ADC Memorial welcomes the concluding observations and recommendations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination for Armenia and Moldova, following the 92nd session of CERD UN. ADC Memorial with the partner organizations on Armenia (Civil Society Institute) and Moldova (Promo-LEX) submitted alternatives reports (Armenia’s report Moldova’s report) to these session.
Concerning Moldova, the CERD committee noted the efforts recently made by the authorities of Moldova to adopt a strategy and improve the existing legal framework to fight racial discrimination. However, the CERD committee expressed its concerns about the lack of hate crime legislation in Moldova. The committee recommended the authorities of Moldova to adopt a comprehensive legislation criminalizing hate crimes and to list racial motivation as an aggravating circumstance. The question of hate crimes and the necessity to create better legal framework had been particularly pointed out by ADC Memorial and Promo-LEX in the alternative report submitted at the 92 CERD session. The Committee expressed its concern at the reported promulgation of racist stereotypes, hate speech in the media and political sphere against members of certain groups, and recommended to enforce the provisions of criminal code to prosecute incidents of hate speech. The Committee also recommended conducting educational campaigns in educational structures as well as among journalists and public officials to promote values of tolerance and respect in Moldova. The recommendations particularly highlighted the necessity to take effective measures to fight against the discrimination of ethnic and religious minorities and more specifically to protect the rights of Roma people and guarantee them access to healthcare, housing, education, and employment and guarantee their representation in any process concerning their rights. In their alternative report, ADC Memorial and Promo-LEX had largely documented that, as a result of persistent stereotypes, Roma are particularly excluded suffering high levels of disadvantage and discrimination. The NGOs had also noted the under-representation of Roma in decision-making processes concerning the Roma community.
In the alternative report submitted on the situation in Armenia, ADC Memorial and the Civil Society Institute had expressed their strong concerns regarding the national preference of Armenian people over any other ethnic group in access to some basic rights – like receiving refugee status and citizenship. The problem of xenophobic attitude of some political activists was raised as well. The CERD committee called the Armenian authorities to prohibit organizations which promote and incite racial discrimination and to recognize participation in such organizations or activities as an offence punishable by law. The committee also recommended taking measures to strongly condemn racist hate speech and discriminatory statements in public discourse, including by public figures, and to ensure that their public statements do not contribute to incitement of racial hatred. ADC Memorial and the Civil Society Institute were the first to document in a CERD report discrimination against Bosha, and Molokan people in Armenia. In the recommendations addressed to Armenian authorities, CERD committee called for a better documentation of discrimination towards these small ethnic groups in order to improve their situation and achieve equity with the majority population.
Now the authorities of Armenia and Moldova should take measures to better implement the existing legal framework regarding racial discrimination and must take a step to eradicate all form of discrimination in the countries.