News from the Ombudsman’s Office: February 2023
The European Commission has appealed against Latvia, as it has not developed an action plan to prevent the spread of invasive species. Although publicly available information indicates that the responsible authorities are currently working on the issue, however, it is very likely that this time non-compliance with the principle of good governance will result in a harsh penalty for Latvia. The infringement procedure is, by its very nature, bad administration, but it could have been avoided. Already in 2019, the Ombudsman discovered violations of the principle of good governance when examining an application for the restriction of an invasive species.
The government undertakes to provide an opportunity for students of all years to apply for the social scholarship
Last September, the Ombudsman drew the attention of the Cabinet of Ministers to the fact that students from large families who started their studies before 1 September 2021 could not apply for the social scholarship “Studētgods”. The Ombudsman pointed out that this violates the right to equal treatment and called on the Cabinet of Ministers to resolve the situation. At the request of the Ombudsman, the Cabinet of Ministers has undertaken to provide the opportunity to apply for the scholarship for students of all years.
The Ombudsman has received a complaint that a child cannot be admitted to any of the municipal educational institutions due to lack of adequate educational programmes in Valmiera county. Each child has the right to study at the nearest school, regardless of their state of health. Thus, the Ombudsman has asked Valmiera county municipality to implement a special education programme for pupils with mental health disorders in a general educational school and to inform the Ombudsman about the progress made by 3 April.
The Ombudsman invites students of higher education institutions or 1st level professional higher education programmes in law to apply for participation in the human rights moot court by 7 March. The event is organised to promote the interest of future professionals in the field of human rights, as well as to raise public awareness and understanding of human rights in general.
In February, the Ombudsman’s Office launched an information campaign on its Facebook page “Nationality is an opportunity. Roma — one of us” to show that, regardless of nationality, a person has the same needs, at the same time — there are so many circumstances that affect the chances of achieving the expectations. The campaign is designed showing how Roma people in Latvia have managed to achieve their goals, to experience personal growth, to integrate into society, while showing the reasons why some Roma find it very difficult to overcome difficulties, fulfil their ambitions and goals.