Latvian President returns discriminatory amendments to Parliament

Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga has asked Parliament to revise the amendments to the Labor Law passed last week, which allowed for the discrimination of employees on the grounds of their sexual orientation.
In a letter to Parliament Speaker Ingrida Udre, Vike-Freiberga wrote that a person’s right to employment is not tied with his or her private life, which is protected by the Constitution.
“Considering the above-mentioned, as well as the fact that the ban on discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation would equally protect both individuals with conventional sexual orientation as well as homosexuals, I see a logical reason to place this kind of discrimination alongside race, color, gender, age, disability, religious, political or other belief, ethnic or social origin, financial or marital status,” the president said.

In her opinion the question of the effective protection of human rights remains open. “It is generally accepted that the protection of human rights is guaranteed by incorporating principles defined in international law and national constitutions into specific and directly implementable laws, such as the Labour Law is in the sphere of labour rights. What EU member states may decide independently and in keeping with their own legal traditions is whether to implement the requirements of Directive 2000/78/EC by passing a special law, as Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Great Britain, Finland and Spain have done, or to include the ban on discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in general laws regulating labour relations, as for example our neighbors Estonia and Lithuania have done,” the president wrote.