ABSTRACTThe 2001 annual report of the National Human Rights Office has been prepared in accordance with the Law on the National Human Rights Office, which provides that the NHO must submit annual reports on its activities to the Saeima and the Cabinet. In this report, the NHO, on the basis of its work, has analysed current problems and their possible solutions in specific areas of human rights in Latvia in 2001. In the report, the National Human Rights Office also presents its activities aimed at providing information to society and improving legislation in Latvia.
The report is set up as an analysis of specific areas of human rights, based on the experience and observations of the Office. It examines more general political, social and economic rights as well as the specific rights of separate groups.
Within the past year, the NHO received 969 written complaints from residents regarding alleged human rights violations and provided 3939 verbal consultations. The report contains detailed statistics on the content of the complaints received, the results after reviewing them and a comparison with previous years.
In 2001, the National Human Rights Office noted some progress in certain areas of human rights: the slight, but regular, improvement of conditions at prisons and short-term holding locations, and the right of a person to take a claim to the Constitutional Court. Several legislative instruments were passed which are significant from a human rights standpoint: the Labour Law and the Administrative Procedures Law, while the European Social Charter was ratified. However, various negative tendencies in the area of human rights protection are also noted. The protection of social rights is still at an inadequate level in the country as a whole. The National Human Rights Office is especially critical of the fact that despite inflation and other developments in the country, the minimum level of support (at the subsistence level) has not been increased since 1994, and social insurance support has not been increased since 1995. As in previous years, the National Human Rights Office has received many complaints about the shortcomings of the judicial system, including complaints about long court procedures and the long waiting terms in prison before court rulings.
National Human Rights Office 2001 Annual Report