Republic of Moldova DIMITRU SLIUSARENCO, Promo Lex
It is my honor to present the progress of the Republic of Moldova in implementing CERD, in view of Promo-LEX Association and our partners.
Despite some, I would say “unfocused” efforts of Moldovan authorities to fight racial discrimination, it remains one of the most sensible issues for our society. In this respect, we have to recognize the efforts undertaken to adopt the Law 121 on ensuring equality and the establishment of Equality Council, which, unfortunately remains, since 2012, the best achievement of Moldovan authorities.
I will further present the most actual issues, related to racial discrimination that Moldova faced in the last five years and continue to face. Moldova lacks concrete and efficient actions to combat social stigma and intolerance. Hence there is an incomparable high level of intolerance for Roma people as compared to other ethnic groups, being associated with such stereotypes as ”thieves, liars, beggars, lazy, dirty”. The persons of Muslim religion represent another highly discriminated group, with such associations as “aggressive, fanatics, terrorists, and extremists”. Just to exemplify the high level of intolerance in society I would bring the example of 2014, Equality Council’s ex-officio investigation about the racist basis for the naming of a new beef burger. The product made use of black bread and was called the “O.N.O.J.E”. Mr. John Onoje is a black Moldovan citizen. The product was promoted through social media, leading to public discussions that have violated Mr. Onoje’s human dignity. There are no doubts that the intention was to humiliate the person on the ground of his skin color, showing thus their own ethnic superiority. Another case concerned racial profiling of a Roma women (which is by the way a common practice in Moldova), Ms. Novacovici was apprehended by two persons who identified themselves as police officers. She was informed that she matched the description of a suspect of a crime. The description was “Gypsy woman, height 160–165cm, hair put tightly in a bun and black jacket.” In the police station, Ms. Novacovici was subject to further examination and interrogated by the police officers, who refused to provide her with any further information about why she was being detained. Her interrogation and placement under police custody continued for more than 7 hours, without any court order or justified reason.
In the 2016’s presidential campaign, hate speech expanded largely, affecting mainly four groups as follows: LGBT, Women, Ethnic minorities and Unionists. Homophobic and gender hate speech was the most used in the campaign, because one of the main candidates, Maia Sandu, unmarried women, which was associated in different contexts with LGBT group. Even though, hate speech based on racial and ethnic ground had also a strong presence.
The most obvious case of hate speech towards ethnic minorities was the so-called “30 000 Syrian refugees of Maia Sandu”. At the end of October 2016, it appeared a news, which stated that Maia Sandu has agreed with Angela Merkel to take in Moldova 30.000 refugees after she wins the elections. The news said that Europe is in a huge refugee crisis and European leaders found the solution, to bring refugees in Moldova. This news started a huge wave of hate in society, on social networks and media. It revealed strong prejudices against ethnic and religious minorities and refugees. In fact, it was a fake news, which started as a satire article. The impact of this news was so huge that in some regions, all over Moldova, people believed that they will be forced to “adopt” a refuge, which the majority.