LATVIA
Republic of Latvia
Latvia's Republika
Joined United Nations:  17 September 1991
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
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Updated 26 October 2012
CAPITAL
POPULATION
CHIEF OF STATE
SELECTION PROCESS
Riga
2,191,580 (July 2012 est.)
Andris Berzins
President since 8 July 2011
President reelected by Parliament for a four-year term (no term
limits); election last held 2 June 2011

Next scheduled election: 2015
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
SELECTION PROCESS
Valdis Dombrovskis
Prime Minister since 26 February 2009
Prime Minister appointed by the president
DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
ETHNIC GROUPS
Latvian Latvian 59.3%, Russian 27.8%, Belarusian 3.6%, Ukrainian 2.5%, Polish 2.4%, Lithuanian 1.3%, other 3.1%
(2009)
RELIGIONS
Lutheran 19.6%, Orthodox 15.3%, other Christian 1%, other 0.4%, unspecified 63.7% (2006)
GOVERNMENT
STRUCTURE
Parliamentary democracy comprised of 26 counties (singular - radons) and 7 municipalities; Legal system is based on
civil law system
Executive:  President reelected by Parliament for a four-year term (no term limits); election last held 31 May 2007 (next
to be held by May 2011); prime minister appointed by the president
Legislative: Unicameral Parliament or Sarina (100 seats; members are elected by proportional representation from
party lists across five districts through direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 2 June 2011 (next to be held in 2015)
Judicial: Supreme Court (judges' appointments are confirmed by Parliament); Constitutional Court (judges'
appointments are confirmed by Parliament)
LANGUAGES
Latvian (official) 58.2%, Russian 37.5%, Lithuanian and other 4.3% (2000 census)
BRIEF HISTORY
ECONOMIC OVERVIEW
Latvia is a small, open economy with exports contributing significantly to its GDP. Due to its geographical location,
transit services are highly-developed, along with timber and wood-processing, agriculture and food products, and
manufacturing of machinery and electronic devices. Export growth contributed to the economic recovery, however the
bulk of the country's economic activity is in the services sector. Corruption continues to be an impediment to attracting
foreign direct investment and Latvia''s low birth rate and decreasing population are major challenges to its long-term
economic vitality. Latvia''s economy experienced GDP growth of more than 10% per year during 2006-07, but entered
a severe recession in 2008 as a result of an unsustainable current account deficit and large debt exposure amid the
softening world economy. Triggered by the collapse of the second largest bank, GDP plunged 18% in 2009. A rebound
in the export sector contributed to the economy''s first real quarterly GDP growth in over two years (2.9%) in the third
quarter of 2010. The IMF, EU, and other international donors provided substantial financial assistance to Latvia as part
of an agreement to defend the currency''s peg to the euro in exchange for the government''s commitment to stringent
austerity measures. The IMF/EU program successfully concluded in December 2011. The government of Prime
Minister Valdis DOMBROVSKIS reduced the fiscal deficit to 7.7% of GDP in 2010, and to 4% of GDP in 2011. Riga
plans to reduce the budget deficit to less than 3% of GDP in 2012 in order to meet its goal of joining the euro zone in
2014. The majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized, although the state still holds sizable
stakes in a few large enterprises, including 99.8% ownership of the Latvian national airline. Latvia officially joined the
World Trade Organization in February, 1999 and the EU in May 2004.
Source:
CIA World Factbook (select Latvia)
POLITICAL CLIMATE
Kalvītis was the first prime minister in the history of post-soviet independent Latvia whose government was reelected by
an election in 2006. New Era Party, however, weakened, so a coalition reshuffle took place, and a 4-party centre-right
coalition emerged. The government lasted only until 5 December 2007, when Kalvitis resigned due to his continuous and
unsuccessful attempts to dismiss Aleksejs Loskutovs, the head of KNAB, the State Anti-Corruption Agency, after
Loskutov's having investigated shadowy matters of the PM's party.

After negotiations, a "crisis-handling" government was formed, with the participation of the same parties, led by former
PM Ivars Godmanis, a respectable public figure, and member of Latvian Way. The government tried to impose austerity
measures, with moderate success. This was accompanied, though, with a widespread public opposition, which resulted
in two referenda, one on pensions, the other on constitutional amendments, which would have allowed the electorate to
initiate the dissolution of the parliament.

