Latvia: violence against LGBT people not taken seriously?

In the town of Tukums in Latvia, a 29-year-old man was allegedly set on fire in a suspected homophobic hate crime. The man had received threats prior to the attack and had contacted the police, but they had failed to take action. Acceptance of sexual minorities is generally low in Latvia: most of its political parties and its influential Orthodox Church oppose any extension of their rights. The press finds the constellation worrying.

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Diena (LV) /

This is a crime, so please solve it

The victim's sexual orientation must not play any part in the investigation, Diena stresses:

“Normal people, in other words the majority of the Latvian population, simply want the crime to be solved. They're not interested in the sexual orientation of the victim, although it will certainly play a role in the investigation. There are reasonable doubts as to whether an investigation by the local police will inspire confidence in this regard. ... Even if the public is at odds over its values, it would make sense if it could at least agree that the police should do their job professionally. And that every member of society can be sure that their life and health will be protected.”

Tvnet (LV) /

A dictatorship of dark dogmas

Politics, the Church and society bear the responsibility, says web portal Tvnet:

“Conservative political groups have long been in power in this country, and together with the Church and political forces financed by post-Soviet oligarchs they are trying to turn the country into a dictatorial zone of dark dogmas. ... Not for nothing do studies show that Latvia is one of the most homophobic countries in Europe. All we 'lack' now is LGBT-free zones like those in Poland, or a telephone number like that in China which you can call to denounce 'dissenters' and have them arrested.”