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Concluding Observations, CAT/C/LVA/CO/2, 19 February 2008: Latvia

19.While noting a number of measures adopted by the State party, including the recent amendment to article 48 of the Criminal Law to include racial motivation as an aggravating factor for criminal liability, the Committee expresses its concern at report of acts of violence against and discrimination of vulnerable groups, including Roma and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The Committee is concerned at reports that the number of allegedly racially motivated crimes has recently increased and that the number of reported hate crimes is underestimated due to the lack of an effective hate crime recording and monitoring system. Furthermore, while the Committee takes note of the efforts made by the State party in recent years in the process of naturalization, it remains concerned at the continued existence of the status of non-citizens and stateless persons, affecting a large group in Latvian society (art. 16).

The State party should intensify its efforts to combat discrimination against and illtreatment of vulnerable groups, in particular Roma and the LGBT community, including through the strict application of relevant legislation and regulations providing for sanctions. The State party should ensure prompt, impartial and thorough investigations into all such motivated acts and prosecute and punish perpetrators with appropriate penalties which take into account the grave nature of their acts, and ensure adequate training and instructions for law enforcement bodies and sensitization of the judiciary. The State party is encouraged to adopt the draft national programme to facilitate tolerance and to provide detailed information in its next periodic report on the effective measures adopted to prevent and combat such acts. The State party should simplify and facilitate the naturalization process and integration of non-citizens and stateless persons.

Link to full text of the report: Concluding Observations-CAT-Latvia-2008-eng