Both of the referenda failed, but the country entered into the worst political crisis since the independence from the Soviet
Union, together with the economic situation severely deteriorating, due to the world financial crisis. The popularity of the
governing parties melted and was below the parliamentary threshold. By the end of 2008, parties had a hard time
agreeing on further budget cuts, (mainly in the social sphere) the planned reorganization of the government, and layoffs.

On 13 January 2009, there were severe riots in Riga, with protesters attacking the building of the parliament. The
President Valdis Zatlers gave an ultimatum to parties, saying that should they not agree on constitutional amendments
about the dissolution of the Saeima, he would dissolve the parliament by the end of March. After background talks and a
failed vote of no confidence, PM Ivars Godmanis chose to resign in late February. On the 26 February, Zatlers
nominated the candidate of New Era Party, MEP Valdis Dombrovskis to the post of prime minister. After talks, on 4
March 2009 five parties confirmed their participation in the coalition: New Era, People's Party, Union of Greens and
Peasants, For Fatherland and Freedom and Civic Union.
Source: Wikipedia: Politics of Latvia
INTERNATIONAL
DISPUTES
Russia demands better Latvian treatment of ethnic Russians in Latvia; as of January 2007, ground demarcation of the
boundary with Belarus was complete and mapped with final ratification documentation in preparation; the Latvian
parliament has not ratified its 1998 maritime boundary treaty with Lithuania, primarily due to concerns over oil
exploration rights; as a member state that forms part of the EU's external border, Latvia has implemented the strict
Schengen border rules with Russia
U.S. State Department
United Nations Human
Rights Council
Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch
Freedom House
REFUGEES AND
INTERNALLY
DISPLACED PERSONS
(IDP)
None reported.
ILLICIT DRUGS
Transshipment and destination point for cocaine, synthetic drugs, opiates, and cannabis from Southwest Asia, Western
Europe, Latin America, and neighboring Balkan countries; despite improved legislation, vulnerable to money laundering
due to nascent enforcement capabilities and comparatively weak regulation of offshore companies and the gaming
industry; CIS organized crime (including counterfeiting, corruption, extortion, stolen cars, and prostitution) accounts for
most laundered proceeds
Latvian Centre for
Human Rights
U. S. STATE
DEPARTMENT
HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
2011 Human Rights Report: Latvia
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
20
11 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
May
25, 2012

The Republic of Latvia is a multiparty parliamentary democracy. Legislative authority is vested in the unicameral parliament
(Saeima). Elections on September 17 for the 100-seat parliament were free and fair. Security forces reported to civilian authorities.

The most significant human rights problem affecting Latvia was corruption, which was perceived to exist at all levels of
government. Conditions at police detention facilities and prisons remained poor, although the government made efforts to improve
them. The problems related to both inadequate facilities and abuse of prisoners by guards. Violence against women, including rape
and domestic violence, remained a persistent problem during the year with incidents underreported to police.

Other human rights problems included police abuse of detainees, lengthy pretrial detention, delays in court proceedings, political
interference in state-owned media, and administrative burdens for public demonstrations and on “nontraditional” religious groups.
Noncitizens, who constituted some 16 percent of the adult population, naturalized at a slow rate and did not participate in the
election process. Other problems reported during the year included an ineffective ombudsman’s office, sex tourism, incidents of
anti-Semitism, trafficking in persons, and societal discrimination against sexual minorities.

The government generally took adequate steps to prosecute officials who committed abuses, although concerns existed regarding
impunity in corruption matters.
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UNITED NATIONS
HUMAN RIGHTS
COUNCIL
13 July 2009
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Twelfth session
Agenda item 3
PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF ALL HUMAN RIGHTS, CIVIL, POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND
CULTURAL RIGHTS, INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Najat M’jid Maalla*
MISSION TO LATVIA

Summary
The Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography conducted a country visit to Latvia from
25 to 31 October 2008 during which she met with government officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations, and
visited centres engaged in protecting the rights of the child.

The purpose of the visit was to explore the incidence of the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography in Latvia as
well as to examine and assess the system of child protection more generally, including the availability of specific measures designed
to protect child victims of sale or sexual exploitation, such as rehabilitation and social reintegration.

The Special Rapporteur observes that significant efforts have been made at the legislative and policy levels in the area of protecting
the rights of the child. The number of reported cases of child prostitution and trafficking of children for sexual purposes is low.
However, all actors with whom the Special Rapporteur met were of the view that child pornography, mainly via the Internet, was
on the rise. The Special Rapporteur is of the opinion that vigilance is required and that efforts should be concentrated on
prevention, including the provision of adequate training and sufficient human and financial resources, to ensure effective measures
to protect children and prevent violations.

