Union «For Human Rights in United Latvia» (FHRUL) – Background

    Differences between rights of Latvian citizens and non-citizens – Latvian residents

    I. Prohibition to occupy certain state and public positions, to be employed in certain professions

    a) State Institutions
    Jobs reserved for Latvian citizens only:

    1. State office
    (Senior Public Service)
    Satversme (The Constitution of the Republic of Latvia), as amended of 15.10.98, Art. 101
    2. Civil Servants The State Civil Service Law, adopted on 07.09.00, Art.7
    3. Constitutional Court Judges Constitutional Court Law, adopted on 05.06.96, Art. 4(2)
    4. Judges The Law “On Judicial Power”, adopted on 15.12.1992, Art.51(1)
    5. Public Prosecutors The Law “On the Public Prosecutor’s Office”, adopted on 19.05.94, Art.33 (1)
    6. State Security Officers The Law “On State Security Institutions”, adopted on 05.05.94, Art.18
    7. Diplomatic and Consular Service The Law “On Diplomatic and Consular Service”, adopted on 21.09.95, Art.3 (2)
    8. Sworn surveyors The State Land Service Order “On the procedure for issuing licenses to sworn surveyor practices”, adopted on 21.07.93, p.7
    9. Sworn evaluators The Land service regulations “On special licenses to be obtained to value and fix the statute ore price of real estate according to categories of fixing the statutory price and valuation”, adopted on 27.12.95, Art. 15
    10. Police Service Amendments to the Law “On Police” adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers of the LR on 11.01.94, Rules 19, Art.1.5
    11 Prison Guard The Prison Administration Law, adopted on 31.10.02, Art.10(1)
    12. State Firefighting and Rescue Service The Law on Fire Safety and Firefighting, adopted on 24.10.02, Art. 28.2
    13. Border guard The Law on Border Guard, adopted on 27.11.1997, Art. 7(1)
    14. State Revenue service The Law on State Revenue Service, adopted on 28.10.1993, Art.17 (as amended of 25.10.2001)
    15. Officials of the Labour Inspection State Labour Inspection Law, adopted on 13.12.2001. Art.5
    16 Access to information declared a state secret Law “On State Secrets”, adopted on 17.10.96, Art. 9 (2)
    b) Private Sector
    Jobs reserved for Latvian citizens only:
    17. Sworn Advocates and Advocate’s Assistants The Law “On Advocacy”, adopted on 27.04.93, Art.14(1) and 83
    18. Sworn Notaries and Notary’s Assistants Notary Law , adopted on 01.06.93, Art.9(1), 147(1)
    19. Court bailiffs The Court Bailiffs Law, adopted on 24.10.02, Art. 12(1)
    20. Aircraft captain The Law “On Aviation”, adopted on 05.10.94, Art.35
    21. The managers of a security guard


    The Law “Security Guard Activities”, adopted on 29.10.1998, Art. 6
    22. Only Latvian citizen has the right to be employed in civil positions for army units


    “Military Service Law”, adopted on 30.05.2002, Art.16.


    23. Non-citizen with pharmaceutical degree obtained outside EU can be licensed to practice only after one-year probation period


    “Pharmacy Law”, adopted on 10.04.97, Art. 38(3), as amended on 16.04.2003
    c) Public sector
    Only citizens have the right:
    24. To be elected as jurors The Law “On Judicial Power” adopted on 15.12.1992, Art.56
    25. To serve in the National Guard The Law “On National Guard”, adopted on 06.04.93, Art. 5(1)
    26. To establish political parties The Law “În Public Organizations and Associations”, adopted on 15.12.92, Art. 43
    27. Political parties are allowed to operate if at least 1/2 of the members are citizens The Law “În Public Organizations and Associations”, adopted on 15.12.92, Art. 45 with amendments adopted on 05.04.95
    28. To be elected to the National Radio and Television Council The Radio and Television Law, adopted on 24.08.1995, Art.42
    29. To participate in local elections


    The City Dome and Rural District Councils Election Law, adopted on 13.01.94, Art. 5.
    30. To be elected to Commissions and working groups of municipalities


    The statute of Riga Municipality with amendment, adopted on 22.05.2001 establishes this restriction only for Auditing Commission (para 8). In some other municipalities (for example, in Jelgava) the restriction is expanded to all commissions.


