No physical attacks against minorities were reported. However, NGOs representing minority groups claimed that official statistics underreported the actual number of incidents.
During the year the security police reviewed 34 applications or complaints connected to possible incitement of ethnic or racial hatred. Of these, authorities initiated criminal procedures in 12 cases. These complaints generally involved hate speech on the Internet. During the year the ombudsman's office received seven written complaints of racial or ethnic discrimination, compared with two in 2010.
In December a defendant pled guilty to a charge of inciting ethnic hatred in connection with derogatory Internet comments about Russian-speakers. Sentencing was pending at the end of the year.
In June security police charged an Internet portal commentator for hate speech and making derogatory comments online about Latvians, Poles, and Jews. The defendant pled guilty and was given a 10-month suspended sentence.
The Romani community, estimated to number approximately 8,000, historically has faced widespread societal discrimination and high levels of unemployment and illiteracy. The government had a national action plan to address problems affecting the Romani community with respect to employment, education, and human rights; however, observers criticized the plan for lacking adequate funding to improve conditions for Roma substantially.
Race, Racism and the Law
Vernellia R. Randall
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