Latvia submits report to UN on elimination of discrimination of women

The United Nations Organization has been presented with Latvia’s report on compliance with Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, as reported by Foreign Affairs Ministry.

In accordance with Section 18 of the convention, member states are to submit reports on adoption of measures of the convention.

«The fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh consolidated reports of the Republic of Latvia on compliance with the convention offer information on gender equality mechanism in Latvia, gender equality activities, roles of women in the family and society, measures for combating domestic violence and human trafficking, reduction of prostitution, education regarding gender stereotypes, equal rights on the labour market, accessibility of healthcare information and services, as well as other matters,» the ministry notes.

To provide the UN with comprehensive information regarding compliance with the convention in Latvia and ensure involvement of NGOs, Foreign Affairs Ministry invites NGOs to submit their opinions on information included in reports to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

The report was prepared by the Foreign Affairs Ministry in cooperation with Interior Affairs Ministry, Education and Science Ministry, Culture Ministry, Welfare Ministry, Justice Ministry, Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry and Healthcare Ministry. The ombudsman also provides an opinion in the report. The document was viewed and approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on 16 October. The report is available in Latvian and English language on Latvian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s website.

According to annual studies performed by the UN and other international organizations, gender equality-wise the state of women in Latvia is considered favourable in the context of the world and Europe, as mentioned in the report compiled by Foreign Affairs Ministry.

In relation to combating domestic violence, the report mentions that Latvian State police made 1,042 decisions and Municipal Police made 36 decisions on separating families from violent relatives throughout 31 March 2014 to 31 December 2017. Courts have made 2,339 decisions regarding provision of protection against violence.

Efforts to combat violence against women remain as one of the biggest challenges for gender equality policy, as the report details. Latvia’s situation is described with a high, above average EU indexes, spread of violence against women and high tolerance within society and among specialists. Violence against women in families creates a major burden for healthcare institutions, the report adds.

At least 22 women were killed in 2016 – five women were killed by their spouses and seventeen women were killed by other relatives. At least 44 women suffered severe injuries caused by their spouse or other relatives. 36 parents or adoptive parents suffered different injuries caused by their children. 13 adult children suffered different injuries caused by their parents. In 2015, three men suffered from light injuries caused by their wives and 19 men suffered from similar injuries in 2016. Compared to men, women suffered more serious injuries from their spouses, as concluded in the report.

As for human trafficking, the report mentions that Latvian State Police had uncovered 16 crimes associated with human trafficking and sexual abuse in 2014, 23 such crimes were uncovered in 2015, 37 in 2016 and 81 in 2017.

Combating prostitution, criminal prosecution was commenced for 11 criminal cases in 2014, seven in 2015, four were commenced and one was ceased in 2017. Eight criminal processes were commenced in relation to sexual exploitation and human trafficking in 2017.

Compared to 2013, gender representation in Latvian offices remained unchanged in 2016. According to information from Finance Ministry, a total of 11,272 officials were employed in Latvia as of the end of January 2016: 76% of them were women and 24% were men.

Latvia was first among EU member states with the largest share of women in councils of companies quoted on the stock exchange in 2015. The share of female researchers in Latvia was the highest among EU member states in 2013 – 52%, which is significantly above the average index in the EU – 33.

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