• #Latvia: Refugees and migrants arbitrarily detained, tortured and forced to ‘voluntarily’ return to their countries

    Latvian authorities have violently pushed back refugees and migrants at the country’s borders with Belarus, subjecting many to grave human rights violations, including secret detention and even torture, according to new findings published in a report by Amnesty International.

    Latvia: Return home or never leave the woods reveals the brutal treatment of migrants and refugees – including children – who have been held arbitrarily in undisclosed sites in the Latvian forest, and unlawfully and violently returned to Belarus. Many faced beatings and electric shocks with tasers, including on their genitals. Some were unlawfully forced to return ‘voluntarily’ to their home countries.

    “Latvia has given refugees and migrants a cruel ultimatum: accept to return ‘voluntarily’ to their country, or remain stranded at the border facing detention, unlawful returns and torture. In some cases, their arbitrary detention at the border may amount to enforced disappearance,” said Eve Geddie, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.

    “The Latvian authorities have left men, women and children to fend for themselves in freezing temperatures, often stranded in forests or held in tents. They have violently pushed them back to Belarus, where they have no chance of seeking protection. These actions have nothing to do with border protection and are brazen violations of international and EU law.”

    On 10 August 2021, Latvia introduced a state of emergency following an increase in numbers of people encouraged to come to the border by Belarus. In contrast with EU and international law and the principle of non-refoulement, the emergency rules suspended the right to seek asylum in four border areas and allowed Latvian authorities to forcibly and summarily return people to Belarus.

    Latvian authorities have repeatedly extended the state of emergency, currently until November 2022, despite the decrease of movements over time, and their own admission that the number of attempted entries were the result of multiple crossings by the same people.

    Dozens of refugees and migrants have been arbitrarily held in tents at the border in unsanitary conditions, A small percentage of people were allowed into Latvia, the vast majority of whom were placed in detention centres and offered limited or no access to asylum processes, legal assistance or independent oversight.

    Amnesty’s report on Latvia follows and supplements similar reports focussing on abuses against refugees and migrants by Belarus, Poland and Lithuania.
    Violent pushbacks, arbitrary detention and possible enforced disappearances

    Under the state of emergency, Latvian border guards, in cooperation with unidentified “commandos”, the army and the police, repeatedly subjected people to summary, unlawful and violent forced returns. In response, Belarusian authorities would then systematically push people back to Latvia.

    Zaki, a man from Iraq who was stranded at the border for around three months, told Amnesty International that he had been pushed back more than 150 times, sometimes eight times in a single day.

    Hassan, another man from Iraq who spent five months at the border, said: “They forced us to be completely naked, sometimes they beat us when naked and then they forced us to cross back to Belarus, sometimes having to cross a river which was very cold. They said they would shoot us if we didn’t cross.”

    In between pushbacks, people were forced to spend prolonged periods stranded at the border or in tents set up by the authorities in isolated areas of the forest. Latvian authorities have so far denied using tents for anything other than providing “humanitarian assistance”, but Amnesty International’s findings show that tents were heavily guarded sites used to arbitrarily hold refugees and migrants and as outposts for illegal returns.

    Those not held in tents sometimes ended up stranded in the open at the border, as winter temperatures at times fell to -20C. Adil, a man from Iraq, who spent several months in the forest since August 2021, told Amnesty International: “We used to sleep in the forest on the snow. We used to light fire to get warm, there were wolves, bears.”

    At the border and in the tents, authorities confiscated people’s mobile phones to prevent any communication with the outside world. Some families searched for people who were last known to be in Latvia but could not be reached by phone. A Latvian NGO reported that between August and November 2021, they were contacted by the relatives of more than 30 refugees and migrants feared to have gone missing.

    Holding migrants and refugees in tents in undisclosed locations or leaving them stranded at the border without access to communication or safe alternatives to being continuously shuttled back and forth between Latvia and Belarus constitutes ‘secret detention’ and could amount to enforced disappearance.
    Forced returns, abuse and torture

    With no effective access to asylum under the state of emergency, Latvian officers coerced some people held at the border into agreeing to return ‘voluntarily’ to their countries of origin as the only way to be taken out of the forest.

    Others were coerced or misled into accepting voluntary returns in detention centres or police stations.

    Hassan, from Iraq, told Amnesty International that he tried to explain that his life would be in danger if he was returned: “The commando responded: ‘You can die here too’”.

    Another Iraqi, Omar, described how an officer hit him from behind and forced him to sign a return paper: “He held my hand and said you should do the signature, and then with force, he made me do the signature.”

    In some cases, the IOM representative for Latvia ignored evidence that people transferred as part of “voluntary” return procedures had not provided their genuine consent to returning.