An increasing number of families in difficulty are incapable of protecting their children. Difficulties are mainly financial, or alcohol-
or abuse-related. Coupled with the proliferation of tourism, easy accessibility of new methods of information technology by
children, increasing demand in the sex industry and the establishment of increasingly structured trafficking networks, children are
increasingly vulnerable to risk of abuse, violence and exploitation. The Special Rapporteur recalls the importance of a holistic
approach to the fundamental rights of children, paving the way for the implementation of social policies which favour children,
youth and the family.
Click here to read more »
FREEDOM HOUSE
Freedom In The World Report- 2012
Political Rights Score: 2
Civil Liberties Score:
2
Status: Free

Overview
Following a series of high-level government corruption scandals, Latvians voted for the first time to dissolve Parliament in a July
2011 referendum, triggering a snap parliamentary election on September 17. A center-right governing coalition emerged, with
incumbent Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis remaining in office. Andris Berzins defeated incumbent Valdis Zatlers in the June 2
presidential election.


In October 2010 parliamentary elections, Unity—a center-right electoral bloc composed of New Era, Civic Union, and the Society
for Political Change—won 33 seats. Unity subsequently formed an unstable 55-seat coalition with the Union of Greens and Farmers
(ZZS), a party led by powerful businessman and Ventspils mayor Aivars Lembergs and beset by allegations of corruption and
subservience to business interests.

In early 2011, the new governing coalition was strained by a lack of agreement on fiscal measures. By May, corruption had
become a dominant political issue; that month, Parliament blocked the lifting of immunity for member of parliament Ainars Slesers,
thereby preventing the Bureau for the Prevention and Combating of Corruption (KNAB) from searching his home in connection
with a major corruption investigation. President Valdis Zatlers responded by calling for the dissolution of Parliament for the first
time in Latvia’s independent history. A July 23 referendum on the issue passed with 94 percent of the vote.

In the run-up to the snap September 17 elections, which focused largely on corruption issues, Zatlers formed the center-right, pro-
transparency Zatlers Reform Party (ZRP). Two right-wing nationalist parties, For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK and All for
Latvia, officially merged into the National Alliance party. Harmony Center, a party largely backed by ethnic Russians, captured the
greatest share of votes for the first time, winning 31 seats. The newly formed ZRP won 22 seats, Unity secured 20 seats, the
National Alliance won 14 seats, and the ZZS captured 13 seats. Slesers’ Latvia’s First Party-Latvian Way, which was renamed the
Slesers Reform Party, failed to cross the electoral threshold. Despite its first-place finish, Harmony Center was not included in the
new government. Instead, ZRP, Unity, and the National Alliance formed a 56-seat governing coalition, with Dombrovskis returning
as prime minister.

Latvia is an electoral democracy. The constitution provides for a unicameral, 100-seat Parliament (Saeima), whose members are
elected for four-year terms. Parliament elects the president, who serves up to two four-year terms. Incumbent Valdis Zatlers, who
took office in 2007, lost reelection to ZZS candidate Andris Berzins on June 2. The prime minister is nominated by the president
and must be approved by Parliament.

Click here to read more »
AMNESTY
INTERNATIONAL
Suggested recommendations to States considered in the 11th round of Universal Periodic Review, 2-13 May 2011
1 April 2011

Recommendations to the government of Latvia
The death penalty

· To abolish the death penalty for all crimes;
· To ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, aiming at abolition of the death penalty.
Ratification of international human rights instruments
· To sign and ratify and implement under national law the Optional Protocol to the International
Covenant of Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights; opting-in to its inquiry and inter-state
procedures, and the International Convention for the Protection of All
Persons from Enforced
Disappearance, without delay. the openly homophobic Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, did not hold back
with their weapons, despite the world’s media watching."
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HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Appeal to Latvian Leaders to Support Recognition of Same-Sex Partnerships
May 24, 2011

Dear President Zalters,
Dear Members of the Latvian Parliament,
Dear Mr. Jansons,

On behalf of Human Rights Watch, I urge you to approve the proposal, recently submitted to the Latvian Parliament by Mozaika,
the Latvian Alliance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans People and their Friends, to legalize registered partnerships for same-sex
couples.

