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Discriminatory Practices Against Minorities

Discriminatory Practices Against Minorities

Basically discriminatory practices that were observed concerned those residents of Moldova who identified themselves as Moldovans (not as Romanians) and Gagauz, members of the Bulgarian and Ukrainian minorities, as well as Russian-speaking population. On March 29, 2013 the member of the parliament from the Liberal Party, Ana Gutu has sent a request to the Constitutional Court regarding whether the official language of the country was called Romanian and whether it can be equated to the Moldavian language, which is specified in Article 13 of the Constitution. On December 5, 2013 the Court supported the request of A. Gutu, referring to the fact that the text of the Declaration of Independence of Moldova (where Romanian is set as the state language) prevails over the text of the Constitution, which states that "the state language of the Republic of Moldova is Moldovan, based on the Latin charts".

On June 21, it was reported that Democrats, Liberals and Liberal Democrats supported the exclusion of Moldovan and Russian language from the list of official languages of the Parliamentary Committee for cooperation between Moldova and EU.

On July 9, 5 deputies from the liberal-reformers group of Ion Hadarca sent a request to the Constitutional Court, demanding the abolition of the law on the concept of a national policy of Moldova. They argued that the document adopted by the vote of 62 Communist deputies ten years ago is contrary to the Constitution and promotes a policy of "primitive Moldovenism". Gutu states that the document promotes the phrase "Moldovan language" that, according to the group Hadarca, is contrary to the Declaration of Independence of Moldova, as well as scientific postulates.

On March 12, it was reported that the Ministry of Education is attempting to exclude the subject “History, culture and traditions of the Russian nation” from the school curriculum.

On February 6, 2013 Director General of the State Enterprise “Moldova Railway” Vitaly Strune, introduced new requirements for employees at railroads – possession of state language at a “high level”, which contradicts the Code on railway transport, in which Russian is secured as a “working” language.

On July 24, it became known that the Russian-speaking high school graduates of Moldova, including honours students who wished to go to universities with tuition in the state language could not even send the documents due to a circular, approved a few years ago the Ministry of Education, which legalised restrictions for graduates of high schools that teach in Russian".

In September 2013, the chairman of the Slavic organization "Veche" Nikolay Gutsul said that in the optimisation process (reduction of the number) of schools the main effect is on schools with instruction in Russian. There was an attempt shut down a Russian-language school in the Choresku suburb of Chisinau. Moldovan formation of mobile police posts in the unilateral manner in November and December on the border with unacknowledged Transnistria, which were endowed with the functions of border and migration control, has led to restrictions on the movement of Transnistrian residents who had Russian or Ukrainian passports, although formally Transnistrian residents were not to have to face difficulties when travelling.

Gagauz people, too, were subjected to pressure. In January it was reported that the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Moldova intended to exclude such subjects as "History, traditions and culture of the Gagauz people", "History, tradition and culture of the Bulgarian and Ukrainian people" from the curriculum, which were taught respectively in Gagauzia and towns with Bulgarian or Ukrainian population in the respective language. The exclusion was to be under the pretext of "unloading" of the school curriculum which is taught in schools in Gagauz autonomy. At the same time it became known that the financing for the study of the Bulgarian language was cut in half in schools in the Taraclia region predominantly inhabited by the Bulgarian population, and in 2012 it was not provided at all. At the same time, the Prime Minister V. Filat, on January 16, announced a plan of Romanian language lessons in Moldova, the implementation of which will begin next year .

On April 17, it was reported that the governmental structures and executive bodies are creating various barriers for education and employment of residents of the Gagauz autonomy. By doing this, they are “washing out” the Gagauz people from the republic, forcing them to leave abroad.

On September 22, 2013 the Head of the Executive Committee of Gagauzia Vassily Ivanchuk said that residents of the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia receive all official documents from Chisinau only in the Moldovan language, and thereby the rights of the Gagauz people to access information are violated.

In early 2014, several Russian and oppositional television channels have been shut down due to their non-conformance to the official ideology. On December 31, 2013, the national telecommunications operator MOLDTELECOM excluded AccentTV from its cable network, without any warning and violating the contract a minute before the New Year. “Let us be objective, there are no economic reasons. This is a blatant administratively implemented political order. Obviously, the rumours that emerged in the end of last year, that part of undesirable channels will be shut down, came true,” General Director of AccentTV said.

