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Latvia

Latvia

4. Social Inclusion

4.5 Initiatives promoting social inclusion and raising awareness

On this page
  1. Intercultural awareness
  2. Young people's rights
  3. Key initiatives to safeguard democracy and prevent radicalisation leading to violent extremism

Intercultural awareness

One of the tasks of the Youth Policy Implementation Plan 2016 - 2020 was to promote the popularisation of Diaspora youth knowledge and experience in Latvia by organising diaspora youth meetings (conferences, idea laboratories, forums, etc.).

The Latvian Society Integration Foundation has implemented two state budget programmes focusing on participation and awareness-raising:

  • "Civic Participation Promotion Programme (Diaspora NGO activity support)" aims at preserving Latvia’s diaspora links with the country, to strengthen their national identity, to promote self-organisation of the diaspora, as well as to promote civic participation of the diaspora in the social and political life of Latvia; In 2019 the budget of the programme was 140 080 EUR which allowed to grant 16 projects.  
  • The programme "Support for Diaspora and Latvian children's common camps" aims at strengthening the national identity of the Latvian diaspora by supporting common summer camps and summer schools where children from the diaspora and Latvia participate. In 2017 and 2018, 11 non-governmental organisations each year received financing for organisation of activities for diaspora children. From 2016 to 2018 a non-governmental organisation “Trīs reiz trīs” (3x3) within the framework of a task delegated by the public administration implemented a summer school programme in Latvia and diaspora home countries to strengthen Latvian identity, promote co-operation with diaspora youth and foster the acquisition of Latvian traditions. The programme “3×3" symbolises three generations of Latvia’s diaspora that founded a movement of summer camps in the USA, in 1981. It helped Latvians all over the world to connect, affirm their ethnic identity and preserve their cultural traditions. Between 1981 and 2019, the movement has organised 257 camps with 38 625 participants from all over the world.  

There are other initiatives. To promote co-operation with diaspora youth, in 2017, Strasbourg’s Latvian youth together with the Latvian Youth Council organised the first European Congress of Latvians where co-operation opportunities, youth role in Latvia’s and Europe’s political processes were discussed. The Latvian Youth Council continues co-operation with the European Latvian youth. In 2020 the Society of the European Latvian Youth – European Youth was admitted as a new member of the Latvian Youth Council.

NGO Fund

The Ministry of Culture organises project calls for non-governmental organisations to promote the Latvian civil society initiatives and foster active participation, incl. the participation of minorities. In 2019, the Ministry of the Culture in co-operation with the Society Integration Foundation implemented a programme “NGO Fund”. The main aim of the programme is to promote the sustainable development of civil society in Latvia. In 2019 the project budget was 400 000 EUR, which allowed to grant 48 projects.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a voluntary, non-competitive programme that is available to anyone aged 14–24. In 2006, the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation provided the National Centre for Education with a right to implement the programme in Latvia and it has been implemented ever since. Within the programme young people, with help from Award leaders and/or activity coaches, design their own individual programme, set their own goals in 3 categories – Service, Physical Recreation and Skills. In a group of 4 – 7, young people undertake an Adventurous Journey to achieve a Gold Award. The only people they compete against are themselves, by challenging their own beliefs about what they can achieve.

To give an opportunity to every young person living in Latvia to take part in the programme, National Centre for Education trains Award leaders and sublicenses organisations. Training courses can be attended by people who work at schools, youth centres and non-governmental organisations. Award leaders are responsible for engaging young people in their Award programme, inspiring, guiding, and assisting them from the start to the completion.

During a self-development process, there are at least four people alongside an Award leader who support the young person. They verify that the young person has achieved his/her own individual goals.

In 2019, the programme was implemented in 3 cities of Latvia (Riga, Daugavpils and Rēzekne) and 39 municipalities. The opportunity to develop an individual Award programme was provided to more than 6582 young people in Latvia, and 120 joined the Award programme for the first time.

 

Young people's rights

Organisations, local governments, educational institutions and public authorities organise a variety of discussions and seminars on human rights issues. There are non-governmental organisations, which provide consultations to minorities on issues, including human rights relevant to them.

Shelter Safe House is one of the most popular organisations. Young people can get information on human rights from youth centers as well as educational institutions.

Baltic Human Rights Society is an organisation that has created a website for human rights - www.cilvektiesibugids.lv. During the period 2016 – 2019, the Agency for International Programmes for Youth in cooperation with 6 Erasmus+ National Youth Agencies implemented a project “Youth for Human Rights”.  The aim of the project was to foster social inclusion by making use of the full potential of youth work and human rights education in the context of young people’s non-formal education. To increase the competence of youth worker in human rights education, a series of transnational and national training courses were organised. In 2018 two national training courses on human rights education were organised for youth workers in Latvia. In 2019 networking event was organised on human rights education in the youth field. As a result, more than 50 youth workers in Latvia have increased their capacity to work with human rights education in the youth field.

In 2019 – 2020 specialists from the Ombudsman of Latvia were involved in the educational programme in schools of Latvia “Ready for Life” (Gatavs Dzīvei). It aimed to support teachers and assist students in learning a variety of subjects in order to gain an understanding of the application of school-based knowledge and skills. Within the framework of the programme, 2622 lectures were taught throughout Latvia. Specialists from Ombudsman provided lectures for pupils on children’s rights and general human rights. In 2019, the Ombudsman of Latvia prepared an informative brochure for children and young people “Law on the Rights of Child”.  

Key initiatives to safeguard democracy and prevent radicalisation leading to violent extremism

In many Western countries, there are radicalised Muslim groups (mosques visitors, inmates, radical preacher followers). It is not widespread in Latvia. The Muslim community in Latvia is relatively small and its representatives comply with national laws and adopted values. However, some cases of radicalisation have been identified among Muslims living in Latvia.

The most important measures to combat radicalisation leading to violent extremism are related to raising awareness of institutions’ employees who work with persons at risk of being radicalised (schools, prisons, probation services, law enforcement agencies, social services), as well as the general public.

In Latvia, it is important to promote education and public awareness on radicalisation and violent extremism and to inform society about the need to report suspicious cases to the security authorities. The total number of people at risk of radicalisation is not large enough to implement certain, comprehensive de-radicalisation programs.

The responsible institution for monitoring the radicalisation process and implementing preventive activities is the Latvian State Security Service (2018 - 11:46).