MINELRES: Equal Rights Trust: Latvias pension law amendments contrary to equality

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sun Oct 4 11:17:41 2009

Original sender: Equal Rights Trust <equalrightstrust1@response.pure360.com>

‘Leveling Down’ Pensions in Latvia Does Not Remedy Discrimination  

London, 01 October 2009  
On 30 September 2009, The Equal Rights Trust (ERT) submitted an expert
opinion on the proposed amendments to the State Pensions Act to Latvia’s
Saeima (Parliament).  The amendments in question are a response to the
European Court of Human Rights judgment in the case of Andrejeva v.
Latvia (application no. 55707/00, judgment of 18 February 2009). 

In the Andrejeva decision the Strasbourg court found that Latvia had
discriminated against non-citizens as compared to citizens, in not
recognising their employment before 1991 by organisations which had been
legally registered in former Soviet republics other than Latvia, as
counting towards pensions. 

In its six-page submission ERT argues that the proposed amendments,
which aim to end discrimination against non-citizens with respect to
pension entitlements by reducing or “leveling down” the pension
entitlements for both citizens and non-citizens are contrary to Latvia’s
international legal obligations, and to the object and purpose of
domestic equality legislation. 

ERT’s submission explains that: 

• The leveling down of entitlements is contrary to Latvia’s obligations
under international and European law. 
• Comments and guidance issued by the UN Committee on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights and the European Commission indicate that regressive
measures are not justifiable in order to meet non-discrimination
• The European Court of Justice has ruled out the possibility to
“leveling down” in order to end practices of discrimination on grounds
of sex, and this principle should apply in respect to other types of

The amendments in question are currently awaiting a second reading,
having been adopted at first reading on 27 August 2009. ERT appealed to
the Latvian parliament to reconsider, in the second reading stage, the
amendments to the State Pensions Act and vote for the adoption of
amendments which would harmonise upwards the pension entitlement of the
non-citizens to those of citizens of similar employment history. 

To read ERT submission, click here:

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