    “Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, continue to commit grave abuses, under the pretext of being under a ‘hybrid attack’ from Belarus. As winter approaches and movements at the border have resumed, the state of emergency continues to allow Latvian authorities to unlawfully return people to Belarus. Many more could be exposed to violence, arbitrary detention and other abuses, with limited or no independent oversight,” said Eve Geddie.

    “Latvia’s shameful treatment of people arriving at its borders presents a vital test for European institutions, which must take urgent measures to ensure that Latvia ends the state of emergency and restores the right to asylum across the country for everyone seeking safety, irrespective of their origin or how they crossed the border.”

    As pushbacks at the Belarus border with Latvia, Lithuania and Poland re-intensify, the EU Council is prioritizing the adoption of a Regulation on the “instrumentalization” of migrants and asylum seekers. This would allow member states facing situations of “instrumentalization” – as experienced by Latvia – to derogate from their obligations under EU asylum and migration law. The proposal disproportionately impacts the rights of refugees and migrants and risks undermining the uniform application of EU asylum law.

    In June, the Court of Justice of the EU ruled that the Lithuanian law on asylum and migration, which limited people’s ability to make asylum applications under the state of emergency and provided for the automatic detention of asylum seekers, was incompatible with EU law.

    The Court’s analysis and conclusions should apply directly to the situation in Latvia, where, since August 2021, the state of emergency effectively prevents most people entering or attempting to enter “irregularly” from Belarus from accessing asylum.


    #Lettonie #réfugiés #asile #migrations #détention #détention_arbitraire #torture #retour_volontaire (sic) #renvois_forcés #pays_baltes #rapport #Amnesty #Amnesty_international #Biélorussie #forêt #push-backs #refoulements #état_d'urgence #police #gardes-frontière #armée #militarisation_des_frontières #violence #abandon #limbe #encampement #commando #milices

    ping @isskein @reka

    • Asylum seekers who claimed torture and abuse in Latvia are using the courts to fight back

      Some of the people looking to take the Latvian state to court have alleged ill-treatment including beatings, electric shocks and cigarette burns.

      Earlier this year, Sidya Sompare, 20, a Guinean man who had attempted to claim asylum in Latvia, tried to end his life in a Latvian detention centre by drinking shampoo in his toilet stall.

      Having fled Guinea in the wake of threats against his safety due to his participation in anti-government protests, Sompare arrived in Belarus in September 2021 on a quest to find a secure life in Europe, before spending six months in the forested border zone between the country and Latvia.

      There, in addition to being pushed back and forth across the border by authorities in both countries, he alleges he was severely beaten, verbally abused, and given barely any food for days on end by Latvian border guards. Sompare then spent eight months in the closed detention center after he lost his passport in the woods and his asylum efforts were denied.

      When Sompare was found on the floor of his toilet stall after his suicide attempt, detention center authorities promptly took him to a hospital.

      “I’m not sick, I’m alright,” he recalled saying to a doctor during an interview with Euronews. “Just I need to be free.”

      He was finally released from detention in April with the help of Doctors Without Borders, an NGO, and a local Latvian human rights group. But Sompare didn’t stop there — having previously filed two unsuccessful complaints against the Latvian state last year for his detention and the dehumanizing treatment he experienced in the forest along the border, he has taken his fight to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), where his case was formally registered on July 5.

      Beatings and electric shocks

      Sompare is not alone in turning to legal pathways to seek justice for ill-treatment by Latvian border authorities during the migrant crisis along the Belarusian border.

      As allegations of torture and ill-treatment by Latvian authorities have continued to emerge since last year, an increasing number of migrants and refugees who say they have experienced life-altering trauma at the hands of Latvian security forces have been mounting court challenges against them over the last few months, aiming to hold their former tormentors and the Latvian state accountable.

      These cases, which are mostly taking place at the national level with the exception of Sompare’s, represent some of the first legal efforts in Latvia since the start of the border crisis in 2021 that are specifically focused on the harrowing abuse that border authorities have allegedly inflicted on people crossing the border.

      “All the Latvian institutions, even the ombudsperson of Latvia, they deny that Latvia did anything illegal with those migrants,” said Nikita Matyushchenkov, a human rights lawyer at Respect, Protect, Fulfill (RPF), the legal organisation that helped Sompare file his ECHR case. “So these will be very important judgements.”

      In addition to challenging ongoing deportation procedures against him, Sompare’s ECHR case is focused on the ill-treatment he received in Latvian custody in the forests of the border area, which he and RPF claim was illegal. RPF has also filed three cases at the national level in Latvia, two in March and one in June of this year, on behalf of individuals who claim they were abused by Latvian border authorities between August 2021 and March 2022.

      But these may not be the only cases that will be brought to bear against the Latvian state — Matyushchenkov said that RPF has identified up to 100 people who were abused in one way or another by Latvian border guards while in the forest in the border area.

