November 2021 Monthly News Summary
The Ombudsman’s Office has received several complaints regarding the Cabinet of Ministers’ Order “On Declaring a State of Emergency”, which stipulates that shopping centres with a total public space of more than 1,500 m2 may provide services only in an epidemiologically safe environment.
Based on an application, the Ombudsman initiated an verification procedure of a possible violation of the right of access to court in connection with the prohibition to receive personal data from the State register of vehicles and their drivers. The applicant wishes to sue the resident who caused damage to his vehicle, but this is not possible without knowing his name and place of residence. The applicant only has the national registration number of this vehicle.
On 16 November, the Ombudsman Juris Jansons and the Legal Adviser of the Civil and Political Rights Division of the Ombudsman’s Office Kristīne Pakārkle participated in the international conference “Personal Data – Future Perspective!” organized by the Data State Inspectorate.
The Ombudsman urgently asks the Ministry of Welfare to inform about the stage of progress on the amendments to the Law on Coping with the Covid-19 Infection and when it is planned to submit amendments to the Cabinet of Ministers. Already in March of this year, the Ombudsman called for the elimination of the unequal treatment of people under international protection: seniors, persons with disabilities, as well as families with minor children who have been granted alternative status, and for the possibility of granting them one-time benefits.
The Ombudsman has prepared a reply letter to the application, which has been received by the Ombudsman’s Office from several hundred Latvian residents. According to the Law on Submissions, if the provision of a response to each submission would require a disproportionate consumption of the institution’s resources, the institution may publish it on the official publisher of the Republic of Latvia.
On November 10, representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office met online with representatives of the Latvian Child Welfare Network to discuss further cooperation in the protection of children’s rights and interests.
On November 10, the representative of the Ombudsman’s Office Anete Ilves participated with a presentation at a webinar of the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions on the right of people with disabilities to education during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Ombudsman invites the responsible officials in all cases, if the violation is directed against the child, to inform the child’s legal representative about his / her right to request recognition of the child as a victim during the administrative violation proceedings.
In the Ombudsman’s opinion, the obligation of the Members of the Parliament (Saeima) to be vaccinated against Covid-19 is both legal and ethical.
An emergency situation allows for greater restrictions on individual freedoms if this protects the essential interests of society and the rights of others.
On November 5, the Ombudsman Juris Jansons participated in the annual conference on current human rights issues in Latvia, organized by the Riga Graduate School of Law, which this year was dedicated to the legal challenges posed by the global Covid-19 pandemic.
On 5 November, Raimonds Koņuševskis, Deputy Head of the Social, Economic and Cultural Rights Division of the Ombudsman’s Office, participated in the annual Labour Law Forum of Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia.
On November 3, the Ombudsman Juris Jansons met online with the Minister of Welfare Gatis Eglītis to discuss topical issues under the Ministry’s supervision, which, in the Ombudsman’s view, require increased attention, including employment and minimum income of people with disabilities, assistance service, deinstitutionalisation process, support service for persons with mental disorders, as well as psycho-emotional wellbeing of children during COVID-19 pandemic.
In September, the Ombudsman conducted a survey of social care institutions requesting information on the coverage of vaccination against Covid-19, on the exercise of the right of access and the observance of epidemiological security measures in the specific period, the planning of isolation measures, as well as on co-operation with the responsible state institutions and available guidelines, recommendations, and other issues.