Special Representative commends the Government of Latvia for its unwavering political commitment to investing in children and their well-being
Riga, 10 June 2023 – In a country where 19% of the population are children, Latvia is taking important steps to secure the protection, wellbeing and a better future for the country’s most valuable human asset.
The Special Representative commended ongoing initiatives taken by the Latvian authorities including the rebranding of the State Inspectorate for the Protection of Children’s Rights, as well as the standardization of the minimum basket of integrated social services needed to tackle regional disparities in service provision. These efforts will ultimately lead to improved coordination as well as harmonized approaches in child protection at national as well as municipal levels.
During the visit, the Special Representative met with ministers and other representatives of the government; parliamentarians; officials and authorities with responsibilities related to children’s protection and wellbeing; children and young people; and civil society organizations. The SRSG also undertook several site visits, covering a range of social services provided to children.
In a session of the Children's Affairs Council that brought together a wide diversity of key stakeholders to discuss progress as well as challenges, the Special Representative stressed the importance of multidisciplinary approaches to addressing violence against children and its root causes, with the involvement of all relevant sectors. This includes education, health, justice, law enforcement, social welfare, child protection, municipalities, CSOs, community-based organizations, families, and children themselves. “Integrated, child- and gender-sensitive, cross-sectoral systems need to be brought to scale and made accessible to all, leaving no one behind,” said Dr. Maalla M’jid.
In the realm of justice, she welcomed the initiative to abolish administrative fines for children, along with the increased focus on preventive action. The work undertaken by the probation service, which includes case-management and a heightened emphasis on resocialization and rehabilitation programs, was particularly lauded for its role in significantly decreasing the number of children deprived of liberty.
During the “Lampa” festival, in an event entitled "Where does violence begin?”, the SRSG engaged in a lively dialogue with the audience alongside the Minister of Welfare, Ms. Evika Silina. The event provided an excellent opportunity to raise awareness on the prevalence as well as the costs associated with violence against children/violence against women, while also highlighting the high return on investments in preventive action.
The visit concluded with a debriefing session during which the Special Representative and the Minister of Welfare discussed and agreed on priority areas and concrete steps for moving forward to sustain investment in cross-sectoral integrated services for all children and their caregivers, leaving no one behind.