      Some of Matyushchenkov’s clients have told him that they were beaten with electric shock devices — claims that are consistent with findings documented in 2022 in an Amnesty International report on Latvia’s border. In another report published this month, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment stated that it had received several claims of “severe ill-treatment” from people who were detained after crossing into Latvia, again recounting beatings and electric shocks to areas of the body “including the genitals.”

      ’I got sick physically and mentally’

      The ongoing migrant border crisis has, according to European states, been manufactured by Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, whose government has incentivised people from the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia to journey to Belarus before forcing them to cross the borders of Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia illegally as a means of putting pressure on the European Union.

      After establishing a state of emergency along its border in August 2021, Latvia adopted new amendments to its border laws in June of this year that have been denounced by Amnesty International, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, and the UNHCR as legalising internationally-condemned pushbacks. Crucially, these amendments have also enshrined into law the State Border Guard’s broadly defined use of force to prevent illegal entry into Latvia.

      Although Poland and Lithuania have both faced accusations of ill-treatment of migrants as well, Matyushchenkov said that Latvia has been much more extreme in its abuse of people crossing its border.

      In one particularly gruesome case that has previously been reported in international media, Abdulrahman Kiwan, a humanitarian worker who fled Syria following pressure from the government of Bashar al-Assad, has alleged that he not only received electric shocks from Latvian guards, but that they extinguished cigarettes in the places where he had previously been injured.

      Now, Kiwan said he is in touch with a Latvian human rights group about filing his own complaint against the Latvian state — and if it fails, he is also ready to escalate his efforts to the ECHR with the help of legal NGOs.

      “I got sick physically and mentally because of them,” Kiwan, 28, who is now based in Germany, said of the Latvian border authorities. “I want my voice to reach the world and other migrants, that the Latvian Border Guards are liars and are extremely racist.”

      A Latvian human rights group is currently working on preparing a complaint for another refugee based in Germany, Hadi, 26, from Yemen, who told Euronews that Latvian guards beat him, violently struck him in the head, and shocked him with an electric baton. In addition to seeking compensation for crimes committed against him, Hadi, who requested to use an alias due to his ongoing asylum case in Germany, also wants his experience to be a cautionary tale.

      “Legally, I want this complaint [to ensure] that no human being will be harmed after me,” he told Euronews.

      ’The government is scared of me’

      Although Matyushchenkov said the chances of success for migrant cases like these at the ECHR may be significant, the same cannot be said for complaints within the Latvian system.

      “From the way it was investigated at the national level, it seems like the authorities are not willing to investigate such complaints properly,” he said, referencing Sompare’s initial complaint procedure. “In the response to his complaint, they identified a person who allegedly beat the complainant, and they interviewed that person. That security official said he didn’t beat this person, and this was basically the end of the investigation.”

      The Latvian government, including the Latvian State Border Guard, have previously denied any claims of abuse and torture from migrants. As of the writing of this article however, the Latvian State Border Guard, together with the country’s Internal Security Bureau and Prosecution Office which handle legal complaints from people crossing the border, were unavailable for comment.

      Sompare, who is currently living in Latvia’s capital Riga, has no plans to leave Latvia anytime soon. As he fights his still ongoing deportation procedure and the traumatic abuse he suffered in the country, he can feel he is already making an impact.

      “Something is going to change in Latvia,” he said. “Right now for sure the government is scared of me.”

      Despite being severely disappointed in Europe’s capacity to help desperate people like himself, Sompare said he wants to continue his university studies after he wins his case, and hopes to find work at a human rights organization for refugees in Latvia. Until then however, he understands that he is fighting an uphill battle not only to save himself, but also many other asylum seekers who are in the same situation.

      “I want to be an example for the people [to whom] the Latvian government did something illegal,” Sompare said. “The things that I started, I will finish them in Latvia.


      #justice #CEDH #cour_européenne_des_droits_de_l'homme

  • Entretien avec Son Excellence Imants LIEĢIS, ambassadeur de Lettonie en France

    [Lettonie-Francija : Informations, actualités, échanges, coopération, amitiés France- Latvija] https://www.lettonie-francija.fr/entretien-imants-liegis-ambassadeur-Lettonie-en-France-1436

    Son Excellence Imants LIEĢIS , ambassadeur de Lettonie en France nous a accordé un entretien où il raconte quelques moments mémorables vécus en 2002 au Congrès de l’Otan à Prague, sous la présidence de Madame Vaira Vike-Freiberga, actuelle Présidente du Club de Madrid.

    Il dévoile une partie du programme avec les dates à retenir pour les événements du Centenaire de la Lettonie en France :

    Imants LIEĢIS nous parle des événements du Centenaire organisés par l’ Ambassade de Lettonie en France en 2018. Nous vous offrons la primeur de ces informations pour 2018.

