Law "On National Human Rights Office"



Article 1. Objective of activity and legal status of the National Human Rights Office

1. The National Human Rights Office (hereinafter - the Office) is an independent state institution that promotes observance of human and citizen fundamental rights and fundamental freedoms (hereinafter - human rights) in the Republic of Latvia according to the Constitution and international agreements binding for Latvia related to human rights, as well as to the constitutional Law "The Rights and Obligations of a Citizen and a Person". The Office shall implement this objective executing the tasks stipulated in Article 2 of this Law.

2. The Office is a legal entity with its own budget. It shall be independent in decision making and task implementation.


Article 2. Tasks of the Office


Tasks of the Office shall be as follows:

1) to provide the society with a balanced information on human rights, as well as to promote approval and understanding of these rights;

2) to provide the society with a versatile information on human rights, guarantees and obligations determined in the normative acts of Latvia;

3) to review any complaint on violation of human rights;

4) to react immediately to the facts of human rights violation, as well as, upon its own initiative, to detect conditions that might cause such violations;

5) to identify the situation for observance of human rights in the state, especially in the areas affecting unprotected society group;

6) to develop the programs to promote observance of human rights, as well as to coordinate implementation of the human rights programs developed by other state and local government institutions and work groups;

7) to carry out the analyses of the legal norms of Latvia to ascertain their compliance with the international agreements related to human rights binding to Latvia;

8) to submit a written report to the Saeima and the Cabinet of Ministers on activities of the Office at least once a year and a written survey on current human rights issues - once in a quarter.


Article 3. Director of the Office


1. The Office is guided by the Director who is appointed to the position by the Saeima for four years according to the suggestion of the Cabinet of Ministers.

2. The Director of the Office is released or dismissed from the position in the procedure determined by the Rules of Procedure of the Saeima.

3. The Director of the Office shall be released from the position:

1) at his/her own request;

2) upon election or appointing to other position;

3) upon election to the leadership of a political party or its auditing structure;

4) due to the health condition.

4. The Director of the Office shall be dismissed from the position:

1) if he/she is sentenced and the verdict has taken effect;

2) due to the law violation related to the Office work and has caused essential undesired consequences;

3) due to disreputable offense which may not be connected with the status of the Director of the Office;

4) due to unsuitability to the hold position.

5. The Director of the Office shall affirm the personnel and structure of the Office in the procedure determined by the Law.

6. The salary of the Director of the Office shall be equal to the salary of a minister.


Article 4. Advisory councils and work groups of the Office


1. The Office may establish permanent advisory councils, as well as work groups for the development of specific projects.

2. Regulations of advisory councils and tasks of work groups shall be approved by the Director of the Office. He/she shall confirm also the membership of advisory councils and work groups.


Article 5. Office competence in the review of complaints


1. The procedure for the review of complaints shall be regulated by this Law and the Law "The Procedure by Which Applications, Complaints, and Proposals are Examined in the State and Local Government Institutions".

2. The Office shall review complaints for the violations of human and citizen rights established by the Satversme, international agreements related to human rights binding to Latvia, as well as by the Constitutional Law "The Rights and Obligations of a Citizen and a Person".

3. The Office has rights not to divulge the information on the applicant of the complaint or other person if it is necessary for the protection of the rights of these persons.

4. The Office shall not review a complaint if the court verdict for the violation of human rights, indicated in the complaint, has already taken effect in the civil case, criminal case or administrative case that has been produced against the same person and the same violation.


Article 6. Rights to demand information and explanations


1. The Office has the right to demand information from any state or local government institution and physical persons or legal entities, which/who might have the information on the human right violation under review.

2. The specific person is obliged to arrive in the determined place and time, provide necessary explanations and answer to the questions on conditions of the human right violation under review upon the invitation of the Office. In the event the person is unable to appear or to provide the explanation, it must be notified to the Office and reasons must be indicated. The employer, also the state and local government institutions shall not have the right to keep the invited persons from appearance at the Office.

3. Nobody shall have rights to impede the Office to execute its tasks, as well as hinder, affect and punish a person for collaboration with the Office, or execution of directions or decisions of the Office, except the institutions and officials which/who have such rights granted by the law.

4. For failure to provide information or explanations, as well as for failure to appear without sufficient reason, if the Office invitation is received, the official shall be liable according to the Latvian Code of Administrative Violations.


Article 7. Assessing of the circumstances of the case


1. In order to assess the circumstances of the case and ascertain facts, the Director of the Office shall hear explanations of the parties and other persons, conclusions of experts, as well as familiarize himself/herself with information of other kind which is necessary to review the complaint in substance.

2. The Office shall create to parties equal conditions for substantiation of their opinions.


Article 8. Settling of disputes by peaceful settlement


1. When reviewing a complaint on the human right violation, the Office is entitled to settle the dispute by peaceful settlement.

2. Parties, whose/which complaint is reviewed in the Office, may agree for peaceful settlement. Agreement for peaceful settlement shall be signed by the parties and confirmed by the Director of the Office. The Director of the Office shall not confirm the peaceful settlement of parties if it contradicts the law or offends rights or interests of other persons protected by the law.

3. If it is not possible to reach the peaceful settlement, the Office shall notify them in writing on its opinion and proposals which have the form of recommendations.

Article 9. Proposals and suggestions for elimination of human right violations


The Office shall forward its proposals and suggestions for elimination of human right violations to a specific institution or an official. The official, to whom the proposal is sent, shall submit the answer in written form to the Office.


Transitional Provisions


By taking effect of this Law, the Cabinet of Ministers Regulations No. 204 "On National Human Rights Office" issued in compliance with the procedure set by Article 81 of the Satversme, are recognized as null and void.


In the name of the President of the Republic of Latvia
the Chairman of the Saeima
A.Cepanis



Translation (C) by the Latvia Law Institute. All rights reserved. Other translation of Latvian laws available. E-mail: latjurinst@parks.lv