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Documents of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities

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In conclusion, Mr Minister, I should like to summarize my recommendations as follows: 1) it is desirable that the tests of the history and the Constitution of Latvia as required in the naturalisation process will be maintained, but in simplified form; 2) it is of importance for applicants for citizenship from the lower income groups that the naturalisation fee be reduced; 3) the so-called 'window' system laid down in the Law on Citizenship ought to be abolished; 4) Latvia ought to start the granting of Latvian citizenship to children in Latvia who are presently stateless or who would become stateless at birth, in accordance with Article 7, paragraph 2, of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Latvia is a party. I want to stress that I am not arguing for an automatic granting of citizenship to this category of children. Parents will have to show interest by making an application. In addition, it is in my view reasonable and in accordance with the European Convention on Nationality and the Convention on the Rights of the Child if Latvia would require lawful and habitual residence for a period of five years immediately preceding the lodging of such an application. These are the proposals I want to submit to you, Mr Minister. I am looking forward with great interest to your reply.


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