    #ambassade, #Lettonie, #France, #Latvia, #Vaira_Vike-Freiberga, #Otan, #Europe, #Imants_LIEĢIS, #Voie_balte, #payx_Baltes, #Centenaire_Lettonie, #LV100,

  • Développer l’Entreprise Sociale "Ami 3" Lettonie -

    Soutenez le projet humanitaire Franco-Letton « AMIS 3 » et son atelier fruits des bois à MĒTRIENA LV4865, MADONAS Novads, en Lettonie.

    « AMIS 3 » Entreprise Sociale entre Lettonie et Francija.

    En Lettonie, les populations des zones rurales excentrées vivent souvent très modestement, sans couverture sociale. Ce projet est destiné à l’une de ces régions de la Lettonie profonde, près de Madona, là où s’arrête le bitume et même plus loin ...

    Lors d’un séjour dans le Sud-Ouest de la France en 2013, Solvita FIBIGA découvre avec sa sensibilité les Communautés Emmaüs Initiées par l’Abbé PIERRE. Ces centres de réinsertion collectent, trient, réparent et revendent pour des sommes modiques des accessoires de la vie courante : meubles, vêtements, ménager, livres, bibelots...etc.

    Accompagnée par Jean AMBLARD, qui pratique la langue lettone, Gascon chef de projets à l’orphelinat de Grasi en Lettonie, Solvita réagit en s’informant sur le fonctionnement des Centres Emmaüs et si éventuellement une telle organisation pourrait être transposée dans son petit village à Mētriena, voire dans la Communauté de Communes de Madona, au cœur de la Lettonie profonde.

    https://www.lettonie-francija.fr/-aider-amis-3-association-humanitaire-de-droit-letton- ?

    Développer l’Entreprise Sociale "Ami 3" et son atelier fruits des bois d *e Lettonie, un projet associatif humanitaire Franco-Letton à Mētriena en Lettonie

    Les multiples baies sauvages de canneberges, de myrtilles, les framboises & fraises des bois, les champignons, les sèves du printemps sont abondantes dans les forêts lettones. Après la cueillette elles permettent de faire des conserves, des confitures et des jus de fruits de très grande qualité.

    Une des activités d’économie sociale en projet avec l’association "Ami 3".

    Comment faire vivre économiquement "Ami3", association à caractère social et humanitaire ?
    Produire en Lettonie des confitures et des jus de fruits de très grande qualité

    L’idée fait son chemin car dans cette région de Lettonie, restée très nature avec ses forêts immenses et ses tourbières (Réserve Nationale de TEIČI) les baies sauvages de canneberges, de myrtilles, les framboises & fraises des bois, les champignons, les sèves du printemps sont abondantes et permettent de faire des conserves, des confitures et des jus de fruits de très grande qualité.

    Il y a aussi beaucoup de pommiers car le climat leur est très favorable. Ils n’ont pas besoin
    d’être traités et donnent de très bons fruits à valoriser.

    Un petit atelier de production de confitures et jus de fruits bios aux normes européennes permettrait de générer des revenus complémentaires.

    La vente locale sera modeste, sans doute un peu mieux à Riga la capitale mais à voir dans les réseaux associatifs, les Comités d’entreprises, internet, le bouche à oreille ... tout est possible !

    Le matériel de cet atelier est évalué à environ 15000€ au prix du neuf, et pourrait être trouvé d’occasion en France, en Belgique, en Suisse. L’idéal serait des dons et le sponsoring.

    *L’association a besoin de votre aide pour prendre son envol à Mētriena.

    Plus tard viendra l’autonomie. Le bénévolat est à son balbutiement dans les pays de l’ex-URSS, il est fragile et les salaires si bas que donner ne serait-ce qu’un peu de son temps, est extrêmement généreux et peu courant. Il faut le soutenir, l’encourager !

    Même dans le cas positif où AMIS3 recevrait des soutiens de la part de Communautés ou d’associations françaises, même si la revente générait quelques revenus, dans un deuxième temps il est logique d’envisager d’autres activités annexes pour aider les plus démunis et subvenir au fonctionnement.

    Fonctionnement envisagé dès décembre 2016

    La municipalité accepte de louer un local, l’association l’aménagera pour mettre les dons à disposition : meubles, vêtements et divers accessoires de la vie courante. Mais dès le départ, il s’avère déjà un peu trop petit ...

    Sur les conseils d’organisations humanitaires expérimentées, tous les articles à disposition seront cédés moyennant une faible contrepartie financière, adaptée à la précarité de la situation économique de ceux à qui s’adresse cette action. Cela pour que chacun se sente dignement participant d’avoir « acheté » et non d’être secouru.

    Rappelons que le salaire minimum en Lettonie pour un mois de travail à temps complet est passé en 2015 de 360€ à 370 euros en 2016 pour 40h de travail hebdomadaire.

