OSCE High Commissioner and Council of Europe’s Secretary General welcome ratification of the Minority Convention

On 2 June 2005, Latvia’s Minister or Foreign Affairs, Artis Pabriks, met with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Rolf Ekeus, who had arrived in Latvia on a two-day working visit.

During the conversation, Mr Ekeus welcomed last week’s decision of the Saeima to ratify the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. He noted with satisfaction that the definition of minorities adopted by Latvia was liberal and spoke approvingly of the norms incorporated in the declaration, which will also allow non-citizens to enjoy the rights stipulated by the Convention in accordance with the Latvian law.

The OSCE High Commissioner urged to proceed with the active societal integration process. He was appreciative of the work carried out by the government in the area of naturalisation, which was exemplified by the large number of applications for naturalisation, and invited the government to remain attentive to this issue.

On 2 June 2005, in his address to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, welcomed the ratification of the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by the Saeima and noted that Latvia had fulfilled its commitments. The Secretary General voiced his appreciation of the definition of minorities approved within the framework of the Convention allowing for the use of the rights stipulated in it also by non-citizens, and mentioned the two declarations attached to the Convention explaining how Latvia intends to implement the Convention.

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