Fundamental Rights and Latvian Constitution (1918–1934)
Keywords:Latvia, constitution, fundamental rights
The Latvian road towards inclusion of the fundamental rights catalogue in the constitution started with proclamation of the state on November 18, 1918. The initial transitional constitutions already included according to their laconic style rather extensive guarantees of the fundamental rights. Mostly that means guarantees for national minorities. In the inter-war period, the catalogue of the fundamental rights was not considered as a significant component of the constitution content. The norms of the catalogue were generally perceived as “declarative slogans”, which had little practical significance. Much greater importance was assigned by the politicians and jurists to the laws adopted by the parliament with regards to the procedure of implementing certain fundamental rights. Latvian Constitutional Assembly has included “The Basic regulations regarding rights and regulations of the citizens” as a second part of the Constitution. The German Weimar Constitution of August 11, 1919 was used as a pattern for the draft of this part of the Constitution. The draft of the second part of Constitution prescribed a range of civic and political individual rights and freedoms. Parallel to that, the draft of the second part of the Constitution contained articles, which prescribed the state responsibility to protect the nationally-cultural autonomy of minorities, monuments of art, history, and nature, as well as marriage as the foundation of the family. The second part of the Constitution also dealt with the some social matters. Unfortunately, the second part of the Constitution was not adopted, leaving the regulation of this matter for the upcoming generations, which was completed only ten years ago.