Latvia > Declaration on the Accession to Human Rights Instruments

    { Adopted on: 10 Dec 1991 }
    { Superceded in: 1998 }
    { ICL Document Status: 10 Dec 1991 }

    { Editor's Note:
    The ICL edition is based on the translation kindly provided by Martin Scheinin.  This law is no longer in force.  It has been replaced by Chapter VIII of the Constitution as amended in 1998. }


Section 1  General Regulations

Article 1
A person, his/her existence, liberty, honor and rights are the highest fundamental values of the State of Latvia.
Article 2
Each person has the right to all actions which are not prohibited by law.
Article 3
The State's responsibility is to protect each person, his/her existence, freedom, security, honor, rights and property.

Section 2  Citizenship; The Rights and Obligations of a Citizen

Article 4
(1) Republic of Latvia citizenship is a person's stable political and legal link with the Republic of Latvia.
(2) The content of citizenship is shaped by the totality of the mutually binding rights and responsibilities of the citizen and the State.
Article 5
(1) The rights and responsibilities of all citizens are equal, regardless of the manner in which citizenship is obtained.
(2) Republic of Latvia citizenship may be obtained, maintained and lost only according to the procedures stipulated by law.
(3) Upon becoming a Republic of Latvia citizen, dual citizenship cannot be created.
Article 6
The Republic of Latvia does not extradite its citizens.
Article 7
Republic of Latvia citizens abroad are under the protection of the State of Latvia.
Article 8
(1) Citizens participate in the determination of state and social issues directly or through the mediation of freely-elected representatives.
(2) Citizens have equal rights to hold state office.
(3) Citizens have the right to establish political parties.
Article 9
Land and other natural resources nay be transferred into ownership or sold only to citizens, except for those cases for which international treaties signed by the Republic of Latvia determine a different procedure.
Article 10
(1) A citizen may freely choose his/her residence in any part of Latvia's territory.
(2) Citizens have the right to freely leave Latvia and to freely return to Latvia.
Article 11
(1) A citizen must be loyal to the Republic of Latvia and has the right and responsibility to defend its freedom, independence and democratic parliamentary system.
(2) A citizen must fulfill mandatory state service and other obligations to the state as determined by law.
(3) A citizen has the right to possess registered weapons.

