By John Jalsevac

LATVIA, June 28, 2006 ( – Amnesty International has publicly condemned Latvia for refusing to pass legislation that would have included “sexual orientation” in employment anti-discrimination laws.

The legislation went before the Latvian parliament several weeks ago, where it was rejected for reasons centering largely on Latvia’s family-friendly tradition and beliefs and the fear that passing such legislation could significantly erode traditional family values.

The Latvian president Vike-Freiberga vetoed the amended legislation, requesting that the Latvian parliament reconsider. In a letter to the Latvian parliament president Vike-Freiberga said that despite the fact that the legislative body had determined that existing anti-discrimination laws were sufficient, and that there was no reason to specify “sexual orientation” in suchÂlegislation, thatÂLatvia’s entrance into the EU required the passage of the legislation.

Amnesty International has applauded Vike-Freiberga’s decision, and has called on her to continue to veto anti-discriminationÂlegislation that does not include “sexual orientation.”

“Amnesty International,” reads the organization’s open letter on the matter, “calls on the Latvian parliament to include sexual orientation as a ground for discrimination on the labour market as soon as possible. Amnesty International reminds the Latvian authorities that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a human rights violation.”

The letter also addresses what they allege are past “LGBT issues which have marred Latvia’s human rights record.” In particular AI accuses Latvia of discrimination for refusing to allow a Gay Pride march in July of 2005, adding that in the debates surrounding the march “several government and local government representative made statements that can be interpreted as homophobic.”

This latest move has confirmed the ever-increasing fears of many supporters of AI that the organization is well on the road to becoming just another anti-life/anti-family tool of the left, masquerading as a “human rights” organization. In particular many of AI’s supporters have vocally condemned AI’s recent decision to move towards advocating for abortion as an international human right.

Recently the Vatican came out and condemned AI’s move towards pro-abortion activism. Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, was quoted as saying ““I have great esteem for Amnesty but doing this, they cut off their hands. I hope they don’t do this because if they do, they are disqualified as defenders of human rights.”“When they say ‘reproductive rights’, they mean abortion. Do they defend the rights of everybody? No! Not of the unborn because the unborn will be killed.”

See related coverage:

Amnesty International Considers Pushing Enforcement of Abortion as Human Right

Vatican Condemns Amnesty International’s Move Towards Abortion Advocacy

Latvia Defies EU, Again: No “Sexual-Orientation” Language in Employment Discrimination Laws



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