Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Office, we tell about our most important fields of activity. This week, the focus is on the asylum.
Read our latest article and find out:
When did Latvia first face the asylum issues?
In what year was the accommodation centre for asylum seekers established?
Latvia first faced asylum issues at the end of 1994, when the ship "Katrana" with more than 100 people on board went from Riga to Sweden, but ran aground near Saaremaa, Estonia. The Latvian authorities needed to find a solution on what to do with people on board. Under the mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, these persons were recognised as refugees and were received by the Scandinavian countries.
First Asylum Law and Accommodation Centre for Asylum Seekers
In order to be able to provide protection to persons in need, in 1997 the Saeima adopted the first law “On Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the Republic of Latvia”. At the same time, the Refugee Affairs Centre was established, which was one of the structural units of the Office.
A year later, in January 1998, the “Mucenieki” accommodation centre for asylum seekers was opened.
Extension of powers
In 2016, a new Asylum Law entered into force, which significantly expanded the functions of the Office in the field of asylum affairs.
The Asylum Affairs Division began to make decisions on granting or refusing the refugee or alternative status, and also became responsible for interviewing asylum seekers in Latvia.