No detention centre mapping data


Latvia Immigration Detention

Despite having only a very small number of unauthorized entries, Latvia has described the situation at its borders with Russia and Belarus as "alarming." Its law provides for an extended period of detention without court order, allows for the detention of children over the age of 14, and lacks provisions ensuring that the detention of asylum seekers is used only as a last resort.

Quick Facts


Immigration detainees (2014): 196
Detained asylum seekers (2013): 166
Persons expelled (2014): 1,550
International migrants (2015): 263,100
New asylum applications (2016): 302

Profile Updated: January 2017

Latvia Immigration Detention Profile

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Latvia has largely avoided recent migratory and border pressures faced by some of its EU partners. In 2015, 745 undocumented migrants were apprehended—the fourth lowest apprehension rate in the European Union—and only 330 persons applied for asylum.[1] The country places some 200 people annually in immigration detention: 196 non-nationals were detained in 2014 and 131 (or 221, depending on the source) in 2013.[2] A majority of recent detainees have been Vietnamese. Other countries of origin include Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Georgia.[3]

In 2015, apprehensions at Latvia’s borders with Russia and Belarus tripled from the year before, to just under 500 people, most of whom were from Vietnam. Despite this small number, Latvia’s public broadcasting service called the border crossings a “cause for alarm.”[4] The country is set to complete a 90-kilometer, 19 million Euro fence along its border with Russia in 2019[5] and authorities have announced construction of a second immigration detention centre in Mucenieki (Ropazi municipality) to go along with its 70-person detention centre in Daugavpils.[6]

There are also concerns over tensions between Latvian nationalists and the country's large population of ethnic Russians, who make up more than a third of the population. Observers think this situation could be exploited by Moscow as a pretext to intervene in the region, encouraged in part by recent U.S. ambivalance towards NATO (of which Latvia is a member) and its apparent embrace of Russia. The Interior Ministry has stated, “We have to talk not about fences but about fortifying Latvia’s outer border, which is concurrently the EU’s outer border as well.”[7]  NATO has undertaken wargames in Latvia and announced the deployment of a "Rapid Reaction Force," which it says are in response to Russian military aggression in former Soviet countries.

Since becoming a member of the European Union in 2004, Latvia has received significant levels of financing from Brussels to shore up border and migration control policies. During the period 2007-2013, Latvia received more than 17 million Euros from the “External Borders Fund,” aimed at “protecting" the EU’s external borders, and more than 3 million Euros from the “Return Fund” to improve management of removing irregular migrants. (See the European Commission’s Migration and Home Affairs “Latvia” page for more details). 

Despite the small scale of immigration detention in Latvia, some of the country’s detention laws and practices have attracted criticism. In the past few years, three UN human rights treaty monitoring bodies—the Human Rights Committee, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and the Committee against Torture—have voiced concern that Latvian law fails to make detention a measure of last resort and for the shortest time possible. Other controversial measures include an initial 10-day detention period without court authorization, the detention of children older than 14, offering alternatives to detention only for humanitarian considerations, and the lack of provisions preventing re-detention.

 

LAWS, POLICIES, PRACTICES

Key norms. Latvia’s core immigration statutes are provided in the 2003 Immigration Law (Imigrācijas likums). Amended several times since its adoption, the Immigration Law contains provisions for the entry, residence, transit, exit, detention, and expulsion of non-nationals. Immigration detention is also provided in the 2015 Asylum Law (Patvēruma likums), which replaced the 2009 Asylum Law.

Grounds for detention. Both the Immigration Law and the Asylum Law have provisions for immigration detention.

Pursuant to section 60 of the Immigration Law, if an official of the Border Guard refuses entry to a non-national and it is not possible to return the person immediately, the person can be detained up to 48 hours. In addition, according to chapter VII, section 51(1), of the law, the Border Guard can order detention (aizturēšana) if a non-national is subject to removal procedure or return based on readmission agreement. Following the transposition of the EU Returns Directive a new set of grounds for detention was added. According to section 51(2) the Border Guard may detain a non-national if there are grounds to believe that the person will avoid or impede a removal procedure or there is a risk of absconding. The bases for making this determination can include: 1) not disclosing identity, providing false information, or refusing to cooperate; 2) crossing the external border, avoiding border checks, using forged documents; 3) failing to indicate a place to reside while awaiting a removal procedure; 4) threatening security, public order or safety; 5) promoting undocumented immigration; 6) conviction for a criminal offence punishable with a prison sentence of at least one year; 7) having previously avoided a removal procedure; 8) unjustifiably failing to abide by a voluntary return decision; 9) failing to register with the Border Guard; 10) leaving an accommodation centre; or 11) violating a re-entry ban.

An analysis of 2012-2014 court decisions carried out by the Latvian Centre for Human Rights (LCHR) revealed that the Border Guard typically justifies detention on account of inability of the foreigner to indicate the place where he would reside while awaiting a removal procedure. This ground is often applied in combination with other grounds. LCHR concluded that the Border Guard failed to sufficiently explain the reasons its detention determinations.[8] In 2011 the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) urged Latvia not to detain persons who cannot be expelled.[9]

Asylum seekers. Detention of asylum seekers is permitted under the Asylum Law. According to section 16, which reflects the EU Reception Conditions Directive, an asylum seeker may be detained if 1) it is necessary to ascertain or verify the person’s identity or nationality; 2) it is necessary to ascertain the facts on which the asylum application; 3) it is necessary to decide on the person’s right to enter Latvia; 4) there are grounds for assuming that the person submitted an application to hinder his removal; 5) the competent State authorities (including the Border Guard) have a reason to believe that the asylum seeker presents a threat to national security or public order and safety; 6) detention is necessary for transfer procedure in accordance with the EU Dublin Regulation.

