Sham marriages categorized as ‘trafficking’

  • 2012-11-14
  • From wire reports

RIGA - Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics met with visiting Irish European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton on Nov. 8 to discuss key issues of bilateral cooperation between Latvia and Ireland, possibilities for further economic cooperation and joint work within international organizations, as well as the problems of sham marriages and emotional violence on the Internet, reports LETA.

Rinkevics emphasized the need for both countries to continue their cooperation in addressing the problem of sham marriages. The Latvian foreign minister called on Ireland to work on a resolution of this issue by recognizing sham marriages to be a form of human trafficking. The Foreign Ministry says that more than 1,000 marriages between Latvian nationals and third-country nationals have been concluded in Ireland since 2004, with a majority of them being marriages of convenience or sham marriages.

Concerning the recent deaths of two girls in Ireland that are being associated with emotional violence on the Internet, Foreign Minister Rinkevics expressed his deepest condolences to his Irish colleague and the families of both girls. He said that a debate has also been launched in Latvia as to the responsibility of social media in cases where hateful comments appear on the Internet.

The minister, though, said that neither the Web nor social media as such can be held fully responsible for the manifestations of hate, intolerance and aggression in any form propagated by specific individuals. It is family and school that play the main role in the elimination of these problems.

As the ministers discussed cooperation between both countries within international organizations, Rinkevics accentuated the importance of Ireland’s support, as the next country to assume the EU Presidency, in Latvia’s aspirations of joining the eurozone and membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It was also stressed that the EU needs to facilitate closer cooperation with the countries involved in the EU Eastern Partnership initiative.

Meanwhile, Minister Creighton introduced the Latvian foreign minister to Ireland’s preparations for its Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2013. Creighton outlined the priorities of her country’s presidency - promoting economic growth and creating jobs in Europe, work on the enhancement of the EU’s common market and economic governance, as well as promoting foreign trade.