-citizens.