Numerous international and regional human rights bodies—including the UN Committee against Torture (in 2013)[10] and the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (in 2011)[11]—have urged Latvia to ensure that asylum seekers are only detained as a measure of last resort. In 2014, the UN Human Rights Committee expressed concern about the lack of clear legal grounds justifying detention of asylum seekers upon arrival and their protracted detention. The Committee urged Latvia to amend the Asylum Law to establish safeguards against the arbitrary detention of asylum seekers, to detain asylum seekers only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest possible period, and to avoid detaining minors.[12]

Minors. According to section 51(1) of the Immigration Law, a child below the age of 14 cannot be detained. Unaccompanied children who are older than 14 can be detained in Border Guard facilities or in childcare institutions. Section 59.1(5) provides that adult detainees can request to have their children detained with them to preserve family unity. Under section 59.1(3), children are to be accommodated together with their parents. According to official sources, families with children are to be accommodated in separate sections of detention centres.[13]

In 2016, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concern that the Asylum Law does not explicitly stipulate that the detention of asylum-seeking children should only be a measure of last resort and urged Latvia to revise the Asylum Law to exempt children from detention. The Committee was also concerned about limits in healthcare for detained children.[14]

In 2013, the UN Committee against Torture also expressed concern about the detention of minor asylum seekers who are above the age of 14 and recommended that Latvia refrain from detaining minors.[15]

According to official sources, five unaccompanied children were detained in 2013 and at least three children accompanied with their parents were detained in 2012.[16]

Length of detention. According to section 54(1) of the Immigration Law, the Border Guard may detain a non-national for an initial 10-day period without seeking a court order. Under section 54(2) the maximal period of detention, as authorized by a court, is two months. If the removal is impossible within this period, the judge may extend detention by another two months (section 54(3)). Detention may be repeatedly extended up to a period of six months (section 54(4)). This period of detention may be further extended by additional 12 months if the detainee refuses to cooperate or there are delays in receiving the necessary documents from third countries (section 54(7)). Prior to the transposition of the EU Returns Directive, the maximum period of detention was 20 months.[17] Latvia is one of a few EU countries--including Lithuania, Denmark and Sweden--that have been obliged to shorten the maximum period of detention to comply with the directive.

Under section 17(1) of the Asylum Law the Border Guard may detain an asylum seeker for up to six days. Detention beyond this period must be authorized by a court (section 18(1)). Detention of asylum seeker, as authorized by a court, may be maintained for up to two months (section 19(1)).

According to official sources, the average length of detention was 20 days in 2013; 18 days in 2012; and 20 days in 2011. The average length of detention of asylum seekers has decreased over years, from 25 days in 2011, 15 days in 2012, to 12 days in 2013.[18] In turn, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) was informed in 2011 that the average length of detention was two months.[19] Statistics from the Border Guard reveal that the longest periods of detention in recent years was 118 days in 2014, 63 days in 2013, and 106 days in 2012.[20]

In 2011, the ECRI voiced concern about detention periods exceeding the maximum permitted period in legislation and urged authorities to ensure that the time limit provided for in law is respected.[21]

In 2007, the LCHR noted that persons released from detention upon the expiry of the maximum permissible length of detention were not granted any defined legal status and could therefore be re-detained.[22]

Procedural guarantees. The Immigration Law and Asylum Law provide detailed procedural rules governing immigration detention.

Section 54(1) of the Immigration Law empowers the Border Guard to detain a non-national for up to 10 days without judicial validation. The Latvian Centre for Human Rights observed that 10-day detention prior to the court authorization is “extensive"--in particular when compared to analogous detention under the Criminal Procedure Law, which is two days--and creates a risk of arbitrary detention.[23]

When a person is detained, the Border Guard must draw up a detention report, which should contain date and place, name of the person who has drafted the report, information about the detainee, and motives for the detention (section 52). The migrant has the right to appeal detention decisions to a court. Under section 56(1), at the moment of detention non-nationals must be told of their right to appeal, be allowed to contact their representative, and receive legal assistance. Detainees are to be provided information about detention (section 56(2)), have the right to communicate in a language they understand, and be provided an interpreter if necessary (section 56(3)).

Observers report that detention reports are written in Latvian and detainees tend to be orally informed about the main points of the detention order in Latvian.[24]

An official of the Border Guard must take a migrant to the court at latest 48 hours prior to expulsion and invite an interpreter, if necessary (section 55(2)). Based on the application of an official of the Border Guard, the court decides whether detention should be extended (section 54(2)). The court must examine the materials submitted, including the submission of the official of the Border Guard, detention report, removal order and documents explaining the measures taken to remove the non-national. In taking a decision to detain, extend the period of detention or to refuse to extend the time period of detention, the court must take into consideration the circumstances of the removal procedure and assess whether the grounds for detention, which were the basis for detention of the foreigner, are still effective. The court must state the reasons for the decision and indicate the facts, conclusions and arguments on the basis of which the relevant decision was taken (sections 54.1 and 55(4)). A copy of a court’s decision must be sent to the foreigner and the Border Guard within 24 hours from the receipt of the application of the Border Guard (section 55(5)).

The analysis of 2012-2014 court decisions carried out by the Latvian Centre for Human Rights reveals that in most case the court agreed with the Border Guard and ordered detention.[25]

This review of detention takes place at every extension of detention, i.e. every two months during the initial six-month period of detention (section 54(3)-(4)). This period may be extended by 12 months (section 54(7)) and the Immigration Law does not explicitly provide for review of detention during that period.

Within 48 hours after receiving the copy of the detention decision, both the non-national and the Chief of the Border Guard or his authorized official may appeal the court’s decision (section 55(6)). The detainee has the right to receive legal assistance (section 56(1)). The court must examine the complaint without delay and a copy of its decision must be sent to the foreigner and the Border Guard (section 55(7)).

The Latvian Centre for Human Rights observed that the right to challenge detention is inadequately implemented in practice. Between 2013-2014 the court disagreed with the Border Guard in merely five cases.[26]

Procedural guarantees for asylum seekers are spelled out in the Asylum Law. Under section 17 of the Asylum Law an official authorized by the Chief of the Border Guard may detain asylum seeker for up to six days. The Border Guard must draw up detention minutes which contain the name of the official, name of asylum seeker, time and place of detention, established facts, reasons for detention, legal provisions applied, procedures for appealing detention and the possibility to quest free legal aid and representation. The asylum seeker must be made acquainted with the detention minutes in language which he understands or is reasonably supposed to understand, using services of an interpreter, if necessary, and must receive a copy of the minutes (section 17(1), (2), (5), (7)). Under section 17(5), asylum seeker must also be explained the reasons for detention, the procedures for appeal, the procedures of the court supervision of detention, and must be informed about the possibility to request free legal aid. The person must be informed about the reasons for detention, the procedures for appealing detention and the procedures for assigning the provider of free legal aid and representative. This information must be conveyed in a language, which the person understands or is reasonably supposed to understand.

