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19 may

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“Latvian authorities are cynically depriving the rights of a quarter of the country’s population” — Elena Sutormina

Elena Sutormina will appeal to the Council of Europe following Latvia’s decision to remove Russian from kindergartens across the country

“Latvian authorities are cynically depriving the rights of a quarter of the country’s population” — Elena Sutormina

Elena Sutormina, Chair of the Civic Chamber Commission on Public Diplomacy, Humanitarian Cooperation and Maintenance of Traditional Values, will appeal to the Council of Europe regarding the Education Act in Latvia stipulating that every municipal kindergarten in Latvia is required to provide instruction in the state language. If nothing is done by the Council, this issue will be raised at the UN level.

“Latvian authorities, with particular cynicism, are systematically depriving the fundamental rights of more than 25 percent of the country’s population who pay taxes, contribute to the economy allowing it to develop, and benefit the state,” Elena Sutormina posted on Facebook.

According to her, this contradicts European and international legislative norms on the rights of national minorities. “In February the Venice Commission visited the country in order to assess the country’s language reform which in essence is a form of discrimination,” she said.

“If European organizations do not respond to this discriminatory policy regarding national minorities properly, we will raise the issue at the UN level,” she added.

Last week, the Latvian ruling coalition during the final reading stage adopted amendments that detail the duty for Latvian municipalities to ensure education programmes are taught in the state language in every municipal pre-education institution, including kindergartens of national minorities, starting from September 1 next year. Earlier, the Cabinet of Ministers laid down the rules on using Latvian as the main language of games for children from the age of five in all preschool institutions in the Baltic state.

This course of action has already caused a wave of discontent amongst Russian-speaking residents in Latvia with a total population of approximately 2 million. Defenders of Russian schools held nationwide parental gatherings, mass rallies and protests as a form of resistance to forced assimilation.

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