Human Rights Watch is an independent organization dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. We investigate and expose
human rights violations. We work in more than 90 countries in the world. In Europe we have offices in Brussels, London, Paris,
Berlin, Geneva, Moscow and Amsterdam.

We welcome President Zalters' recognition, as reported by the media on May 18, that "it is a duty of the state to help" same sex
couples, and that the issue should be debated.

Same-sex partners are currently discriminated against in Latvia, as they have no options for their relationships to be recognized
under the law; thus rendering their rights, including property, inheritance, and social security rights, without legal protection.
Although Latvian law does not recognize cohabiting different-sex partners either, such couples at least have the option to marry
unlike same-sex partners.

Introducing a registered partnership law for same-sex partners would not undermine the provision in the Latvian Constitution which
defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Instead it will create a legal framework for same-sex partners who are
currently left without any legal recognition and protection.  Other EU member states, such as Germany, Hungary and Ireland,
define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and both states have adopted registered partnership laws specifically for
same-sex partners.
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OFFICIAL
GOVERNMENT HUMAN
RIGHTS STATEMENT
Statement of H.E. Mr Andris Bērziņš, President of Latvia,at the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly on
September 26,
2012

We are working hard to be part of the solution, and a net-contributor to the global economic stability. Latvia’s own GDP has grown
more than 5.5% last year and this positive trend will continue also this year. We have achieved significant progress, both in terms of
income and structural convergence over the past decade. Quality of governance and economic structures in Latvia are comparable to
those of the OECD countries. Transition experience and decisive reforms, leading to recovery from the recent crisis, are what Latvia
is ready to contribute to the OECD in its expected enlargement.

Overall - Latvia has emerged from the downturn stronger and more competitive with a balanced economy and a beneficial business
environment, thereby well prepared for the next growth cycle. What matters most, is the sustainability of economic health achieved
along with the Eurozone integration process. Latvia believes-in that complications can be overcome and aims to introduce the Euro in
2014.

International peace and security are closely linked with two other pillars of the UN – development and human rights. Latvia welcomes
the establishment of a High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. We are pleased that the EU’s Commissioner for
Development, Mister Andris Piebalgs from Latvia, will contribute to the Panel’s work.

The current framework of the Millennium Development Goals has revitalised global action on development and improved its
effectiveness. Latvia’s EU Presidency in 2015 will evaluate the progress achieved, and will contribute actively to the agreement on
post-2015 framework. That should remain people centred, focused, time bound and simple!

During the last years we witnessed a growing number of people in many countries demanding freedom and justice.

The international community must support these aspirations. We must help to build stable democratic institutions and establish the rule
of law as we believe that respect for human rights, good governance and inclusive economic development will help to prevent future
conflicts from arising.

Latvia participates in capacity-building in several conflict and post-conflict countries. We actively support nations in transition in their
efforts to strengthen the rule of law.

We welcome that those issues are now part of the Secretary’s General Five Year Action Agenda, and we are committed to their
implementation.

Latvia believes that economic and social development will benefit from the introduction of the principles of open government. Civil
society in Latvia actively participates in the decision making process at all stages and levels.
Latvia fully supports the work of a strong and effective UN Human Rights Council. We have put forward our candidacy for the
elections to the Council in 2014.
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TIESIBSARGA BIROJS/
OFFICE OF THE
LATVIAN OMBUDSMAN
TRANSLATED FROM LATVIAN BY GOOGLE TRANSLATE
Ombudsman 17th attend a parliamentary committee meeting social cohesion
2012-10-22

Wednesday, 17. October ombudsman Juris Jansons participated in the parliamentary social cohesion in the meeting. The
Commission took note of the report of the Ombudsman's Office in relation to the use of funds for Roma integration. The
Ombudsman also provided information on the operation of the Ombudsman's Office on issues of social integration, citizenship.