    31. To elect and to be elected to the management of the Council of students of the University of Latvia Statute (Constitution) of the Students’ Self – Government of the University of Latvia, 1998, Art.8 (in force till 2002)
    32. Contacts with foreign citizens, access to cultural monuments and mass media are guaranteed to citizens only in some of the Agreements 5 Agreements, signed from 7.08.92 to 10.05.99 (see List, 1)


    II. Property Rights
    Only citizens have the right to:
    33. Acquire the land into ownership with building on it if the land was not owned by them before 22.07.40 The Law “On the Land Reform in the Cities of LR”, adopted on 20.11.91, Art. 12(1),(2)
    34. A judicial person has the right to acquire the land plot into ownership in the LR cities if more than a half of its statute capital belongs to LR citizens. Should this ratio be changed, the deprivation of the land plot is envisaged, see The Law “On the Land Reform in the Cities of LR”, adopted on 20.11.91, Art. 20
    35. Similar to No.35 limitation for judicial persons when buying land plots in rural areas The Law “On the Land Privatization in Rural Regions”, adopted on 09.07.92, Art. 28
    36. Every citizen of Latvia is allotted 15 certificates more then a non-citizen. A non-citizen born outside Latvia gets another 5 certificates less. One certificate is an equivalent of state property volume, created during 1 year of a person’s life The Law “On Privatization Certificates”, adopted on 16.03.95, Art. 5 (2), (4)
    37. Non-citizens who arrived in Latvia after the retirement age (60 for men, 55 for women) and who had less than 5 years of hired employment receive no privatization certificates The Law “On Privatization Certificates”, adopted on 16.03.95, Art 5 (4)
    38. A Latvian citizen is allotted with certificates if he lived in Latvia before 31.12.1992 and at any time was registered as permanent inhabitant.
    Non-citizen of Latvia is allotted with certificates since the last arrival to Latvia only and having purpose for the permanent living in Latvia.
    The Law “On Privatization Certificates”, adopted on 16.03.95, Art 5 (3)
    39. Only citizens and legal entities are guaranteed the protection of their investments abroad 25 Agreements, adopted within the period 26.08.91-17.06.98 (see List, 2)
    40. Protection of intellectual property abroad is guaranteed by some bilateral Agreements to citizens only


    2 Agreements with 5 states, adopted within the period 21.11.95-07.12.95 (see List, 3)
    III. Private enterprise
    41. Licenses for air transportation abroad are guaranteed, by bilateral agreements to the companies controlled by Latvian citizens. If such control is lost, the license is revoked. 17 Agreements, signed within the period 01.07.92-04.03.99 (see List, 4)
    42. Only companies controlled by Latvian citizens can make fishing at the territory under USA jurisdiction Fishery agreement with USA 08.04.93, art.1
    43. Non-discrimination regarding double taxation is guaranteed to citizens only 6 Agreements, signed within the period 17.11.93-16.10.98 (see List, 5)
    44Establishment of joint-stock companies is not allowed to non-citizens who have resided less than 21 years in Latvia, Similar limitations exist for chairpersons of joint-stock companies, sworn auditors The Law “On Joint-Stock Companies”, adopted on May 18, 1993, Art.10.1 (1), 17.4


    IV. Social Rights
    45. Years of employment outside Latvia are not included into the non-citizens’ employment record when calculating pension rates Law “On State Pensions”, adopted on 02.11.95, transitional regulations, Art. 1
    46. Only citizens have the right to receive different kinds of social aid on the territory of Finland. Years of employment on the territory of Finland are included into the citizens’ employment record when calculating social insurance only. Agreement with Finland on social benefits of 11.05.1999, Art. 4.1., 5.2., 16, etc.
    V. Other Rights and Freedoms
    47. Only citizens have the right to study in certain higher education establishments Statute (Constitution) of the Academy of Police, adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers on 17.06.1998, Art. 69
    Statute (Constitution) of the National Academy of Defense, adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers on 30.06.1998, Art. 22
    48. Latvian citizens may enter 53 foreign countries without visas. Non-citizens may enter, without visas, only 6 of them The latest agreement with South Korea entered into force on 27.06.03, see: http://www.am.gov.lv/en/?id=574
    49. The right on repatriation is enjoyed only by Latvian citizens as well as by persons whose ancestors are Latvians or Livs. Repatriation Law, adopted on 21.10.95, Art. 2
    50. Exemption from the customs duty during transit is provided, in some cases, to citizens only 2 Agreements, signed on 29.11.91 and 07.12.91 (see List, 6)
    51. Only Latvian citizens and (in some cases) legal entities are guaranteed of legal assistance 9 Agreements, signed between 11.11.92 and 21.05.98 (see List, 7)
    52. A citizen can be deprived of citizenship by court decision only. A non-citizen can be deprived of his status by decision of administrative authorities. The Law “În the Status of the Former USSR Citizens Who Are Not Citizens of Latvia or Any Other State”, adopted on 12.04.95, Art. 7
    53. Non-citizens who have received compensations when leaving Latvia (i.e. as compensation for  apartments left behind) from any state institutions or from  abroad, apart from losing their former legal status, also lose the right to enter Latvia for residency The Law “În the Status of the Former USSR Citizens Who Are Not Citizens of Latvia or Any Other State”, adopted on 12.04.95, Art.1 (3) – according to the new Immigration Law, they may enter, if they pay back the compensation
    54. Non-citizens can be acknowledged as politically repressed persons (by the Nazi regime), if they were repressed because of their national identity or who were minors and were confined in prisons and concentration camps in the territory of Latvia at that time. The Law “On Determining the Status of Politically Repressed Persons who are Victims of Communist and Nazi Regimes”, adopted on 12.04.95, Art.4, pp. 1-3
    55. Only Latvian citizens are entitled to form collections of weapons The Law “On the handling of weapons “, adopted on 06.06.2002, Art. 34




