The Moldovan authorities submitted a report on the implementation of two priority recommendations made earlier by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). These concerned the implementation of linguistic rights of ethnic minorities and the improvement of the situation of non-citizens in Moldova. The recommendations of UN CERD were based on the results of consideration of the state and alternative reports of Moldova at the 92nd session of the Committee in 2017. Anti-Discrimination Centre “Memorial” and PromoLEX NGO described some problems of the Roma minority in Moldova in their report submitted to the Committee.
In order to prevent discrimination against children belonging to ethnic minorities, the UN CERD recommended that Moldova create conditions for children to get school education in their mother tongue, as well as provide proper teaching of the state language that is not native for these children.
Although the problem of education of Roma children was raised by the Committee experts, national programs and action plans still do not provide for the education of children in schools in Roma language, or at least its study as a separate or optional subject (although for a number of other minority languages such options exist).
The Moldovan government reported on the teaching of the mandatory discipline “History, Culture and Traditions of Russian, Ukrainian, Gagauz, Bulgarian, Roma and Other Ethnic Groups” in the 1st-9th grades. However, this subject was introduced only in educational institutions with instruction in languages of ethnic minorities, and given the absence of schools with instruction in Roma language, it is doubtful that this subject will be taught to Roma children.
The Moldovan authorities and members of the UN CERD recognize the problem of the low level of education of Roma children. But the statistics provided by state bodies raise some questions. Thus, according to information from NGOs, more than 40% of Roma children did not attend school in 2016, while according to official data for 2016-2017 there were about 10% of such children, and only 1% of Roma students were not covered by education at all. The high level of non-attendance of educational institutions by Roma children, especially girls, remains a problem, although the authorities do not seem to take special measures to improve the situation.
Unfortunately, the state report did not reflect the problem of the existing segregation of Roma children in schools and their inadequate knowledge of the state language. Additional lessons for improving the level of knowledge of the state language are provided for schools with instruction in the languages of ethnic minorities, but there are no such schools for Roma children.
Despite the recommendation of the UN CERD to ensure access of non-citizens to basic social services, it is not clear from the report provided by Moldova how the envisaged activities of the Action Plan 2016-2020 for the implementation of the national strategy on migration and asylum (2011-2020) will affect the improvement of the situation of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers. There are no specific measures to improve access to education, healthcare, housing and employment, as well as actions aimed at combating discrimination in the implementation of the rights of non-citizens in these spheres.
UN Photo / Manuel Elias