Parliamentary Ombudsman's thesis prepared by the Company's unity commission meeting in the annex.
Click here to read more »
LATVIAN CENTRE FOR
HUMAN RIGHTS
Border Monitoring: Safeguarding the rights to seek asylum in Latvia
Published 17.05.2012

In order to assist the Latvian government in fulfilling its international obligations, the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) concluded an agreement in 2011 with the Latvian State Border Guard. The aim of the agreement is to support
access of asylum-seekers to Latvia and the country’s asylum procedure. It allows UNHCR to monitor activities at the border
crossing points and at the international airport in Riga. On behalf of UNHCR, the non-governmental organization Latvian Centre for
Human Rights (LCHR), will regularly visit border areas, the airport and detention facilities and will have access to statistics and the
case files of asylum-seekers. Specific issues that emerge will be discussed in working group meetings. UNHCR will also provide
support and training to the border guards and other stakeholders.
Click here to read more >>
The proto-Baltic forefathers of the Latvian people have lived on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea since the third
millennium BC. At the beginning of this era the territory known today as Latvia became famous as a trading crossroads.
The famous "route from the Vikings to the Greeks" mentioned in ancient chronicles stretched from Scandinavia through
Latvian territory via the River Daugava to the ancient Rus and Byzantine Empire. The ancient Balts of this time actively
participated in the trading network. Across the European continent, Latvia's coast was known as a place for obtaining
amber. Up to and into the Middle Ages amber was more valuable than gold in many places. Latvian amber was known
in places as far away as Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. In the 10th century AD, the ancient Balts started to
form specific tribal realms. Gradually, four individual Baltic tribal cultures developed: Cameroonians, Lat galleons,
Estonians, Semi galleons. The largest of them was the Lat galleon tribe, which was the most advanced in its socio-
political development. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the Cameroonians maintained a lifestyle of intensive invasions that
included looting and pillaging. On the west coast of the Baltic Sea, they became known as the "Baltic Vikings". But the
Estonians and Somalians, during this time, were known as peace-loving and prosperous farmers. Because of its strategic
geographic location, Latvian territory has always been invaded by other larger nations, and this situation has defined the
fate of Latvia and its people. At the end of the 12th century, Latvia was more often visited by traders from western
Europe who set out on trading journeys along Latvia's longest river, the Daugava, to Russia. At the very end of the 12th
century, German traders arrived and with them came preachers of the Christian faith who attempted to convert the
pagan Baltic and Fono-ugrian tribes to the Christian faith. The Balts did not willingly convert to the new and different
beliefs and practices, and particularly opposed the ritual of christening. News of this reached the Pope in Rome and it
was decided that Crusaders would be sent into Latvia to influence the situation. The Germans founded Riga in 1201, and
gradually it became the largest and most beautiful city in the southern part of the Baltic Sea. With the arrival of the
German Crusaders, the development of separate tribal realms of the ancient Latvians came to an end. In the 13th
century, the Livonian Confederation developed under the Germanic authorities consisting of Latvia and Estonia. In 1282,
RīGa and later Cēsis, Limboži, Jones and Almira were included in the Northern German Trading Organisation, or the
Hanseatic League (Jansa). From this time, Riga became an important point in west-east trading. RīGa, being the centre
of the eastern Baltic region, formed close cultural contacts with Western Europe. The 1490s were a time of great
changes for the inhabitants of Latvia, notable for the reformation and the collapse of the Livonian nation. After the
Livonian War (1558-1583) today's Latvian territory came under Polish-Lithuanian rule. The Lutheran faith was
accepted in Jereme, Zemgale and Vidzeme, but the Roman Catholic faith maintained its dominance in Latgale – it
remains so to this day. In the 17th century, the Duchy of Courland, once a part of Livonia, experienced a notable
economic boom. It established two colonies – an island in the estuary of the Gambia River (in Africa) and Tobago Island
(in the Caribbean Sea). Names from this period still survive today in these places. However after the Polish-Swedish
war (1600-1629) Rīga came under Swedish rule in 1621. It became the largest and most developed Swedish City.
During this time Vidzeme was known as the "Swedish Bread Basket" because it supplied the larger part of the Swedish
kingdom with wheat. The rest of Latvia stayed Polish until the second partition of Poland in 1793, when it became
Russian. Consolidation of the Latvian nation occurred in the 17th century. With the merging of the Couronians,
Latgallians, Selonians, Semgallians and Livonians (Finno-Ugrians, in Latvian called: lībieši or līvi) a culturally unified
nation was developed – the Latvians (in Latvian: latvieši) that spoke a common language called Latvian language (in