An asylum seeker who wishes to receive State legal aid must submit an application to the Border Guard. The Border Guard must, without delay, but not later than on the following working day after receiving the application, invite the provider of legal aid who is included in the list prepared by the institution responsible for provision of State ensured legal aid (section 17(6)).

Under section 18(1) an asylum seeker may be detained for more than six days on the basis of a decision of the district court. No later than 48 hours before expiry of the period for detention, the Border Guard must submit a justified proposal to the district court to detain the asylum seeker for more than six days (section 18(2)). The official of the Border Guard must deliver the asylum seeker to the district court and, if necessary, invite an interpreter (section 18(3)). Within 24 hours the district court must hear the opinion of the official of the Border Guard and the asylum seeker and his representative (if any) and evaluate the grounds for application of restrictive measures (section 19(1)). A copy of the court decision must be sent to the asylum seekers and the Border Guard without delay but not later than within 24 hours from the moment of taking it. If the asylum seeker does not have a representative, the court must provide a written translation of full text of the decision in a language which he understands or is reasonably supposed to understand (section 19(2)).

According to section 17(9) an asylum seeker has the right to contest detention to the district court within 48 hours after he has been made acquainted with the detention minutes and the information about the reasons for his detention. Pursuant to section 20(1) an asylum seeker or his representative may at any time appeal the necessity of the continued detention before the district court. The court may reject the appeal if it does not contain information regarding the circumstances, which were not known before when deciding on detention or examining the previous claim (section 20(3)). The court examines the claim in a written procedure without participation of the persons involved. The decision is not subject to appeal (section 20(4)).

In 2011, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) noted that detainees were not provided with written information about their procedural rights and legal situation. Several detainees interviewed by the Committee were not aware of the legal proceedings applicable to them and some complained about the quality of interpretation during court proceedings, lack of translation of the detention order, and practical impossibility to submit an appeal against their detention.[27]

In 2004, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention urged the country to ensure that all immigration detainees have effective legal means to challenge the legality of their detention.[28]

Trends and statistics. According to information provided by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs of the Interior Ministry, the number of detainees has steadily dropped in recent years: 273 non-nationals were detained 2011 (May-December), 251 in 2012, and 221 in 2013. Of the total number of detainees, 238 were asylum seekers in 2011, 127 in 2012, and 166 in 2013.[29] The Border Guard, also a part of Interior Ministry, has reported different statistics: 144 undocumented migrants were detained in 2011, 163 in 2012, 131 in 2013, and 196 in 2014. According to State Border Guard statistics, the number of detainees who unlawfully crossed land border was 305 in 2016 (as of October 2016), 463 in 2015, and 139 in 2014.[30] The increase in the number of detainees in 2014 was reportedly due to increase of irregular border crossings, mainly by Vietnamese nationals.[31] Other countries of origin include Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Georgia. A few detainees per year are stateless.[32]

Alternatives to detention. Under section 51(3) of the Immigration Law, the Border Guard can consider the following non-custodial measures: 1) regular reporting at a specified unit of the Border Guard; or 2) handing over travel documents and other personal identification documents to an official of the Border Guard. The Asylum Law provides for one alternative measure, registration at the unit of the Border Guard (section 13(1)). The compliance rate with the reporting obligation was 96 percent in 2011-2013.[33]

As observed by the Latvian Centre for Human Rights, the Immigration Law does not include an explicit obligation for authorities to consider alternatives to detention. The law provides for the alternatives to detention only “due to reasons of a humanitarian nature.” There are no detailed rules governing the application of the alternatives or criteria for their use.[34]

According to official sources, 10 people were afforded alternatives to detention in 2011 (June-December), 34 in 2012, 52 in 2013, and 55 in 2014. Alternatives are usually granted on account of health or family considerations.[35]

Criminalization. Under the Criminal Law (intentional), irregular entry to Latvia is punishable with a prison sentence up to three months, community service or a fine. If the irregular border crossing is carried out by a group of persons or using a vehicle the imprisonment may be up to two years (sections 284 and 38). Pursuant to the Administrative Violations Code, irregular stay in Latvia is punishable with a fine up to 350 Euros (section 190(13)).[36]

Detention centre regulations and minimum conditions. Under section 59(1)-(2) of the Immigration Law, non-nationals must be detained in “specially equipped premises or accommodation centre separately from persons detained according to criminal procedural procedures or imprisoned persons.” The detention centre is a structural unit of the Border Guard. Sections 59.1(3)-(4) provide that men and women must be accommodated separately and children must be accommodated with parents or legal representatives. Based on the request, member of the same family must be accommodated together.

Detainees have the duty to observe internal regulations of the centre (section 59.2(3)). A detainee who has violated these regulations is to be accommodated in “premises specially equipped for such purposes” (section 59.1(3)).

According to section 59.2, detainee have the following the rights: to communicate with his state consulate; to inform family members, kin or other persons regarding his whereabouts; to receive legal assistance with his own means; to meet with family members or kin, as well as with representatives of international and non-government human rights organizations; to submit complaints; to receive food and material support for household needs in accordance with specified maintenance standards; to receive emergency medical assistance, as well as guaranteed health care services; to receive health care services and medicines which have been prescribed by medical personnel, with his own means; to keep with him amounts of money, which do not exceed one half of the minimum monthly wage stipulated by the state; to use common premises; to use the equipment provided for detained foreigners; to receive consignments and parcels; to store food products in the place specially provided for them; to store with him property, which is not included in the list of prohibited articles.

As spelled out in the regulations of the Interior Ministry, detainees have the right to emergency medical care provided by persons working in the detention centre or ambulance team; primary health care, including urgent dental aid, provided by the medical personnel of the centre; and secondary health care services.[37]

Under section 59.7, officials of a competent state institution, representatives of foundations and associations, as well as international organizations may visit detention places in order to evaluate the conditions of detention. These institutions must co-ordinate their visit with the head of detention centre and conform to the internal procedural regulations.