    of some bilateral and international Agreements, discriminating against non-citizens


    Latvian National Human Rights Office (LNHRO) has refused to discuss the differences between the rights of citizens and non-citizens stated in international agreements. In the opinion of LNHRO, Latvia is not responsible for the content of an international agreement even after becoming a signatory to it. However, it is clear that Latvia’s approval of an agreement also means Latvia’s approval of individual clauses of the agreement unless stated otherwise. Thus, when approving international agreements Latvia also approved clauses discriminating against its non-citizens.

    We would like to note, however, that every state that has signed at least one of the Agreements mentioned below is partly responsible for the discriminatory conditions against Latvia’s non-citizens. Moreover, Spain (Agreement 16, p. 2), Canada (Agreement of 10.08.94) and Cyprus (Agreement of 26.03.99) have succeeded in altering the Agreements so to include permanent residents of the respective countries (apart from citizens) as subjects of the Agreements.

    1. General agreements (difference No 33)
    2. WithHungaryîf 07.08.92, Art. 8, 14, 17
      2. With Ukraine of 23.05.95, Art. 9, 15, 18
      3. With EU of 12.06.95 (not in force yet), Preamble
      4. With India of 01.09.95, Art. 3.1 (Education in India is allowed to Latvian citizens only)
      5. With Czech Republic of 10.05.99), Preamble
    3. Agreements on the protection of investments (difference No 40)
    4. WithIcelandof 26.08.91, Art. 4
      2. With Finland of 05.03.92, Art. 1 (1) ‘c’
      3. With Sweden of 10.03.92, Art. 1(3)
      4. With Denmark of 30.03.92, Art. 1(3)
      5. With France of 15.05.92, Art. 1.2, 1.3
      6. With Norway of 16.06.92, Art. 1.3
      7. With Taiwan of 17.09.92, Art. 1.3
      8. With Switzerland of 22.12.92, Art. 1.1
      9. With Great Britain of 24.01.94, Art. 1(c)
      10. With Israel of 27.02.94, Art. 1.2
      11. With Netherlands of 14.03.94, Art. 1(b)
      12. With Czech Republic of 25.10.94, Art. 1.2
      13. With Austria of 17.11.94, Art. 1(2)
      14. With Canada of 26.04.95, Art. 1.
      * Canada, unlike Latvia, protects the interests of both its citizens and residents.
      15. With Portugal of 27.09.95, Art. 1.3
      16. With Spain of 26.10.95.
      * The only example, when Latvia equally protects the rights of its citizens and non-citizens. The only exception is Art. 7.1, by which the transfer of salaries and other compensations is guaranteed to citizens only.
      17. With Estonia of 07.02.96, Art. 1.2
      18. With Lithuania of 07.02.96, Art. 1.2
      19. With Belgium and Luxembourg of 27.03.96, Art. 1.1
      20. With Korea of 23.10.96, Art. 1.2
      21. With Italy of 11.07.97, Art. 1.3, 7.1e
      22. With Turkey of 01.10.97, Art. 1.1a, 2.3a, 4.1
      23. With Ukraine of 01.10.97, Art. 1.2a
      24. With Slovakia of 11.06.1998
      25. With Belarus of 17.06.1998, Art.. 2,3,5
    5. Agreements protecting intellectual property (difference No 41)
    6. WithUkraineof 21.11.95, Art. 15.2
      2. With EFTA of 07.12.95, Art. 15.2.
      Besides, Art. 9.1 eliminates discrimination when delivering and selling goods in EFTA countries for citizens only (EFTA – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland).
    7. Air traffic agreements (difference No 42)
    8. WithPolandof 01.07.92, Art. 3.4, 4.1(a)
      2. With Hungary of 09.03.93, Art. 3.2(a), 4.1(a), 5(c)
      3. With the Netherlands of 25.03.93, Art. 4.4, 5(c)
      4. With Israel of 03.11.93, Art. 3.4, 4.1(a)
      5. With Finland of 29.11.93, Art. 4(a)
      6. With Belgium of 12.12.94, Art. 5.1(d)
      7. With Estonia of 20.01.95, Art. 3.5, 4.1(c)
      8. With Ukraine of 23.05.95, Art. 3.4
      9. With Uzbekistan of 06.06.95, Art. 4.4, 5.1(a)
      10. With Turkey of 15.09.95, Art. 3.4, 4.1(a)
      11. With Lithuania of 09.09.96, Art. 3.5, 4.1(c)
      12. With Thailand of 08.11.96, Art. 6.5, 7.1(a).
      13. With India of 12.10.97, Art. 3.4, 4.1
      14. With Kazakhstan of 19.05.1998
      15. With Slovakia of 16.10.1998, Art. 3.2, 5.1.à
      16. With USA (Fisheries Agreement of 08.04.93, Art. 1 (The Agreement mentions only Latvian citizens and ships)
      17. With China of 04.03.1999, Art. 3.2, 4.1.à
    9. Taxation Agreements (difference No 44)

