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Foreign minister wants Latvian "vaccinated" against racism

Feb 08, 2006

RIGA 's While visiting an exhibition on Afro-American history, Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks said that Latvians needed to be "vaccinated" against racism and intolerance.

He pointed out that Latvia has in recent years gained ill repute for its racist attitudes and attacks on persons with dark skin.

"We have spent centuries in a society where all people have similar appearance. We have learned to respect other cultures but lack experience in dealing with xenophobia and prejudice against people with different skin color," Pabriks said.

Over the past year the number of attacks against blacks and Jews has risen in Latvia, and Pabriks' words are the strongest yet from a public official about the need to address the country's prejudice and racism.

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