The provisions of the Immigration Law concerning conditions of detention are detailed in regulations adopted by the Interior Ministry, including the 2008 “Internal Procedure Regulations of the Accommodation Centre,” 2008 “Regulations regarding the Residence Norms of Third-country Nationals Placed in an Accommodation Centre, as well as the Amount and Procedures for Receipt of Guaranteed Health Care Services,” 2008 “Regulations Regarding the Requirements for the Arranging and Equipping of the Accommodation Centre,” and 2009 “Procedures for the Placement and Holding of a Person Detained by the Border Guards in a Temporary Custody Room, and the Requirements for the Arrangement and Equipping of Such Rooms.”[38]

According to section 21(1) of the Asylum Law, an asylum seeker must be accommodated in premises specially equipped for this purpose in a unit of the Border Guard. Officials of State administration institutions, authorized representatives of associations, foundations, and international organizations are entitled to visit the Border Guard detention premises in order to evaluate the conditions of detention and provide legal or other consultations corresponding to the competence of the relevant institution. The visit must be coordinated with the Chief of the Border Guard premises for asylum seekers, unless it has been otherwise laid down in the law (section 21(5)).

Upon placing the detained asylum seeker in the Border Guard accommodation premises for asylum seekers, his health condition shall be checked and sanitary treatment shall be performed (section 22(2)). Section 22(3) of the Asylum Law provides that men and women must be accommodated separately and asylum seekers must be accommodated separately from persons detained under the Immigration Law. Detained asylum seekers who have health disorder must be accommodated in line with instructions of a medical doctor in premises specifically equipped for such purpose. The detained family members of asylum seekers must be accommodated together, separately from other detained persons to ensure privacy. Detained children must have a possibility to study and play. Unaccompanied children must be ensured accommodation at the Border Guard premises for asylum seekers, in which there is equipment, and also personnel corresponding to their age. The detained asylum seeker who has violated the internal rules of procedures of the Border Guard premises for asylum seekers or endangers the safety of other persons may be placed, by a decision of an official authorized by the Chief of the Border Guard, separately in premises specially equipped for this purpose for a time period up to 10 days.

Upon admission to the centre, the asylum seeker must be familiarized with his rights and obligations and the internal rules of procedure in a language which he understands or is reasonably supposed to understand, if necessary, using services of an interpreter (section 22(4)).

Cost of detention. According to official sources, in 2013 total immigration detention costs--including food, accommodation, medical assistance, and interpretation services--amounted to 440 Euros per month. Daily costs of medical assistance were 0.7 Euro, food for adults 6.24 Euros, food for children 6.70 Euros, costs of hygienic products for men were 5.28 Euros, for women 6.05 Euros, and for children 3.6 Euros. Latvia spent that year 1,131 Euros for legal assistance for asylum seekers and 168 for legal assistance to migrants in irregular situation.[39]

 

DETENTION INFRASTRUCTURE

As of January 2017, Latvia operated one dedicated long-term immigration detention centre, located in Daugavpils.[40] Formally called the “Accommodation Centre for Detained Aliens,” the centre is managed by the Border Guard, part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The facility opened in May 2011 on the premises of former military barracks.[41] In 2015, authorities announced the construction of another detention centre in Mucenieki village in the Ropazi municipality with a capacity of 84.[42]

The Border Guard can temporarily detain foreign nationals in other facilities. Temporary detention premises are located in the regional branches of the SBG, the SBG headquarters in Riga, the Riga International Airport, the Riga Port, and other border crossing points.[43] Although there are no statistics on detention at these facilities, according to the Latvian Centre for Human Rights migrants are generally placed there for a few hours, when awaiting deportation or transfer to the Daugavpils facility.[44] The Ombudsman stressed that these facilities are not suitable for detention for more than a few hours due to the poor conditions.[45]

The Daugavpils centre is located in a two-floor building and has an official capacity of 70.[46] The centre confines men, women, and families in separate sections. As of 2011, the facility had two male units and a unit for women and families.[47] Likewise, undocumented migrants and asylum seekers are confined separately. There are also special premises for non-nationals who breach the internal rules of the facility.[48]

According to official sources, each detainee must have at least four square metres. Rooms can confine up to four people but tend to have two people at any one time.[49] In 2011, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) reported that the rooms were had adequate space, around 25 square metres for four persons.[50] According to official sources, the centre has a fitness room, rest room equipped with a TV, library, room for religious rituals, and walking area including playground for children and area for sport. Detainees may move freely within their respective units and have two hours outdoor exercise per day.[51]

Upon admission to the centre, devices belonging to the detainee, like telephones and computers, are seized. However detainees may use this equipment for communication purposes if given permission from the head off the centre. Detainees may receive visits.[52]

The Latvian Centre for Human Rights regularly visits the facility and provides legal aid to detainees. The Red Cross has provided education to children as well as humanitarian aid. A private company provides linguistic services.[53]

Sources in Latvia informed the Global Detention Project that the material conditions at the Daugavpiuls centre were good. However, leisure activities were insufficient and the centre did not employ social workers or psychologists. Some detainees complained about poor medical care and food.[54]

In contrast, in 2014 the UN Human Rights Committee expressed concern about reports denouncing poor conditions of detention.[55] In 2013, the Latvian Ombudsman reported that privacy was not adequately ensured during medical examinations and that there was a lack of a room for placing and observation of ill detainees and a possibility for call the personnel in isolation premises. The centre also lacked adequate arrangements for detainees confined to a wheelchair.[56]

Following its visit to the centre in 2011, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) noted that the material conditions were good. The rooms were properly ventilated, clean and adequately furnished with beds with full bedding, wardrobes, and fully partitioned internal sanitary annex including toilet and shower. Likewise, health service was generally adequate. A nurse was present daily at the centre and newly admitted non-nationals were examined usually within 24 hours. The CPT was also satisfied with the medical equipment and supply of medication. However, the Committee was concerned that the staff openly carried truncheons in the male sections and recommended to change this practice. The CPT also suggested expanding the range of activities for migrants detained for prolonged periods.[57]

In the same year, the Latvian Centre for Human Rights noted that the material conditions and access to basic necessities complied with basic standards, in the areas of food, sanitation, heating, and equipment. The advocacy group however pointed to difficulties with in terms of the communication between detainees and the personnel, communication with the outside world, and access to legal aid; inadequate leisure activities; and absence of psychologist.[58]

Prior to the opening of the Daugavpils facility in May 2011, Latvia operated a detention centre in Olaine. Officially called the “Detention Camp for Illegal Immigrants,”[59] the centre had an official capacity of 50. The centre reportedly had very poor conditions of detention.[60] Before 1999, immigrants were accommodated in the "Illegal Migrant Detention Centre" on Gaizina Street, in Riga.[61] This facility was closed in 2001 following recommendations made by the CPT, which urged the removal of all irregular migrants from the “totally unacceptable” conditions and “inhuman and degrading treatment” at the facility. Detainees were subsequently transferred to the Olaine facility.[62]

 

 

[1] Eurostat, “Asylum and managed migration,” Website, http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/asylum-and-managed-migration/data/database.

