Emine Bozkurt MEP:
“I salute her for standing up for European law”
BRUSSELS, June 21, 2006 – The European Parliament’s
Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights has welcomed today’s decision by the
Latvian President to send back to parliament the Labour Law which excluded
sexual orientation from anti-discrimination provisions.
In a letter to the President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, signed
by Intergroup president Michael Cashman and vice presidents Sophie in 't
Veld, Raúl Romeva and Alexander Stubb, The group described her decision as
And other MEPs, including Emine Bozkurt, have praised the
“We are heartened by your action and convinced that
through your political commitment to non-discrimination, symbolised by your
action today, the LGBT community in Latvia will benefit from greater
protection as enshrined in European Law,” the letter for the Intergroup
“We like to offer you our thanks and on-going support for
your stance. We are convinced that you will do everything necessary and
within your powers as President to ensure your country respects her EU
obligations whilst promoting and defending the interests of minorities.”
President Vike-Freiberga today asked the Latvian
Parliament to revise the amendments to the Labor Law it passed last week.
In a letter to Ingrida Udre, Vike-Freiberga, Parliament’s
Speaker, the president wrote that a person’s right to employment is not tied
with his or her private life, which is protected by the Constitution.
“Considering the above-mentioned, as well as the fact
that the ban on discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation would
equally protect both individuals with conventional sexual orientation as
well as homosexuals, I see a logical reason to place this kind of
discrimination alongside race, colour, gender, age, disability, religious,
political or other belief, ethnic or social origin, financial or marital
status,” the president wrote.
Joining the praise for the Latvian President was Emine
Bozkurt, a Dutch social-democrat MEP.
“I salute her for standing up for European law,” said
Bozkurt in a statement today.
But Ms. Bozkurt insisted that 'Latvia needs to stick to
EU law and has to ban discrimination of lesbians and gay men.
“.The [European] Commission has to take action against
countries who defy the very basis of the EU,” she insisted.
“It is unthinkable that Latvia just ignores existing EU
law. We saw this coming a year ago. I asked the Commission then to follow
up and extend the Waaldijk Report on the transposition of the
employment anti-discrimination directive to the new member states.”
Ms. Bozkurt pointed out that last week’s vote was the
seventh time that the Latvian parliament rejects a law proposal to protect
gays and lesbians in the job market.
“This debate, as well as previous ones, was characterised
by homophobic and denigrating remarks by Latvian parliamentarians,” she
Emine Bozkurt wants the European Union to examine how the
right to a discrimination-free work environment is put into practise in the
different member states. The public debate can be called homophobic in a
number of countries, not only in Latvia, but also, for example, in Poland.
Bozkurt is afraid that the translation into practise
fails in these member states.
Hopes That Latvian President Will Reject New Anti-Gay
Employment Law Following High-Level Talks. Following high-level
talks today, there is good reason to believe that the Latvian President, Vaira
Viķe-Freiberga, will reject the employment law passed last week by
Parliament after references to discrimination on grounds of sexuality were
removed. (UK Gay News, June 20, 2006)
Gay Activists At Presidential Office to Discuss Labour
Law as Youth Group Seeks Referendum on Gay Pride. Latvian gay
human rights group Mozaika is joining other human rights organisation and
representatives from government ministries for discussions on last weeks
vote by the Parliament to delete ‘sexual orientation’ from the
anti-discrimination article of the country’s Labour Law.
(UK Gay News, June 20, 2006)
Latvian Parliament Decision on Excluding Gays From Labour
Laws Is Condemned Across Europe. European politicians have reacted
strongly today to the decision of the Latvian Parliament to delete
references to sexual orientation from the country’s labour laws which are
to be introduced as a requirement of European Union membership. Even Latvian Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks criticised
(UK Gay News, June 16, 2006)
Parliament Confirms Anti-Gay as Member of OSCE Delegation. The
Latvian Parliament today approved Dainis Turlais, MP, to be included as a
member of the Latvian delegation within the Parliamentary Assembly of the
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). (UK Gay News,
June 1, 2006)