    En attendant les moyens de créer l’emploi d’une personne responsable, les membres du conseil d’administration qui pourront se libérer de temps à autre essayeront d’assurer une présence pour une ouverture au moins le week-end : Pas facile...

    Dans la ville, de nombreuses personnes sont sans emploi et mènent une vie précaire. L’alcoolisme est très présent... Les activités générées par l’association pourront saisonnièrement les aider en leur proposant un travail rémunéré.

    Amis lecteur vous avez probablement des idées, des contacts, des solutions à nous proposer.
    Soutenez l’association "AMIS 3", laissez votre message à Jean Amblard en cliquant ici

    #Ess #lettonie #entreprise_sociale #atelier #fruits_des_bois #don #Ami3 #projet #humanitaire

    • Contrat à impact social : rentabiliser la misère On connait en France

      Le « contrat à impact social », nouvel outil de financement pour les associations, arrive en France. L’État ne veut plus assurer ses missions sociales ? Pas de soucis, les banques et les multinationales sont déjà en embuscade pour couvrir les besoins des miséreux.ses. Une main sur le cœur, l’autre dans la caisse, la finance s’attaque au social et recycle la misère en pognon.

      Au-delà de faire du profit sur le dos des plus vulnérables, ce type de contrat modifie radicalement l’essence même du travail social. . . .

      On se demande pourquoi la Lettonie essaye de nous vendre ça, chez elle.
      Budgets européens alloués sans doutes ?

      Quand on rentre à Emmaüs, le business de la misère, on en sort pas !

    • Merci de l’information.

      La Lettonie, la Bulgarie et la Roumanie font partie des pays dans l’Europe, qui ont les plus fort taux de pauvreté.

      Depuis 2008, la Lettonie a subit fortement la crise mondiale et se redresse progressivement. Elle est aujourd’hui parmi les pays les moins endettés d’ Europe, ce n’est pas le cas de la Grèce, de l’Espagne qui défraient souvent les chroniques médiatiques.

      Pourtant en Lettonie, si les lettons veulent avoir chaud sous leurs températures hivernales ( -10° à -25° selon), il leur a d’abord fallu faire provisions de bois de chauffage, en prévoyant les mois à venir.

      C’est ce mélange de prévisions, d’efficacité participative naturelle, et d’habitudes à lutter ensemble contre l’adversité en chantant, qui font beaucoup de différences avec les français, malgré les pauvretés.

      Hier était le solstice d’hiver, très fêté en Baltique, car il annonce le retour de l’allongement de l’ensoleillement des journées, favorise les enchantements lettons.

      En cadeau, La pureté des voix lettones pour un « Triste Petit Festival d’Hiver » transmis avec grand plaisir musical :
      Concert Vocal du groupe féminin « Latvian Voices » visible par ce lien http://bit.ly/2hV8MQY

      #lettonie #latvianvoices #pauvreté #

    • Pour faire suite et être précis en abordant cette information concernant Emmaus, sans s’arrêter au titre « écrit pour faire sensation » je vous invite à lire les réponses du mouvement Emmaus ici :

      Dans un communiqué, la communauté Emmaüs se dit révoltée et scandalisée par l’émission "Spécial Investigation : Emmaüs le business de la misère ?" diffusée sur Canal+ ce lundi 15 juin.

      Indiquant que « depuis 58 ans, la communauté Emmaüs de Marseille Pointe Rouge agit avec ses 56 compagnes et compagnons et ses 50 bénévoles :
      – Du mardi au vendredi à 7h30, 52 fois par an, en haut de la Canebière, 100 personnes de la rue commencent leur journée avec un café chaud, un croissant et une banane ; à 11h une soupe et une orange leur sont servies. Un grand brunch solidaire avec nappe blanche et serveurs stylés est organisé à Noël.
      – 7 jours sur 7 plus de cent donateurs quotidiens ignorent les marchands sur internet et nous confient les biens dont ils n’ont plus l’usage. Ces biens sont transformés en solidarité.
      – Une fois par an un container chargé à ras bord part à Emmaüs Bénin. 5 000 euros prélevés sur les ventes aident à travers Emmaüs International à mener à bien l’adduction d’eau aux 60 000 habitants du lac Nokoué
      – Des containers remplis de matériel médical partent régulièrement pour la Tunisie à travers une association partenaire et amie. Une presse à huile a offert un revenu à une douzaine de femmes tunisiennes.
      – Deux soirs de suite "Noirs et Bancs" la troupe de théâtre de nos compagnes, compagnons et amis a dit sa révolte devant une centaine de spectateurs enthousiastes et émus.
      – Du mardi au samedi, le matin, les gens de la rue viennent chercher gratuitement vêtements et objets de première nécessité.
      – Des familles sans ressources adressées par les assistantes sociales des quartiers viennent s’équiper gratuitement.
      Cela dure depuis 58 ans, pour cet anniversaire encore un public nombreux a manifesté sa solidarité à la communauté Emmaüs de Pointe Rouge. C’est cette réalité quotidienne à côté de laquelle est passée Gabrielle Dréan, l’auteure du 52 minutes "Spécial Investigation" diffusé le lundi 15 juin sur Canal+.