[2] European Migration Network (EMN) National Contact Point for Latvia (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs), The use of detention and alternatives to detention in the context of immigration policies, November 2014, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/studies/results/index_en.htm; Latvian Centre for Human Rights, The return of third-country nationals: Standards and their implementation in Latvia, 2015, http://cilvektiesibas.org.lv/en/publications/the-return-of-third-country-nationals-standards-an-353/.

[3] Svetlana Djackova (Latvian Centre for Human Rights), Email exchange with Izabella Majcher (Global Detention Project), January 2017.

[4] Latvia Public Broadcasting, “Why is Latvia building a fence?” 21 March 2016, http://www.lsm.lv/en/article/societ/society/why-is-latvia-building-a-fence.a174585/.

[5] Latvia Public Broadcasting, “Why is Latvia building a fence?” 21 March 2016, http://www.lsm.lv/en/article/societ/society/why-is-latvia-building-a-fence.a174585/.

[6] European Migration Network, Country Factsheet: Latvia 2015, 2016, https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/docs/country-factsheets/16a_latvia_country_factsheet_2015.pdf; Baltic Course, “Mucenieki population in Latvia object to construction of detention center for foreigners,” Baltic Course, 16 February 2016, http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/legislation/?doc=116815.

[7] Latvia Public Broadcasting, “Why is Latvia building a fence?” 21 March 2016, http://www.lsm.lv/en/article/societ/society/why-is-latvia-building-a-fence.a174585/.

[8] Latvian Centre for Human Rights, The return of third-country nationals: Standards and their implementation in Latvia, 2015, http://cilvektiesibas.org.lv/en/publications/the-return-of-third-country-nationals-standards-an-353/.

[9] European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), ECRI Report on Latvia (fourth monitoring cycle), CRI(2012)3, 9 December 2011, http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ecri/Country-by-country/Latvia/Latvia_CBC_en.asp.

[10] Committee against Torture, Concluding observations on the combined third to fifth periodic reports of Latvia, CAT/C/LVA/CO/3-5, 23 December 2013, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/LVIndex.aspx.

[11] European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), ECRI Report on Latvia (fourth monitoring cycle), CRI(2012)3, 9 December 2011, http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ecri/Country-by-country/Latvia/Latvia_CBC_en.asp.

[12] Human Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the third periodic report of Latvia, CCPR/C/LVA/CO/3, 11 April 2014, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/LVIndex.aspx.

[13] European Migration Network (EMN) National Contact Point for Latvia (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs), The use of detention and alternatives to detention in the context of immigration policies, November 2014, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/studies/results/index_en.htm.

[14] Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding observations on the third to fifth periodic reports of Latvia, CRC/C/LVA/CO/3-5, 14 March 2016, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/LVIndex.aspx.

[15] Committee against Torture, Concluding observations on the combined third to fifth periodic reports of Latvia, CAT/C/LVA/CO/3-5, 23 December 2013, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/LVIndex.aspx.

[16] European Migration Network (EMN) National Contact Point for Latvia (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs), The use of detention and alternatives to detention in the context of immigration policies, November 2014, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/studies/results/index_en.htm.

[17] Ilvija Puce, “Legal Norms of Detention and Legal Rights of Detainees in Latvia,” 2007.

[18] European Migration Network (EMN) National Contact Point for Latvia (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs), The use of detention and alternatives to detention in the context of immigration policies, November 2014, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/studies/results/index_en.htm.

[19] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), Report to the Latvian Government on the visit to Latvia carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 5 to 15 September 2011, CPT/Inf (2013) 20, 2013, http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/states/lva.htm.

[20] Latvian Centre for Human Rights, The return of third-country nationals: Standards and their implementation in Latvia, 2015, http://cilvektiesibas.org.lv/en/publications/the-return-of-third-country-nationals-standards-an-353/.

[21] European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), ECRI Report on Latvia (fourth monitoring cycle), CRI(2012)3, 9 December 2011, http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ecri/Country-by-country/Latvia/Latvia_CBC_en.asp.

[22] Ilvija Puce, “Legal Norms of Detention and Legal Rights of Detainees in Latvia,” 2007.

[23] Latvian Centre for Human Rights, The return of third-country nationals: Standards and their implementation in Latvia, 2015, http://cilvektiesibas.org.lv/en/publications/the-return-of-third-country-nationals-standards-an-353/.

[24] Latvian Centre for Human Rights, The return of third-country nationals: Standards and their implementation in Latvia, 2015, http://cilvektiesibas.org.lv/en/publications/the-return-of-third-country-nationals-standards-an-353/.

[25] Latvian Centre for Human Rights, The return of third-country nationals: Standards and their implementation in Latvia, 2015, http://cilvektiesibas.org.lv/en/publications/the-return-of-third-country-nationals-standards-an-353/.

[26] Latvian Centre for Human Rights, The return of third-country nationals: Standards and their implementation in Latvia, 2015, http://cilvektiesibas.org.lv/en/publications/the-return-of-third-country-nationals-standards-an-353/.

[27]  European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), Report to the Latvian Government on the visit to Latvia carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 5 to 15 September 2011, CPT/Inf (2013) 20, 2013, http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/states/lva.htm.

[28] Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Report of The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: Addendum: Visit to Latvia (23-28 February 2004), E/CN.4/2005/6/Add.2, 1 September 2004, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/LVIndex.aspx.

[29] European Migration Network (EMN) National Contact Point for Latvia (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs), The use of detention and alternatives to detention in the context of immigration policies, November 2014, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/studies/results/index_en.htm.

[30] Svetlana Djackova (Latvian Centre for Human Rights), Email exchange with Izabella Majcher (Global Detention Project), January 2017.

[31] Latvian Centre for Human Rights, The return of third-country nationals: Standards and their implementation in Latvia, 2015, http://cilvektiesibas.org.lv/en/publications/the-return-of-third-country-nationals-standards-an-353/.

[32] Svetlana Djackova (Latvian Centre for Human Rights), Email exchange with Izabella Majcher (Global Detention Project), January 2017.

[33] European Migration Network (EMN) National Contact Point for Latvia (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs), The use of detention and alternatives to detention in the context of immigration policies, November 2014, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/studies/results/index_en.htm.

