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Tuesday 24.01.2017 | Name days: Krišs, Eglons, Ksenija
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Some of the refugees coming to Latvia may be Muslims

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIt is not impossible that some of the 250 refugees meant for resettlement in Latvia will be Muslims. However, religious belief is not the main criterion by which refugees will be approved or disapproved for entry in Latvia, says State Secretary to Latvian Interior Ministry Ilze Petersone-Godmane.

Refugees will not be divided based on their nationality. In addition, it is currently unknown where potential refugees may come from.

«I cannot say we will accept only Syrians. The main criterion, according to the Geneva Convention, is when people are in dire need of international protection. This criterion is persecution in another country. But I cannot say whether or not we may see Muslim refugees. Each of these people will be assessed individually. Today’s talks have proven that churches are ready to speak with their communities and help support refugees,» – said Petersone-Godmane.

She reminded that the first refugees may arrive in Latvia in winter.

The refugee matter will be touched upon at the 14 September EU Interior Ministers extraordinary meeting. Godmane-Petersone believes the main challenge ahead lies in the question as to how many people actually require asylum and how many of potential refugees flee their countries to search for a better life. The latter is neatly demonstrated by the desire of refugees in Hungary to relocate to Germany.

«Europe does have a clear position on this matter – we help only those who are actual refugees, everyone else will have to return home. The challenge ahead of Europe is sending those people home,» – said the official.

In regard to public concerns that members of ISIS may enter Latvia under the guise of refugees, the official said if someone wishes to enter Latvia to carry out some provocation or act of terror, they do not need to use such a complicated mechanism, live in refugee sectors and wait for approval.

Petersone-Godmane’s led work group, which is tasked with developing a system for resettlement of 250 refugees in Latvia, gathered for a meeting on 3 September. Representatives of municipalities and religious organizations took part in this meeting.

As special inter-institutional work group has been creates in order to develop an asylum system that would meet Latvia’s conditions and capabilities.

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