The Latvian society is and has always been multicultural. Its ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity is accepted, respected and cherished.
Since Latvia regained its independence in 1991, integration policy has been a key issue in the country’s domestic affairs. The preceding fifty years of Soviet rule have left a strong impact on Latvia's social, demographic, and economic development. An integral part of restoration of independence of the Republic of Latvia was the restoration of the status and rights of those persons who were recognized as Latvia’s citizens under the 1919 Law on Citizenship, as well as their descendants. A special temporary status was established for former USSR citizens – “former citizens of the USSR without the citizenship of the Republic of Latvia or any other country” (so called non-citizens).
Latvia is dealing successfully with the legacy of the Soviet era within a democratic framework, and with due respect for the rule of law, human rights and international practice. Latvia has ratified all the main human rights instruments, consulted with international human rights experts and followed the recommendations of various international organizations (UN, OSCE, CoE etc.) during the drafting of relevant legislation. This has helped ensure that Latvian legislation and practice fully conform with international standards.
The material contains a brief outline of the main issues of Society Integration highlighting the diverse aspects of the policy: the ethnic structure of Latvia and citizenship issues; the promotion of the cultural identity of national minorities; the Latvian Language Learning Programme and its results; education opportunities for national minorities in Latvia; and the implementation in Latvia of the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
The material contains information on the citizenship policy in Latvia, including statistical data on the citizenship of Latvia’s population, information about the procedures as laid down by the naturalisation policy, and measures taken by the Government to facilitate procedures for obtaining citizenship.
The material contains detailed information about national minority education, including information about reforms carried out in Latvia. Latvia’s unique national minority education system has earned positive responses from international organizations and their officials.
Competent National Authorities
The Ministry of Culture is responsible for the elaboration, implementation and coordination of government policy in the field of society integration. The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for the drawing up and implementation of the immigrant integration policy and the supervision of the European Fund for the Integration of Third-country Nationals.
Other institutions concerned: