“Everyone has the right to a nationality”

Latvia: The Perilous State of Nationality Rights

Two decades after Latvia reasserted its independence during the breakup of the former Soviet Union, references to its traumatic past still surface in the media and during political debates. Often the Russian-speaking minority is blamed for the crimes of the Soviet regime. Divisive rhetoric of us and them reflects social schisms based on ethno-centric power-grabbing and vilification of “the other.” In the mid 1990s, the Latvian government created a category of “non-citizens”, which continues to impede hundreds of thousands of people from enjoying their right to a nationality. This status should be abolished, and Russian-speaking Latvians should be provided the same rights as other citizens, including the right to vote.

Source: Refugees International

Date: 31 January 2011