Section 3  Rights and obligations of a person

Article 12
All persons in Latvia are equal under the law regardless of race, nationality, sex, language, party affiliation, political, and religious persuasion, social, material and occupational standing and origin.
Article 13
The death penalty can be determined by a court only in exceptional cases for particularly serious crimes.
Article 14
Each person has the right to resist unlawful violence with all existing legal means at his/her disposal.
Article 15
(1) Detainment, imprisonment, searches or other restrictions of a person's freedom are permissible only in accordance with the procedures stipulated by law.
(2) Each person is guaranteed the right to an attorney upon the moment of his/her detention.
(3) The law determines the maximum terms of detainment, imprisonment and preliminary investigation.
(4) Within seventy-two hours from a person's detention, a judge must issue a court order to sanction the person's arrest and further detention or to order the immediate release of such person.
(5) Torture or other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of a person is prohibited.
(6) Unlawful forced medical treatment, as well as the forced use of medicine for the purpose of obtaining from a person his/her testimony, his/her refusal to testify his/her statement of a particular viewpoint, or for the purpose to restrict the person's freedom of expression, is prohibited.
Article 16
(1) A persons residence is inviolable.
(2) No person has the right to enter a residence without the permission of its residents or to conduct a search without the order of a judge, except for those instances when a person is being detained at the scene of a crime or the lives of other persons are endangered.
Article 17
(1) The State guarantees the confidentiality of correspondence, telephone conversations, telegraph and other communications.
(2) These rights may be restricted by a judges order for the investigation of serious crimes.
Article 18
(1) Each person has the right to defend his/her rights and interests in court.
(2) Each person is presumed innocent as long as his/her guilt is not proven in court in accordance with law.
(3) Only the court may find a person guilty of a crime in accordance with the laws in effect at the time of the offense.
(4) Each person has the right to a just, public review of his/her matter by a competent, independent and objective court, which is formed in accordance with law.
(5) Each person has the right to the assistance of an attorney, as well as the right not to testify against him/herself and his/her family members.
(6) Criminal responsibility may only be individual.
(7) Each unlawfully arrested or convicted person has the right to compensation for his/her material and moral injuries.
Article 19
(1) Convicted persons have all the human right mentioned in this Law, except those which are restricted by law or by the court's order.
(2) Each convicted person must work according to his/her physical and mental abilities.
(3) Convicted persons may not be deprived of their rights to paid employment, as well as to rest, health care, the exercise of established cultural values, education and personal development.
Article 20
(1) Forced labour is prohibited.
(2) Mandatory state service involvement in the liquidation of disastrous effects and reformatory labour prescribed in accordance with a court order are not considered to be forced labour.
Article 21
(1) The State recognizes and protects property and its rights of inheritance.
(2) A person may own any property, except for property referred to in the restrictions stated in Article 9.
(3) The forced expropriation of property shall occur solely by a court decision in accordance with the procedures prescribed by law. If the property is expropriated for the realization of the  public project, then appropriate compensation is due to the owner.
Article 22
Each person has the right to engage in entrepreneurial activity which is not contrary to law.
Article 23
Each person has the right to freely choose his/her profession, occupation and employer.
Article 24
Each person has the right, in accordance with an employment contract, to such wages which are not less than the state-determined minimum wage.
Article 25
(1) The maximum length of the work week is determined by law.
(2) Employees have the right to weekly days off and to annual paid vacations.
Article 26
(1) Employees have the right to strike in order to protect their economic or professional interests.
(2) These rights are restricted by law in order to guarantee the operation of necessary services to the public.
Article 27
(1) Each person has the right to material security in old age, during illness, or in the event of total or partial disability, as well as in the case of the loss of the breadwinner.
(2) Each person has the right to unemployment benefits if he/she has no other means of subsistence and if the unemployment has arisen due to circumstances beyond his/her control.
Article 28
(1) Each person has the right to freely depart for or emigrate to foreign countries.
(2) These rights may not be restricted on the basis of political or ideological motives.
Article 29
Each person has the right to freely move within the territory of Latvia.
Article 30
(1) Each person has the right to freely acquire and disseminate information, to express his/her views and ideas in oral, written or any other form. The realization of these rights must, not be restricted by censorship.
(2) No one may be forced to express his/her political, religious, ethical or other views, as well as his/her party affiliation.
Article 31
(1) All people have the right to form public organizations and to participate in their activities if the goals and practical actions of such organizations are not contrary to law.
(2) It is prohibited to form secret organizations and armed units which are not subject to the jurisdiction of the Republic of Latvia Government and administrative institutions.
Article 32
(1) The State guarantees freedom of assembly for previously-announced peaceful gatherings, meetings, street processions and demonstrations.
(2) The local government may change the time or place of such events, if such is required in the interests of public safety and order.
Article 33
The State guarantees freedom for creative work and protects patent rights and copyrights.
Article 34
Each person has the right to turn to the institutions of the State government and administration with individual or collective submissions or proposals and to receive an answer in accordance with the procedures prescribed by law.
Article 35
(1) The State is separate from the church.
(2) The State guarantees the freedom of religious persuasion.
(3) People or their associations have the right to practice religious rituals and ceremonies.
(4) No one may be forced to participate in religious rituals and ceremonies, or to learn religious doctrine.
(5) Religious or ideological motives do not free anyone from their responsibilities to the State and the necessity of observing the law.
Article 36
(1) Family and marital rights, as well as the rights of and children are protected by the State.
(2) The basis of marriage is the voluntary union of a woman and a well as their legal equality.
(3) The care and upbringing of children is in the first instance the right and responsibility of the parents or the guardians.
(4) Society and the State provide that the parents or the guardians are able to fulfill their responsibilities to their children.
(5) Children born within wedlock and those born out of wedlock have equal rights.
(6) The State guarantees special assistance and protection to children who are left without the care of their parents.
Article 37
(1) Everyone has the right to medical care.
(2) Everyone has the responsibility to care for their own health and that of their family and society.
(3) The State protects the health of the public and guarantees each person with the minimum level of medical assistance determined by law.
Article 38
(1) Each person has the right to an education.
(2) The State guarantees the opportunity to acquire an education free of charge, as well as to secure further education appropriate to each person's capabilities.
Article 39
The parents responsibility is to secure their children's education appropriate to their capabilities and the requirements of mandatory education.
Article 40
Persons and their societies have the right to establish educational institutions of various levels with any language of instruction. The acquisition of education in such schools is under the State's supervision.
Article 41
Each person has the responsibility to observe the laws of the Republic of Latvia to respect the customs and traditions of the Latvian people and of the national and ethnic groups living in Latvia as well as to respect the national pride of other persons.
Article 42
Everyone participates in the discharge of State and local government expenses, by paying taxes and levies in accordance with the procedures set by law.
Article 43
The protection of nature cultural centers, historical and architectural monuments and the environment is the responsibility of each person, the entire society and the State.
Article 44
Necessary restrictions on people's rights and freedom may be determined by law in order to:
1) protect the rights honor health and morals of other people;
2) guarantee State security, public order and peace.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - 27.6.2020 / Translation provided by M. Scheinin.
For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.