      La communauté Emmaüs de Pointe Rouge invite la presse et le public à venir constater sur place, qu’au 110 traverse Parangon 13008 Marseille, 56 compagnes et compagnons, 50 bénévoles et une dizaine de salariés proposent une alternative vivante et épanouie au monde désespérant qu’elle nous propose. »

      La suite des réponses avec les commentaires :http://destimed.fr/+Reaction-de-la-communaute-Emmaus-apres-la-diffusion-sur-Canal-ce-15-juin-d

      Et voici le reportage vidéo complet de Gabrielle Dréan :


  • Latvijas Gāze pays the fine applied by Competition Council | Baltic News Network - News from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia

    In accordance with the ruling of the Supreme Court, which approved the decision made by the Competition Council in relation to the breach of regulations and damage caused to its clients, Latvijas Gāze has transferred the payment of the fine worth EUR 2.2 million applied to the company.

    In 2013, CC made the decision to fine Latvijas Gāze for its abuse of monopoly status in its refusal to sign new gas supply contracts with new clients who did not pay back debts owed to LG by previous clients. Over the course of the investigation CC received complaints about such cases from 500 clients.

    #Latvia #Latvijas_gāze #Competition_council

  • Ombudsman: poverty in decline in Latvia | Baltic News Network - News from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia

    «In 2013, Latvia had the lowest proportion of funding allocated for social insurance benefits in the European Union – 14% of GDP. This had very little impact on poverty reduction in the country,» – the European Commission mentioned about Latvia in its report.

    The report mentions that Latvia’s contribution to social exclusion prevention measures (including guaranteed minimal income index) is only 0.1% of GDP, whereas the average index across Europe is 0.5%. Contribution to housing benefits is just as small: 0.1% of GDP (0.6% in Europe). Social assistance funding is completely decentralized and could increase regional inequality even more. In addition, the country’s social assistance system does not provide sufficient support to people wishing to return to the labour market.

    #Poverty #Latvia #Economics

  • Harmony still most popular political party in Latvia, Unity’s rating up | News | LETA

    The Unity party managed to increase its popularity rating in September, raising it above the 5-percent electoral threshold while the Harmony remained the most popular political party in Latvia, according to the results of the public opinion poll carried out by SKDS pollster as reported by the Panorama evening news program of the public Latvian Television on Monday.
    If the general elections were held in September, Harmony would get 19.6 percent of votes, up from 18 percent in August.

    #Latvia #Municipal_Elections_2017 #Harmony #Unity

  • Unity: FM threatens to ruin single compensation system principles | Baltic News Network - News from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia

    Finance Ministry’s prepared amendments to the Law on Remuneration of Officials and Employees of State and Self-government Authorities that provide for refusal of keeping compensation records for state and municipal capital association officials will negatively influence the principles of the single compensation system, as noted by Unity.

    According to the annotation to FM’s proposed amendments, 584 institutions regularly submit information to the record system. FM intends to relieve 233 institutions – state and municipal capital associations – of the duty to submit information about compensations paid to officials and employees.

    #FM #Law_on_Remuneration #Latvia #Bureaucracy

  • Harmony, Greens/Farmers remain most popular political parties in Latvia in September | News | LETA

    RIGA, Sept 23 (LETA) - The leading parties saw their popularity ratings drop in September compared to August but Harmony and the Union of Greens and Farmers remained the most popular political parties in Latvia, despite Greens/Farmers suffering the steepest drop in popularity, according to the latest public opinion poll by Latvijas Fakti pollster.
    If the general elections were held in September, Harmony would get 17.9 percent of votes, Greens/Farmers 17.3 percent, the National Alliance 7.3 percent and Unity 5 percent.

    #Latvia #Party_ratings #Harmony #September_ratings #Elections_2017

  • Ten million euros to be allocated to assist with elder people employment | Baltic News Network - News from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia

    Central Finance and Contracting Agency has sent a proposal to the State Employment Agency to apply for European Social Fund financing to realize measures to maintain and improve elder people employment.

    Employment assistance measures are intended for people aged 50 and older who are subjected to the risk of unemployment. In addition, assistance will be provided to people whose education level does not exceed secondary or vocational level or if a person’s return to normal work hours is impeded by a family member’s health and the need to provide care to them. Other conditions for provision of assistance include part-time employment and low income. SEA will provide carrier advice, skill development events and mentor programme, as well as workplace adaptation and other helpful measures, CFLA informs.

