PACE to resume human rights monitoring in Latvia?

The PACE may resume human rights monitoring in Latvia within this year, opined the State Duma (lower chamber of Russian parliament) committee head Konstantin Kosachev. At the upcoming PACE session he will lead the Russian delegation.

Over the last two months, the PACE has demonstrated an "obvious change" with regard to Latvia, he stressed.

"We no longer have to prove that the human rights are being violated in Latvia", Kosachev said.

He also noted that two draft resolutions are floating in the assembly. Prepared by the Russian delegation, they concern the education reform and the municipal elections in Latvia.

Kosachev stressed that the majority of European parliamentarians are in for the draft resolutions.

Particularly, the municipal-elections resolution notes that about 22 percent, or 450,000, of Latvia's residents could not have taken part in them because they lacked the "citizen status".

Meanwhile, any citizen of a EU country permanently residing in Latvia for over six months is entitled to partake in local elections, the draft resolution says.

As regards the education reform, the Russian delegation notes that Latvia's key obligations adopted in entering the European Council have not been met.

Specifically, Latvia is not in full measure fulfilling the law on the protection of ethnic and language minorities.

In addition, following the education reform, when all the secondary schools have turned to the Lettish language of tuition, schoolchildren have registered a fall in academic progress. "At least over 44 percent cannot master subjects taught in the state language", reads the document.

It also notes that, on information from independent sources, "the Latvian law-enforcement agencies sometimes practiced intimidation and repressions against the most active participants in the protest movement".

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