Latvia

latvia

Latvia, population 2 million, is located in Eastern Europe.

The Constitution of Latvia (Latvian) addresses the principles of equality and non-discrimination. Article 91 states: "All human beings in Latvia shall be equal before the law and courts. Human rights shall be secured without discrimination of any kind." In addition, the 2002 Labour Law [internal link] provides for equality between genders and prohibits both indirect and direct discrimination.

Although there are no official statistics available, domestic violence is a significant problem in Latvia. Though spousal abuse and marital rape are prohibited under other provisions of the code, most domestic abuse cases are not prosecuted in court. The legal system is generally reluctant to view domestic violence in a serious light. Combined with a general lack of understanding about domestic violence, there is a general failure to recognize and identify the problem. There are no laws specifically prohibiting domestic violence in Latvia's new Criminal Code of 1999. According to the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, the Latvian courts use other provisions of the Criminal Code dealing with homicide (Sections 116 to 124), intentional bodily injury (Sections 125 to 132) or sexual crimes (Sections 159 to 166) to prosecute domestic violence. Marital rape and abuse may be prosecuted under other categories, and depending on the severity of the crime, fines, police supervision, or a maximum of fifteen years' imprisonment may be imposed.

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