Association

The freedom to form associations is respected in law and in practice, although amendments in 2017 to the Law on Associations and Foundations have tightened the rules applicable to the operation and financing of civil society organisations. In addition, and due to the problematic legacy of forced voluntarism, there is a reluctance within Latvian society to form and join civil society groups. While people are free to pursue almost all causes through CSOs, LGBTI persons and human rights groups face discrimination and public vilifcation, including on social media. Recent amendments to the Education Law do not recognise LGBTI marriages and a 2005 amendment to the constitution banned same-sex marriages. Minority groups have also reported problems with discrimination in the past. Workers are allowed to form trade unions and to use collective bargaining. In recent years, civil society groups have become concerned about perceived attempts by the government to weaken the sector, including by reducing funding streams to civil society and excluding CSOs from policy discussions.