Human Rights Report of the US Department of State

15/03/2007
Submitted by Svyatoslav Sementsov, TEMA

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2006
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
March 6, 2007
--
Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination


Homosexuality is not illegal; however societal discrimination against
homosexuals was a problem. Homophobia was widespread, and instances of
harassment occurred in all spheres of society. According to the local
TEMA gay rights group, government-controlled media tried to decrease
participation in the protests following the March presidential
election by saying they were part of a "gay revolution." In 2005 state
media attempted to discredit the opposition by associating it with
homosexuality. On July 31, state media BT broadcast on national
television a police expose of a Latvian diplomat assigned to the
country whom authorities accused of distributing pornography (see
section 1.f.). The program targeted the diplomat because of his sexual
orientation and included several minutes of hidden-camera footage of
the diplomat watching pornography and engaging in homosexual
activities. The police dropped the investigation in October.

On November 8, police raided an apartment where TEMA members gathered
to organize an international Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual
Conference scheduled for November 10. Police seized conference
materials and detained members for questioning at a police station.
Four TEMA activists were released; three remained in detention over
night. TEMA leaders subsequently canceled the conference.

Societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS remained a
problem despite greater awareness of the disease and increasing
tolerance towards people infected with HIV/AIDS. For example,
maternity wards no longer separate HIV/AIDS-infected mothers from
those not infected. However, the UNAIDS office reported that attitudes
towards HIV/AIDS patients remained complicated, and there were still
numerous reports of HIV-infected individuals who faced discrimination
or were afraid to disclose their illness.

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