[34] Latvian Centre for Human Rights, The return of third-country nationals: Standards and their implementation in Latvia, 2015, http://cilvektiesibas.org.lv/en/publications/the-return-of-third-country-nationals-standards-an-353/.

[35] European Migration Network (EMN) National Contact Point for Latvia (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs), The use of detention and alternatives to detention in the context of immigration policies, November 2014, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/studies/results/index_en.htm; Latvian Centre for Human Rights, The return of third-country nationals: Standards and their implementation in Latvia, 2015, http://cilvektiesibas.org.lv/en/publications/the-return-of-third-country-nationals-standards-an-353/.

[36] European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), Criminalisation of migrants in an irregular situation and of persons engaging with them, 2014, http://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2014/criminalisation-migrants-irregular-situation-and-persons-engaging-them.

[37] European Migration Network (EMN) National Contact Point for Latvia (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs), The use of detention and alternatives to detention in the context of immigration policies, November 2014, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/studies/results/index_en.htm.

[38] European Migration Network (EMN) National Contact Point for Latvia (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs), The use of detention and alternatives to detention in the context of immigration policies, November 2014, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/studies/results/index_en.htm.

[39] European Migration Network (EMN) National Contact Point for Latvia (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs), The use of detention and alternatives to detention in the context of immigration policies, November 2014, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/studies/results/index_en.htm.

[40] Svetlana Djackova (Latvian Centre for Human Rights), Email exchange with Izabella Majcher (Global Detention Project), January 2017.

[41] European Migration Network (EMN) National Contact Point for Latvia (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs), The use of detention and alternatives to detention in the context of immigration policies, November 2014, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/studies/results/index_en.htm; European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), Report to the Latvian Government on the visit to Latvia carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 5 to 15 September 2011, CPT/Inf (2013) 20, 2013, http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/states/lva.htm.

[42] European Migration Network, Country Factsheet: Latvia 2015, 2016, https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/docs/country-factsheets/16a_latvia_country_factsheet_2015.pdf; Baltic Course, “Mucenieki population in Latvia object to construction of detention center for foreigners,” Baltic Course, 16 February 2016, http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/legislation/?doc=116815.

[43] Svetlana Djackova (Latvian Centre for Human Rights), Email exchange with Izabella Majcher (Global Detention Project), January 2017; Ilvija Puce and L. Gravere, Monitoring report on Closed Institutions in Latvia, Latvian Centre for Human Rights (LCHR), 2006.

[44] Svetlana Djackova (Latvian Centre for Human Rights), Email exchange with Izabella Majcher (Global Detention Project), January 2017.

[45] Ombudsman of the Republic of Latvia, Report of the Year 2013 of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Latvia, 2014, http://www.tiesibsargs.lv/en/pages/research-and-publications/annual-reports; Ombudsman of the Republic of Latvia, Report of the Year 2014 of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Latvia, 2015, http://www.tiesibsargs.lv/en/pages/research-and-publications/annual-reports.

[46] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), Report to the Latvian Government on the visit to Latvia carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 5 to 15 September 2011, CPT/Inf (2013) 20, 2013, http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/states/lva.htm.

[47] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), Report to the Latvian Government on the visit to Latvia carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 5 to 15 September 2011, CPT/Inf (2013) 20, 2013, http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/states/lva.htm.

[48] European Migration Network (EMN) National Contact Point for Latvia (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs), The use of detention and alternatives to detention in the context of immigration policies, November 2014, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/studies/results/index_en.htm.

[49] European Migration Network (EMN) National Contact Point for Latvia (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs), The use of detention and alternatives to detention in the context of immigration policies, November 2014, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/studies/results/index_en.htm.

[50] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), Report to the Latvian Government on the visit to Latvia carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 5 to 15 September 2011, CPT/Inf (2013) 20, 2013, http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/states/lva.htm.

[51] European Migration Network (EMN) National Contact Point for Latvia (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs), The use of detention and alternatives to detention in the context of immigration policies, November 2014, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/studies/results/index_en.htm.

[52] European Migration Network (EMN) National Contact Point for Latvia (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs), The use of detention and alternatives to detention in the context of immigration policies, November 2014, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/studies/results/index_en.htm.

[53] Svetlana Djackova (Latvian Centre for Human Rights), Email exchange with Izabella Majcher (Global Detention Project), January 2017.

[54]  Svetlana Djackova (Latvian Centre for Human Rights), Email exchange with Izabella Majcher (Global Detention Project), January 2017.

[55] Human Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the third periodic report of Latvia, CCPR/C/LVA/CO/3, 11 April 2014, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/LVIndex.aspx.

[56] Ombudsman of the Republic of Latvia, Report of the Year 2013 of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Latvia, 2014, http://www.tiesibsargs.lv/en/pages/research-and-publications/annual-reports.

[57]  European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), Report to the Latvian Government on the visit to Latvia carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 5 to 15 September 2011, CPT/Inf (2013) 20, 2013, http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/states/lva.htm.

[58] Latvian Centre for Human Rights, Detention of asylum seekers and alternatives to detention in Latvia, 2011, http://cilvektiesibas.org.lv/media/attachments/02/10/2012/Nacionalais_zinojums-ENG-PREVIEW3.pdf.

[59] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), Report to the Latvian Government on the visit to Latvia carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 5 to 15 September 2011, CPT/Inf (2013) 20, 2013, http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/states/lva.htm.

[60] Ilvija Puce, “Legal Norms of Detention and Legal Rights of Detainees in Latvia,” 2007; Caritas Latvia, “National Report: Latvia,” In Becoming Vulnerable in Detention: Civil Society Report on the Detention of Vulnerable Asylum Seekers and Irregular Migrants in the European Union, Jesuit Refugee Service-Europe, 2010; Latvian Centre for Human Rights, Shadow Report to the UN Committee against Torture, 2007.

[61] Latvian Centre for Human Rights, Shadow Report to the UN Committee against Torture, 2007.

[62] Ilvija Puce, “Legal Norms of Detention and Legal Rights of Detainees in Latvia,” 2007.