    #Welfare #Latvia #CFCA #SEA

  • Economic Diary of Latvia. | Baltic News Network - News from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia

    This week, members of the Saeima unexpectedly declined amendments that provided for the merging of finance and customs police of the State Revenue Service. After hearing out deputies, Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola decided not to give up.
    This week was rich with all kinds of paradoxes and surprises. For example, it became known that investments of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Latvia have reached approximately EUR 600 million.
    Opposite to claims that Latvia is irrationally using its forests, it turns out that the total forested area in Latvia has doubled since the pre-war period. It continues to increase year after year, according to information from Green House association.

    #Economics #Latvia #Ministry_of_finances #Forests #Nature #Investments

  • Government passes amendments banning cash transactions in excess of EUR 7,200
    | News | LETA

    RIGA, Sept 20 (LETA) - Natural persons who are not engaged in carrying on a business will not be allowed to engage in cash transactions the value of which exceeds EUR 7,200, according to amendments to the Law on Taxes and Duties that the government approved today.
    The Finance Ministry’s representatives will have a meeting with representatives of the Accountants Association later this week to specify the amount of fines applicable to individuals who violate the new provision in the law.

    #Latvia #Shadow_economics #Economics

  • KNAB launches inspection in relation to Rimsevics’ declaration
    | Baltic News Network - News from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia

    Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has begun an inspection in relation to information stated in the declaration submitted by the governor of the Bank of Latvia Ilmars Rimsevics.

    According to KNAB press-representative Laura Dusa, the bureau plans to assess the declaration for 2015 submitted by Ilmars Rimsevics to check if the document contains information that would breach regulations of the Law on Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Activities of Public Officials.

    Last week, at a meeting of Saeima’s Corruption Prevention Sub-committee, deputy Karlis Serzants said Ilmars Rimsevics’ declaration could serve as an appropriate example to allow KNAB to perform inspections of officials’ declarations. In his declaration, Rimsevics stated income from ‘renting out’ his apartment.

    #Latvia #KNAB #Rimsevics #Bank_of_Latvia

  • Benefits for big and incomplete families will increase in 2017

    Benefits for big and incomplete families will increase in 2017 | Baltic News Network - News from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia

    Starting from 2017, benefits for families with many children and incomplete families will start receiving bigger state benefits to help reduce the risk of poverty and offer them fairer social benefits.

    This is provided by amendments approved for the Law on Social Services and Social Assistance, the State Pension Law and Law on Maternity and Sickness Insurance. More changes to regulations are planned to be approved by the Saeima in relation to state budget legal drafts, as reported by Welfare Ministry.

    #Welfare_state #Latvia #benefits #Socioeconomics

  • Russia plans to halt exports of oil products through Baltic ports

    Latvian Latvijas Dzelzceļš is preparing for the moment when Russian Transneft will halt transit of oil products through Baltic ports until 2018, LDz manager Edvins Berzins said in an interview to Rīta Panorāma programme on Tuesday, 13 September.

    The news about Transneft’s plans to halt transit of oil products was announced on Monday, 12 September, according to information from lsm.lv.

    Berzins said this announcement was not surprising. Russia has been investing funds into the development of its own ports for years. With that, it is only logical that the country would want to return its investments.

    «We experience declines year after year,» – Berzins said. Estimates suggest Latvia may lose nearly ten million containers annually.


    #LDz #Latvia #Export #Russia #oil_export

  • Latvian and Estonian politicians added to TOP 70 most influential politicians in EP

    MEP Krisjanis Karins is the only Latvian politician who has been added to the study performed by non-government organization VoteWatch Europe about the most influential members of the European Parliament. Karins is put on the 11th place.

    Analysis of MEPs based on different parameters, including their overall activity and interviews, shows that the most influential politicians are EP President Martin Schulz, Chairman of the European People’s Party Manfred Weber and the head of the Socialists and Democrats Group Gianni Pittella.

    #Latvia #EP #Karins #MEP #politics

  • Latvia urged to ratify the Istanbul Convention as soon as possible

    Latvia has signed the Istanbul Convention. However, it is necessary to ratify the convention as soon as possible, said EU Council’s Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks at a press-conference on Friday, 9 September.

    Muiznieks said discussions of this topic have had to deal with false and misleading information.

    «This convention is not against family values. Violence against women is violence aimed against family values. Latvia’s legislation is already largely in line with the convention’s requirements,» – said the commissioner, adding that the level of comprehension on such matters is very high among police officers.

    Muiznieks also admitted that the ratification of the convention will help with receiving opinions from experts on the side, review Latvia’s policy and exact improvements to it.

    «Most importantly, it would be a good political signal: that violence against women is unacceptable,» – added Muiznieks.


