Criminalization of irregular migration

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e)a)                       Access to the right to identity, including birth registration

The birth of the child is registered in the Latvian Birth Register if the child is born in the territory of the Republic of Latvia. The nationality of both – the child and parents – as well as ethnic background, absence of residence permit or any other grounds can not prejudice the registration of the birth of the child in the Latvian Birth Register. The only condition which is taken into account is that the child should be born within the territory of Latvia. The name and surname of the child is registered in Latvian Birth Register according to the will of parents.  

f)b) Protection of children left behind in countries of origin
2.1.Examples of best practices in the implementation of the international framework for the protection of the rights of the child in the context of migration, with particular regard to:

a)      National legislation, policies and practice, including mechanisms to assess and address challenges in the implementation of the international framework for the protection of the rights of the child in the context of migration

At the legislative level, Latvia has joined several international treaties aimed to protect children’s rights and interests in the context of the migration (cross-border situations), namely, Convention of October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, Convention of October 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Cooperation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children. At the same time Latvia has adopted European Council Regulation (EC) No. 2201/2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and in matters of parental responsibility, repealing European Council Regulation (EC) No. 1347/2000.  

b)      Joint efforts and strategies available at the bilateral, regional and international levels to assess and address challenges in the implementation of the international framework for the protection of the rights of the child in the context of migration

On bilateral level there is cooperation between the State Border Guard and countries of origin and transit of immigrants, joint trainings with border guards of neighboring countries. The bilateral agreements and understandings with third countries regulate the cooperation of the State Border Guard with countries of transit of illegal migration; agreements regarding the cooperation in the field of prevention and combating of organized crime mostly envisage also cooperation possibilities in the field of prevention and combating of illegal immigration.

On July 14, 2009, the Asylum Law has entered into force which, inter alia, provides the implementation of the conditions of the European Council Directive 2001/55/EC of July 20, 2001 on minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and on measures promoting a balance of efforts between Member States in receiving such persons and bearing the consequences thereof. The State Border Guard has developed procedures that shall be applied in case of crises if there is a mass influx of asylum seekers in some EU Member State, in order it would be possible to send officials of the State Border Guard to the relevant Member State as assistants and thus implement more efficient solidarity with the relevant country. Until now, Latvia has not been involved in activities of resettlement and in the implementation of the resettlement programmes and also does not plan such participation in the nearest future.

On the basis of the European Council Regulation No.2007/2004 of October 26, 2004 establishing the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union, the State Border Guard on a regular basis participates in joint operations and other activities in the Member States, where the risk of illegal immigration has increased or where influx of asylum seekers can be expected. In such case and upon a request of the FRONTEX, well-prepared and experienced border guards are selected for the participation.
On the basis of the European Council Regulation (EC) No.863/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of July 11, 2007 establishing a mechanism for the creation of Rapid Border Intervention Teams (hereinafter – the RABIT) and amending Council Regulation (EC) No.2007/2004 as regards that mechanism and regulating the tasks and powers of guest officers, the State Border Guard has assigned 21 border guards who upon a request of the FRONTEX, according to emergency, are ready to be involved in procedures of border control as well as interviewing of asylum seekers in Member States with increased risk of illegal immigration.

c)      The work of National Human Rights Institutions and other relevant stakeholders

The Ombudsman, who was elected by the Latvian Parliament in 2007, acts to protect the rights and legal interests of a person in situations when State and municipal authorities have breached the human rights defined by the Constitution and international human rights documents. Inter alia, the Ombudsman pays attention to the issues of the rights of children, including the migration aspect. Although, comparing to the other aspects of the children’s rights, the scope and amount of complaints on presumable violation of children’s rights in the context of migration and identified problems has been relatively small. The activities of the Ombudsman Bureau in the area of migrant children rights have been mostly of preventive nature or the Bureau has tried to solve individual situations (for example, a successful case in 2009 is related to ensuring the right to education – the parents and the child who are citizens of another country with a permanent residence permit in Latvia have been requested by the educational establishment to pay fee for the studies of the child because he is an alien. Only after the Ombudsman got engaged in solving this situation, pointing to the Article 3 of the Law on Education of Latvia, which says that every person who has received a permanent residence permit and their children have equal right to acquire education, the solution was found allowing this child to acquire the state funded education.).
The Ombudsman Bureau has been actively engaged in elaboration of the Asylum Law of Latvia. With a view to make sure that the rights and well-being of migrant children are ensured, the Bureau pays visits to the asylum seekers reception centre „Mucenieki” and the detention centre for illegal immigrants Olaine”. The Ombudsman Bureau also provides consultations and participates in awareness-raising events.   

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