Centres List

No detention centres data available

Statistics Expand all



196

Total number of immigration detainees by year

2014

  • Total number of immigration detainees by year
NumberObservation Date
1962014
1312013
2212013
1632012
2072012
2512012
1442011
1872010
2482009


55

Number of persons granted alternatives to immigration detention

2014

  • Number of persons granted alternatives to immigration detention
NumberObservation Date
552014
522013
342012
102011


166

Number of detained asylum seekers

2013

  • Number of detained asylum seekers
NumberObservation Date
1662013
1272012
2382011


5

Number of detained unaccompanied minors

2013

  • Number of detained unaccompanied minors
NumberObservation Date
52013


265

Number of apprehensions of non-citizens

2014

  • Number of apprehensions of non-citizens
NumberObservation Date
2652014
1752013
2052012


0.08

Immigration detainees as a percentage of total international migrant population

2013

  • Immigration detainees as a percentage of total international migrant population
PercentageObservation Date
0.082013
0.062010


1

Number of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres

2017

  • Number of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres
NumberObservation Date
12017


70

Estimated capacity of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres

2017

  • Estimated capacity of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres
NumberObservation Date
702017


1,550

Number of persons removed/returned (voluntary returns and deportations)

2014

  • Number of persons removed/returned (voluntary returns and deportations)
NumberObservation Date
1,5502014
2,0702013
2,0652012


99.7

Percentage of persons removed in relation to total number of people placed in removal procedures

2014

  • Percentage of persons removed in relation to total number of people placed in removal procedures
PercentageObservation Date
99.72014


4,301

Criminal prison population

2017

  • Criminal prison population
NumberObservation Date
4,3012017


2.4

Percentage of foreign prisoners

2015

  • Percentage of foreign prisoners
PercentageObservation Date
2.42015
1.32013


221

Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)

2017

  • Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
NumberObservation Date
2212017
2642014



1,971,000

Population

2015

  • Population
NumberObservation Date
1,971,0002015
2,200,0002012


263,100

International migrants

2015

  • International migrants
NumberObservation Date
263,1002015
282,9002013
314,0002010


13.4

International migrants as a percentage of the population

2015

  • International migrants as a percentage of the population
PercentageObservation Date
13.42015
13.82013


325

Refugees

2016

  • Refugees
NumberObservation Date
3252016
2082015
1602014


0.09

Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants

2014

  • Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
NumberObservation Date
0.092014
0.062012


302

Total number of new asylum applications

2016

  • Total number of new asylum applications
NumberObservation Date
3022016
3642014
1892012


3.5

Refugee recognition rate

2014

  • Refugee recognition rate
NumberObservation Date
3.52014


242,736

Stateless persons

2016

  • Stateless persons
NumberObservation Date
242,7362016
262,8022015
267,7892014

Domestic Law Expand all

Legal tradition Show sources
NameObservation Date
Civil law2017

Constitutional guarantees? Show sources
NameConstitution and ArticlesYear AdoptedLast Year Amended
YesThe Constitution of the Republic of Latvia, article 9419222014
Core pieces of national legislation Show sources
NameYear AdoptedLast Year Amended
Immigration Law (Imigrācijas likums)2003
Asylum Law (Patvēruma likums)2015

Immigration-status-related grounds Show sources
NameObservation Date
Detention to prevent unauthorised entry at the border2017
Detention to effect removal2017
Detention to prevent absconding2017
Detention for failing to respect non-custodial measures2017
Detention for failing to respect a voluntary removal order2017
Detention during the asylum process2017
Detention to establish/verify identity and nationality2017
Detention to ensure transfer under the Dublin Regulation2017
Non-immigration-status-related grounds providing for administrative detention in immigration legislation. Show sources
NameObservation Date
Detention on public order, threats or security grounds2017

Does the country provide specific criminal penalties for immigration-related violations? Show sources
FinesIncarcerationObservation Date
YesYes2017
Grounds for criminal immigration-related detention/incarceration and maximum potential duration of incarceration Show sources
Grounds for IncarcerationMaximum Number of Days of IncarcerationObservation Date
Unauthorized entry7302017

Maximum length for administrative immigration detention in law. Show sources
Number of DaysObservation Date
5402017
Maximum length of time in custody prior to issuance of a detention order Show sources
Number of DaysObservation Date
102017
Average length of detention Show sources
Number of DaysObservation Date
202013
182012
602011
202011
212010
382009
Maximum length of detention for asylum-seekers Show sources
Number of DaysObservation Date
602017
Maximum length of detention for persons detained upon arrival at ports of entry Show sources
Number of DaysObservation Date
22017

Provision of basic procedural standards Show sources
NameIn LawIn PracticeObservation Date
Information to detaineesYes2017
Access to free interpretation servicesYes2017
Right to appeal the lawfulness of detentionYes2017
Independent review of detentionYes2017
Right to legal counselYes2017

Types of non-custodial measures Show sources
NameIn LawIn PracticeObservation Date
Release on bailNoNo2015
Registration (deposit of documents)YesYes2014
Supervised release and/or reportingYesYes2014
Designated non-secure housingNoNo2014
Electronic monitoringNoNo2014

Is the detention of vulnerable persons provided in law? Are they detained in practice? Show sources
NameIn LawIn PracticeObservation Date
Accompanied minorsProvidedNo2016
Unaccompanied minorsProvidedNo2016
Asylum seekersProvidedNo2014
Accompanied minorsProvidedNo2014
Unaccompanied minorsProvidedNo2014

Mandatory detention Show sources
FilterNameObservation Date
No2017

International Law Expand all

Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
  13/16
Individual complaints procedure Show sources
NameAcceptance Year
CRPD, Optional Protocol to o the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities2010
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 19661994
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted Show sources
NumberObservation Date
2/7
2/7
Relevant recommendations issued by treaty bodies Show sources
NameRecommendation ExcerptRecommendation Year
Committee against Torture§ 17: d) Use detention of asylum seekers only as a measure of last resort for as short a period as possible, refrain from detaining minors and revise policy in order to bring it in line with the Guidelines on the Applicable Criteria and Standards relating to the Detention of Asylum Seekers and Alternatives to Detention of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.2013
Committee on the Rights of the Child§ 61: (a) Review the Asylum Law to exempt asylum-seeking children from detention during the asylum-seeking procedure; (b) Review the Medical Treatment Law to provide asylum-seeking children in detention with necessary advanced health treatment on an equal basis with other detained persons; (d) Continue to cooperate with UNHCR to implement the guidelines on applicable criteria and standards and to end the detention of asylum-seeking children.2016
Human Rights Committee§ 14: The State party should: (b) Amend the Asylum Law to establish safeguards against the arbitrary detention of asylum seekers; (d) Ensure that the detention of asylum seekers is used only as a measure of last resort, for the shortest possible period, and that such detention is necessary and proportionate in the light of individual circumstances, and avoid detaining minors; (e) Ensure that living conditions and treatment in all immigration detention centres are in conformity with international standards;2014