    #Istanbul_convention #Latvia #Human_rights #Nils_Muiznieks #EUCouncil

  • Disk thrower Apinis wins gold at paralympic games in Rio
    Latvian Paralympian Aigars Apinis triumphed at Paralympic games in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, 8 September, by winning gold in the disk-throwing discipline. This is his fourth gold medal in his career.

    Apinis, who started in F52 and F51 group, threw the disk for 20.83 m result, which is his best result for this season.

    His first attempt resulted in 19.90 m. The second result was an improvement over the first by 12 cm. In his third attempt, Apinis managed a 20.83 m throw, which was the best result among the seven contestants.

    #Latvia #Paralympics2016 #Apinis #diskthrower

  • 0.7% deflation registered in August; consumer prices unchanged y-o-y

    he latest data of the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) shows that the the average level of consumer prices did not change in August of this year when compared to the same month of last year.
    Prices of goods decreased by 1.2 percent, while prices of services grew by three percent during this time.
    Compared to August 2015, in August 2016 the greatest pressure on the average level of consumer prices was applied by the increase in prices in recreation and culture, prices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco, health care, prices in communication group, and prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as by the drop in prices of goods and services related to transport, goods and services related to housing, and clothing and footwear.
    #Latvia #Deflation #economics

  • Saeima calls for temporary halt on resettlement of refugees
    Before the next year’s budget is approved, it is necessary to put a temporary halt on resettlement of refugees. Now is right time to review and correct our work. Otherwise we will only waste money on mentors, Latvian language lessons, stories about Latvia and benefits,» – emphasizes Chairman of Citizenship, Migration and Social Cohesion Committee Ilmars Latkovskis.

    On Wednesday, 7 September, the committee will gather for the first meeting in the parliament’s autumn session to discuss the situation with resettlement of refugees, as BNN was told by Saeima’s press-service.

    #Policy #Latvia #Budget2017 #Saeima #Asylum_seekers

  • Almost all asylum seekers relocated to Latvia have left the country; state institutions have no information, continue to pay benefits

    Of 23 asylum seekers that have been relocated to Latvia as part of the European Union’s refugee relocation program, 21 persons are already in Germany, as Latvian Television has found out.
    For instance, a Syrian mother of three, who at the end of July said she was planning to settle in Latvia and had already learned some Latvian, told the television that she had left Latvia as the mentor provided by the state was unable to help her family solve various practical day-to-day problems. Eventually she decided to ask money for apartment rent from her brother who lives in Germany, but at the end of August, the family packed and left for Germany.

    #Asylum_in_Latvia #EU_plan #Syria_crisis #Relocation #Latvia

  • Latvia’s ruling coalition agrees on more moderate pay rise for State Revenue Service head
    RIGA, Aug 29 (LETA) - The ruling coalition parties today agreed to increase the salary to the head of the State Revenue Service but the pay rise will be somewhat lower than the initial proposal.
    It is planned that the basic monthly salary of the head of the State Revenue Service would be EUR 4,030 with an option to get a bonus at 60 percent of the monthly salary for good performance, Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola (Greens/Farmers) told LETA.
    Previously it was proposed to increase the maximum monthly remuneration to the head of the State Revenue Service to EUR 8,100, of which slightly more than EUR 5,000 would be gross basic salary with a possibility to get bonuses to 60 percent of the salary.

    #Latvia #Latvija #Kolegova #SRS #VID #salaries

  • four-language school opens in Pinki
    The opening of Exupéry International School in Pinki was carried out with festivities. It is the biggest investment project in Latvia’s history since the restoration of independence – a private school that cost EUR 11 million. It offers education in four languages using modern technologies and innovative education methods.

    Children studying in this school will have twelve study rooms, four language study rooms, two computer rooms, sports and festive hall, as well as an arts and music room. Young artists and sculptors will be offered art classes. Chemists, physicists and biologists will be able to work in a special laboratory outfitted with modern equipment. The school also offers after-school activities: music classes, judo classes, dancing classes, theatre classes, gymnastics classes, chess classes, painting classes and others, says the founded of Exupéry International School Jelena Bujanova.

    #Education #Latvia #Latvija #Jurmala #elite_school

  • airBaltic achieves fastest growth in passenger numbers in Baltics
    Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic: «We thank our customers for choosing to fly with airBaltic during the busiest travel season. As a result, we have achieved the fastest growth across all of the Baltic markets, and now outpace the largest carriers operating in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.»

    As previously informed, airBaltic has improved its offering in Tallinn and Vilnius by opening additional direct services. As part of its Horizon 2021 plan, airBaltic will operate 11 direct routes out of Tallinn and Vilnius in the next five years, in combination with convenient transfers via Riga.

    #Latvia #airBaltic #Economics #Martins_Gauss