October 2021 Monthly News Summary
The Ombudsman considers that the draft law “Amendments to the Covid-19 Infection Control Law” submitted to the Central Election Commission is not considered to be fully drafted in terms of its content, therefore it does not comply with the Constitution of Latvia condition to submit a fully drafted law.
Every day, the Ombudsman receives questions regarding the obligation to vaccinate against the Covid-19 virus, and people ask the Ombudsman to explain to what extent such an obligation is legally justified. It is possible to identify indirect mechanisms to ensure compliance with the vaccination obligation. Since the development of the Covid-19 vaccine, it has been clear that widespread public vaccination is needed to combat the dangerous Covid-19 infectious disease, and many countries around the world have introduced the obligation to vaccinate against Covid-19.
The Ombudsman has called upon local governments to adopt the legislation of the new local governments and to plan the budget, prioritizing the interests of children. The Ombudsman calls on local governments to avoid making decisions that do not improve the situation of children living in their territory but worsen the previous situation.
On 13 October, the Ombudsman held a discussion on “Access to the court for people with disabilities”. The aim of the discussion was to find out what is the current situation in Latvia regarding the accessibility of the court for people with disabilities, including in the conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic, and how the country is promoting the implementation of these rights in practice.
Despite many restrictions on public life over the last year and a half, the “Annual Award for Supporting People with Disabilities” has received a total of more than 50 applications. This year, we specifically called for the highlighting of activities that have helped people with disabilities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
From 27 to 29 September, the European Network of Ombudsmen for Children (ENOC) organized the 25th annual conference “Covid-19 and children’s rights: a lesson for the future” in Athens and a meeting of the General Assembly, which was also attended by representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office.
On Senior Day, October 1, Elīna Ūsiņa, a senior lawyer in the Social, Economic and Cultural Rights Division of the Ombudsman’s Office, participated in the discussion of the campaign “Openness is a value”: “Age as a value in Latvian society”. The discussion was organized by the Society Integration Foundation with the aim to actualize the inclusion of 50+ year olds in public life and working life.
In spring of this year, when the state of emergency was cancelled, the Prevention Division of the Ombudsman’s Office resumed on-site monitoring visits to institutions where persons are or may be deprived of liberty to address risks of ill-treatment and make recommendations to the administration on necessary human rights improvements.