The existing criterion for claiming automatic citizenship is based on whether or not the individual was a citizen of Latvia (or is the descendant of such a citizen) when the country was illegally occupied by the Soviets in June 1940. This legal basis for granting citizenship has been accepted by the United Nations. The report by their Centre for Human Rights states:
. . . it cannot be said that Latvia is in breach of international law by the way it determines the criteria for granting citizenship (13 November 1992, para 31).
The fact that about 25 per cent of Latvia's current population was encouraged to migrate to Latvia by an occupying power gives these individuals no legal right to automatic citizenship. Under such circumstances, the refusal of automatic citizenship is not a form of discrimination.
Embassy of Latvia
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