September 2021 Monthly News Summary
This school year, the specialists of the Ombudsman’s Office continue to participate in the school program “Ready for life”, educating 9th-12th grade pupils on topics that can be useful both in everyday situations and in further professional development.
The annual conference organized by the Internal Security Office took place online on 28 September for subordinated to the Ministry of the Interior and other competent institutions to update the risks of illegal actions of officials related to violence and gaining property.
By 15 December this year, the Ombudsman calls on the Cabinet of Ministers to evaluate and inform what measures can be taken to ensure that people who need the use of peroral special foods are medically justified and, if necessary, are able to receive state support for the purchase of such special foods.
On 15 September, the Ombudsman held an online discussion entitled “The Ombudsman as a mediator in disagreements between politicians and senior officials”. The discussion was attended by Ombudsman Juris Jansons, Director of the State Chancellery Jānis Citskovskis, Director of the Institute of Public Law Arvīds Dravnieks, Professor of Riga Stradiņš University, Dr.hist. Ilga Kreituse and Iveta Kažoka, Director of the think-tank “Providus”.
The regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers stipulate that as of October 11, full-time studies on site will take place only for vaccinated, recovered from Covid-19 or, until October 10, also tested persons, but remotely only if the higher education institution has decided so. In circumstances where the quality of studies is not reduced, such a procedure is justified, and no violation of human rights can be established. The Ombudsman concludes that the restriction included in the regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers is in conformity with the Satversme (the Constitution).
The Ombudsman has reviewed the application regarding the initiated initiative of collecting signatures of residents on the portal ManaBalss in order to immediately eliminate the ambiguous and erotic controversial mural “Tribute to Džemma Skulme” (author Kristiāns Brekte) on the wall of Rīga Secondary School no. 40. In the work of K.Brekte in general, as well as in some of its elements, the Ombudsman does not see any threat to the mental development of children. In the opinion of the Ombudsman, none of the aspects listed in the Law on the Protection of the Rights of the Child has been propagated in this work of art. The children’s incomprehension of the drawing, its individual elements, or the inability to perceive the motivation for its creation and the associative connection of performance is not a sufficient reason to remove this mural on the school wall.
This autumn, for the seventh year in a row, the Ombudsman together with the Association of Disabled People and their Friends “Apeirons” and the Latvian National Library called on people and non-governmental organizations to apply for the competition “Annual Award for Supporting People with Disabilities”. Its aim is to identify examples of good practice, highlight and evaluate individual achievements, as well as to promote the work of Latvian non-governmental organizations.
In order to ensure appropriate access to Covid-19 testing for children with special needs, a different procedure was envisaged and approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on 3 September.
In response to media reports on the situation on the Latvian-Belarusian border, as well as information previously provided by non-governmental organizations on the long-term helplessness of several groups of foreigners, including vulnerable people, the representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office visited the State Border Guard administration in Daugavpils on 2 September. During the visit, the representatives of the office also visited certain sections of the state border and landmarks with Belarus to get acquainted with and assess the situation in nature.