Recommendations issued by regional human rights mechanisms Show sources
NameRecommendation ExcerptRecommendation YearObservation Date
European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)§ 148: not to subject to detention pending expulsion persons who cannot be expelled. § 155: ensure that the detention of asylum seekers is used only as a last resort and that measures alternative to detention are introduced for all other cases. The authorities should ensure that when detention is ordered, the time-limit provided for by law is respected in practice.20112017
European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)

Border Guard Accommodation Centre for Detained Aliens in Daugavpils

§36: Steps to be taken to ensure that staff working in the Centre do not openly carry truncheons in detention areas; if it is deemed necessary for staff to possess such equipment, it should be hidden from view. 

20112011

Bilateral/multilateral agreements linked to readmission Show sources
NameYear in ForceObservation Date
Germany19992017
Austria20002017
Bulgaria20022017
Croatia19982017
Denmark19972017
Spain20002017
Estonia19952017
Finland19972017
France19982017
Greece20002017
Hungary20022017
Italy19972017
Lithuania19952017
Romania20042017
Slovakia19992017
Slovenia19982017
Sweden19972017
Norway19972017
Switzerland19982017
Liechtenstein19982017
Armenia20032017
Russian Federation20092017
Ukraine20032017
Uzbekistan20042017

Visits by special procedures of the Human Rights Council Show sources
NameYear of VisitObservation Date
Working Group on arbitrary detention20042017
Relevant recommendations by UN Special Procedures Show sources
NameRecommendation ExcerptRecommendation YearObservation Date
Working Group on arbitrary detention§ 86: (a) Avoid detaining people who, in the eyes of the Latvian law, are non-nationals although they were born or have long lived in Latvia and often have very strong family ties to the country; (b) Ensure that anyone detained under immigration law has effective legal means of challenging the legality of administrative decisions to detain, deport or return (refouler) him/her; (c) Extend, in practice, the right to be assisted by assigned counsel to foreigners being detained with a view to their deportation or return (refoulement); (d) Extend the time limits established under the accelerated asylum procedure, in particular in order to guarantee that people whose applications for asylum have been rejected can lodge an effective appeal; (e) Reduce the maximum time that asylum-seekers can spend in detention.20042017
Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review Show sources
Recomendation IssuedYear IssuedObservation Date
Yes20162017
No2011

Institutions Expand all

Federal or centralized governing system Show sources
Federal or centralized governing systemObservation Date
Centralized system2017
Centralized or decentralized immigration authority Show sources
Centralized or decentralized immigration authorityObservation Date
Centralized immigration authority2014

Custodial authority Show sources
AgencyMinistryMinistry TypologyObservation Date
State Border GuardMinistry of InteriorInterior or Home Affairs2014
Special Multi-Branch Prosecutor's OfficeMinistry of JusticeJustice2010
Detention Facility Management Show sources
Entity NameEntity TypeObservation Date
State Border GuardGovernmental2014
Border GuardGovernmental2010
PoliceGovernmental2006
Formally designated detention estate? Show sources
Formally designated immigration detention estate?Types of officially designated detention centresObservation Date
YesDedicated immigration detention facilities2017
Types of detention facilities used in practice Show sources
Immigration detention centre (Administrative)Immigration field office (Administrative)Transit centre (Administrative)Reception centre (Administrative)Offshore detention centre (Administrative)Hospital (Administrative)Border guard (Administrative)Police station (Criminal)National penitentiary (Criminal)Local prison (Criminal)Juvenile detention centre (Criminal)Informal camp (Ad hoc)Immigration detention centre (Ad hoc)Surge facility (Ad hoc)Observation Date
Yes2017

Authorized monitoring institutions Show sources
InstitutionInstitution TypeObservation Date
Latvian Centre for Human RightsNon-Governmental Organizations (NGO)2017
Ombudsman's Office of the Republic of LatviaNational Human Rights Institution (or Ombudsperson) (NHRI)2016
European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) International or Regional Bodies (IRBs)2011
Is the national human rights institution (NHRI) recognized as independent? Show sources
Is the NHRI recognized as independent by the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions?Observation Date
Yes2015
Does NHRI carry out visits? Show sources
Does NHRI carry out visits in practice?Observation Date
Yes2015
Does NHRI have capacity to receive complaints? Show sources
Does NHRI have capacity to receive complaints?Observation Date
Yes2015
Does NHRI publicly release reports on immigration detention? Show sources
Does NHRI publicly release reports on immigration detention?Observation Date
Yes2014
Do NGOs carry out visits? Show sources
Do NGOs regularly carry our visits?Observation Date
Yes2017
Do NGOs publish reports on immigration detention? Show sources
Do NGOs publish reports on immigration detention?Observation Date
Yes2015
Do international and/or regional bodies (IRBs) visit immigration-related detention facilities? Show sources
Do international and/or regional bodies (IRB) regularly visit immigration-related detention facilities?Observation Date
Yes2011
Do IRBs publicly report their findings from inspections? Show sources
Do IRBs publicly report their findings from detention inspections?Observation Date
Yes2011

Estimated annual budget for detention operations Show sources
Estimated total annual budget for detention operations (in USD)Building and maintenanceSecurityStaffingFoodMedicalTransportObservation Date
5,675YesYesYes2013

Socio Economic Data Expand all

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD) Show sources
Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)Observation Date
15,7192014
13,9472012
Remittances to the country Show sources
Remittances to the country (in millions USD)Observation Date
7902015
6952011
Remittances from the country Show sources
Remittances from the country (in millions USD)Observation Date
432010
Unemployment Rate Show sources
Unemployment RateObservation Date
102014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP) Show sources
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)UNDP four-tiered rankingObservation Date
46Very high2015
48Very high2014

Country Links


Additional Resources


Immigration Detention in Latvia

Despite having only a very small number of unauthorized entries, Latvia has described the situation at its borders with Russia and Belarus as “alarming.” Its law provides for an extended period of detention without court order, allows for the detention of children over the age of 14, and lacks provisions ensuring that the detention of […]

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