Latvian: latviešu valoda). In 1700, the Great Northern War broke out. The course of this war was directly linked with
today's Latvian territory and the territorial claims of the Russian Empire. One of its goals was to secure the famous and
rich town of Riga. In 1710, the Russian Tsar, Peter I, managed to secure Vidzeme. Through Vidzeme to Riga, Russia
obtained a clear passage to Europe. By the end of the 18th century, due to the Polish Partitions, all of Latvia's territory
was under Russian rule. Serfdom was abolished in Courland in 1818 and Vidzeme in 1819. In 1849, a law granted a
legal basis for the creation of peasant-owned farms. Reforms were slower in Latgale where serfdom was only abolished
in 1861. Industry developed quickly and the number of the inhabitants grew. Latvia became one of Russia's most
developed provinces. In the 19th century, the first Latvian National Awakening began among ethnic Latvian intellectuals,
a movement that partly reflected similar nationalist trends elsewhere in Europe. This revival was led by the "Young
Latvians" (in Latvian: jaunlatvieši) from the 1850s to the 1880s. Primarily a literary and cultural movement with significant
political implications, the Young Latvians soon came into severe conflict with the Baltic Germans. With increasing
pauperization in rural areas and growing urbanization, a loose but broad leftist movement called the "New Current" arose
in the late 1880s. Led by Rainis and Pēteris Stučka, editors of the newspaper Dienas Lapa, this movement was soon
influenced by Marxism and led to the creation of the Latvian Social Democratic Labour Party. Latvia in the 20th century
saw an explosion of popular discontent in the 1905 Revolution. The idea of an independent Latvia became a reality at
the beginning of the 1900s. The course of World War I (WWI) activated the idea of independence. WWI directly
involved Latvians and Latvian territory. Latvian riflemen (latviešu strēlnieki) fought on the Russian side during this war,
and earned recognition for their bravery far into Europe. During the Russian civil war (1917-1922), Latvians fought on
both sides with a significant group (known as Latvian red riflemen) supporting the Bolsheviks. In the autumn of 1919 the
red Latvian division participated in a major battle against the "white" anti-bolshevik army headed by the Russian general
Anton Denikin. See also Latvian War of Independence. Latvia was ostensibly included within the German-led United
Baltic Duchy, but this collapsed after the defeat of the German Empire in 1918. The post-war confusion was a suitable
opportunity for the development of an independent nation. Latvia proclaimed independence shortly after the end of
WWI – on November 18, 1918 which is now the Independence Day in Latvia. The first major power to recognise
Latvia's independence was the Russian SFSR (on August 11, 1920), which relinquished authority over the Latvian
nation and claims to Latvian territory once and for all times. However, future actions proved that these had been empty
promises. The international community recognized Latvia's independence on January 26, 1921, and the recognition from
many other countries followed soon. In this year Latvia also became a member of the League of Nations (September
22, 1921). Because of the world economic crisis there was a growing dissatisfaction among the population at the
beginning of the 1930s. The Soviet Union guaranteed its interests in the Baltics with the signing of the Molotov-
Ribbentrop pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany on August 23, 1939. Under threat of invasion,[4] Latvia
(as did Estonia and Lithuania) signed a mutual assistance pact with Soviet Union, providing for the stationing of up to
25,000 troops on Latvian soil. Latvia was incorporated into the Soviet Union on August 5, 1940. During the night from
the 13th to the 14th of June, 1941, thousands of Latvian inhabitants were deported to Siberia. 35,000 people were
deported in the first year of Soviet occupation (131,500 across the Baltics). The Nazi invasion, launched a week later,
cut short immediate plans to deport several hundred thousand more from the Baltics. Nazi troops occupied Riga on July
1, 1941. Immediately after the installment of German authority, a process of eliminating the Jewish and Gypsy population
began, with many killings taking place in Rumbula. In 1944, part of the Latvian territory once more came under Soviet
control. A notable step towards restoration of independence was taken on May 4, 1990. The Latvian SSR Supreme
Council, elected in the first democratic elections since 1930s, adopted a declaration restoring independence that
included a transition period. On the August 21, 1991 parliament voted for an end to the transition period, thus restoring
Latvia's pre-war independence. On September 6, 1991 Latvian independence was once again recognised by the USSR.
Soon after reinstating independence, Latvia became a member of the United Nations and swiftly returned to the flock of
democratic nations in the free world. In 2004 Latvia's most important, according to some interpretations, foreign policy
goals - membership of the European Union and NATO - were fulfilled. On April 2, Latvia became a member of NATO
and on May 1, Latvia together with other two Baltic States became a member of European Union.
Sources: Wikipedia: History of Latvia
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TRAFFICKING IN
PERSONS
None reported.