Justice Minister Dzintars Rasnacs’ behaviour in relation to the Istanbul Convention is unacceptable. There have to be some form of consequences for it, said Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis in an interview to 900 seconds programme of LNT.
According to the President, Latvia’s Justice Ministry confuses politics with rights, which is unacceptable. Vejonis believes its only serves to discredit the court justice system in general, as up until now there has been some confidence that the ministry could provide legal and independent reports on any matter.
«It is a matter for the coalition and the Prime Minister to resolve. The coalition has to decide what to do after such behaviour by the ministry and the minister,» – said the President.
Vejonis explains that he sees no conflict between the convention and Latvia’s Constitution.
On Tuesday, 10 May, Latvia’s government will decide on whether or not Latvia should join the Istanbul Convention.
Parties of the ruling coalition in Latvia all have different opinions in regards to signing the convention. Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis mentioned after the coalition’s meeting on Monday that ministers will address this matter after discussing all possible opinions. According to the Prime Minister, the convention will have to be signed with a condition that Latvia would support it only as far as it does not go against the country’s Constitution.
Justice Minister Dzintars Rasnacs said the government will discuss three major opinions: the Justice Ministry’s opinion to not sign the convention, Welfare Ministry’s and Foreign Affairs Ministry’s opinion to sign the convention in accordance with the Constitution and the third opinion – the sign the convention without compliance with the Constitution.
Rasnacs is certain there is no majority of votes in the Saeima to support the signing of the convention. He added that ministers of the National Alliance will not support the signing of the convention.
Unity believes the signing of the Istanbul Convention and its ratification in Latvia should not be delayed.
It was previously mentioned that the government may support Latvia’s partial joining of the Istanbul Convention – the country would support the convention only as far as it does not breach the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia.
Welfare Ministry’s prepared report mentions that the convention includes a compilation of legislative measures to help safeguard women from violence.
However, Latvian Justice Ministry has submitted a report to the Cabinet of Ministers in relation to the government’s order to carry out a legislative analysis of the Istanbul Convention’s possible impact on Latvia’s legislative system.
The report states that the Istanbul Convention ‘blatantly ignores’ both Section 112 of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia and parents’ rights to secure education for their children, as listed in international human rights documents. In addition, the Convention allegedly does not take into account parents’ religious freedom, which is closely tied to parents’ freedom to educate their children in accordance with their religious and philosophic views.
It is also claimed in the report that the convention forces member states to add changes to people’s way of thinking. Such a requirement does not comply with Section 99 and Section 100 of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia, which state that every person in Latvia has the right to think in accordance with their beliefs and freely express their beliefs as long as it does not breach the fundamental rights of other people. In addition, Section 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia excludes the possibility of the state forcing its people ideals of a single ideology, as mentioned in the report.
«If Latvia joins the Istanbul Convention, this will result in legislators cancelling one of the most important fundamental rights in Latvia – equality in the eyes of the law. This will a priori the discrimination of men – discrimination based on gender without any rational justification,» mentioned in the report.