Comments and statements by Foreign Ministry Spokesman
Comment by the Information and Press Department regarding the adoption of amendments to the Education Law by Latvian parliament
On March 23, the Saeima (parliament) of Latvia adopted amendments to the Education Law in the final, third reading. These amendments stipulate a gradual transition to Latvian as the only language of instruction in general secondary education by the 2021/2022 academic year. This “reform” will be launched next year.
The Latvian authorities have not responded and, moreover, disregarded the mass protests and appeals by the Russian-speaking public to the President of Latvia and the leading international human rights organisations, as well as the proposals regarding these amendments submitted by LAShOR, the Latvian association for support of schools with education in the Russian language.
These odious decisions, which are hypocritically explained by concern for the benefit of the people and are allegedly taken at the request of schoolchildren and their parents, actually have no connection whatsoever to respect for the interests of ethnic minorities in Latvia. On the contrary, they are part of the discriminatory policy of the forceful assimilation of Russian-speaking people that has been conducted for the past 25 years.
The legitimate interests and internationally recognised rights of more than one third of Latvia’s population have been trampled underfoot once again under the banners of “integration” and “the strengthening of the state language.”
These amendments, which have been adopted by the nationalist majority of the Latvian parliament, contradict the national authorities’ statements of commitment to the high democratic standards and values, as well as several international laws.
The Latvian authorities must know that it is such unfriendly activities that are complicating bilateral relations and they should also understand that we hold them fully responsible for this.
We hope that the concerned international organisations will provide an objective assessment of these Latvian actions.