    The Agreements against double taxation (including residents), but citizens are given advantage.

    1. WithPolandof 17.11.93, Art. 3, 25
      2. With China of 07.06.96, Art. 3.1 (h), 26
      3. With Germany of 07.06.96, Art. 3.1(g), 24
      4. With Moldova of 14.05.1998
      5. With USA of 14.05.1998 art. 3, 19
      6. With Uzbekistan of 16.10.1998, ñò.19
    2. Free trade Agreements (difference No 52)
    3. WithUkraineof 29.11.91, Art. 12
      2. With Armenia of 07.12.91, Art. 5
    4. Agreements on legal assistance (difference No 53)

    The Agreements envisage the following main advantages for Latvian citizens:
    a) equal rights with the citizens of the host country regarding legal assistance;
    b) free legal assistance and non-payment of court expenses;
    c) sending documents free of charge and (in many cases) without translation;
    d) consular assistance;
    e) recognition of marriages, sanity, adaptation etc. in accordance with the laws of another party to the Agreement;
    f) non-refoulement to the other country in case of criminal offences.

    1. WithEstoniaand Lithuania of 11.11.92, Art. 1, 16, 17.1, 18, 21, 25.
      * Non-citizens are only mentioned in Art. 17.2. The parties must provide the following information: about convictions, instigation of criminal proceedings, recognition as chronic alcoholics, drug addicts and insane. Among non-citizens, 4% are ethnic Lithuanians (data of Department of Citizenship and Immigration – DCI, 1993)
      2. With Russia of 03.02.93, Art. 1, 11, 16, 17, 19, 22, 26, 62.1
      * Regarding non-citizens, (Art. 76, 77) information about convictions and instigation of criminal proceeding is transferred. Among non-citizens, 64% are ethnic Russians (data of DCI, 1993).
      3. With Russia of 04.03.93, Art. 1
      4. With Moldova of 14.04.93, Art. 1, 16, 17, 18, 61(1)
      5. With Belarus of 21.02.94, Art. 1,11,16,19, 21,25, 60.
      * Regarding non-citizens, (Art. 75, 76) information about convictions and instigation of criminal proceedings is transferred. Among non-citizens, 12% are ethnic Belorussians (data of DCI, 1993).
      6. With Poland of 23.02.94, Art. 1, 11, 18, 20, 22, 27, 49, 68.1.
      * Among non-citizens, 3.5% are ethnic Poles (data of DCI, 1993).
      7. With Ukraine of 23.05.95, Art. 1, 11, 16, 17, 18, 21, 24, 44, 55(1).
      * Among non-citizens, 9% are ethnic Ukrainians (data of DCI, 1993).
      8. With Uzbekistan of 23.05.96, Art. 1, 11, 16,17, 19, 22, 25, 44, 55.
      9. With Kirgizia of 21.05.1998, Art. 1, 17, 19, 41.