Ombudsman is critical about effectiveness of the UN Committee

Ombudsman of Latvia is critical about the effectiveness of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and indignant about reports of certain non-governmental organisations about situation in Latvia.

On 8-9 August in Geneva United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination meet for its 96th session to consider reports on Latvia. Already at the end of 2017 State has submitted its report on implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in Latvia, in July this year two non-governmental organisations – International Federation for Human Rights Latvian Human Rights Committee and Latvian Centre for Human Rights – have submitted their alternative reports.

Ombudsman expressed his indignation about the fact that non-governmental organizations give inaccurate and at some points false information to the international institutions. At this point Ombudsman questions if such distorted information is given deliberately to discredit the Republic of Latvia.

Ombudsman: “Such information and outline of the situation as certain NGOs offer is actually mendacious. At the time when the State represented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and also the Ombudsman for years keep explaining to international stakeholders certain notions and fact, for example, that non-citizens of Latvia are not stateless, some groups of people turn it all around and give misleading information. As Ombudsman I am disappointed that the UN Committee trust such organizations and do not verify the truthfulness of their statements.”

 Ombudsman gives recommendations to state party on various subjects including equality and non-discrimination. Before the work session of the Committee Ombudsman has sent his opinion to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that in the according period there have not been systemic violation of the particular issues. As regards Roma issues Ombudsman has been cooperating with the International Romani Union (IRU) since 2011 when a Collaboration Memorandum was signed. In 2017 Ombudsman received from IRU a Certificate of Recognition for invaluable contribution to the development of Roma culture and history. This kind of collaboration and active work of organizations is the most effective tool in protecting and promoting rights of certain groups of people.

Ombudsman has sent a letter to the UN Committee stating that UN institutions lack unified methodology when it comes to reporting and participation of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and non-governmental institutions (NGOs). Currently this methodology is rather chaotic and the criteria of the mechanism for submitting information and expressing opinion is unclear. Ombudsman invites the United Nations to do what it takes in order to make participation of NHRIs and NGOs in UN procedures clear, available, effective and result-oriented.