On January 9, 2014, Government-owned Moldtelecom S.A. ceased the transmission of RTR Moldova channel on their paid cable service. Oppositional TV channel JurnalTV was shut down and excluded from the cable networks on January 12. In particular, SunTV removed the channel from its basic package, transferring it to a more expensive one without any explanation. Satelit TV and Domino TV completely excluded this channel from their services. Similar actions were done by Art TV Strășeni, TSV-Com and Megapolis.

On May 15, Vice Minister of Education Igor Grossu said that Russian language will no longer be compulsory in Moldovan schools.

On October 8, Din Ciocanu was appointed as head of the Coordinating Council on TV and Radio Broadcasting. Ciocanu previously said that Moldova should follow the example of the neighbouring Ukraine, where all Russian media is banned. On October 10, Chairman of the Central Election Committee Yuri Ciocanu demanded that all present at the meeting speak in Romanian language, referring to the ruling of the Constitutional Court, when one of the officials asked a question in Russian.

On September 18, it was reported that only 2 Russian-language books have been published in the country in the past few years. State-funded festivals almost never involve ethnic cultural groups.

On December 12, chairman of the Gagauz community Nikolai Terzi spoke at a conference dedicated to the Russian language in Moldova, where he said that Russian-language education is under threat in the country. “Previously, Moldovan parliament was looking to cancel the trilingualism in Gagauzia along with the Law on the functioning of languages, and thus convert all official communication to Moldovan language. These initiatives have been overturned, but Russian language continues to be under threat”.

On May 5, a unionist organisation Tinerii Moldovei announced prizes for 3 largest Moldovan settlements where the majority will declare themselves as Romanians. Prizes include a Dacia car, a school trip to the seaside, and for the regional administration on access to European funds. What we have here is essentially attempted bribery in order to obtain the “correct” national result”. On May 24, members of the National Liberal Party demanded that results of population census maintain the political vector towards a “speed consolidation of the two Romanian states”.

The Information Centre for Human Rights in Moldova published an analysis of textbooks in compliance with the principles of human rights and the existence of discrimination. The analysis says that the ethno-linguistic minorities in Moldova are presented in textbooks extremely marginally. The study concludes that the history of Moldova is described primarily as a history of Romanian ethnicity, despite the fact that ethnic minorities constituted from 20% to 30% of the total population in different periods of time.

On September 18, 2014, it was reported that Taraclia council’s request to provide the region with a national-cultural status has not been satisfied, despite being filed more than a year ago, in April 2013.

On October 15, 2013, it was reported that the head of the serious crimes section of the police inspectorate Ruslan Saakyan said that the authorities harassed him because of his Armenian origin.

The cases of pressure on the Romanian-language schools in Transnistria could also be noted. In early December, prosecutors tried to close the Transnistrian Tiraspol Theoretical Lyceum "Lucian Blaga" for alleged violations of sanitary and epidemiological requirements for student catering, as well as violations of workers' rights.

Starting from 2017, we see clearly underestimated official statistics on hate crimes in Moldova. So, if in 2017 law enforcement agencies registered 17 hate crimes, in 2018 - 10, then in 2019 - none. True, in 2020, the government reported 8 crimes of this kind to the OSCE. However, non-governmental organizations do not confirm these data. For example, in 2019 despite the fact that the government claimed that hate crimes were not committed, NGOs and UNHCR collectively reported 10 hate-motivated attacks and threats.

Thus, the European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) reported a group attack on a Romani family who were subjected to racist and anti-gypsy insults and physical violence by a group that broke into their house at night. Some children were beaten. The Jewish community of Moldova reported that a member of its board of trustees was subjected to anti-Semitic insults, death threats and beatings, and UNHCR informed the OSCE/ODIHR that two Nigerian asylum seekers were subjected to racist abuse and physical abuse by a group in a center for asylum seekers asylum. The property of the victims was destroyed. etc. All this suggests that the authorities underestimated the number of offenses, did not record and did not investigate them properly.

Although the law prohibits such practices, the anti-torture prosecutor's office has reported allegations of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, mostly in places of detention. Reports included cases of ill-treatment in pre-trial detention centers in police stations, especially in district police inspectorates. Impunity persisted, and the number of criminal cases initiated on the facts of torture was much less than the number of complaints filed.

The Anti-Torture Department of the General Prosecutor's Office reported an increase in cases of ill-treatment and torture during the year. In the first six months of the year, the prosecutor's office received 305 allegations of ill-treatment and torture, including 290 cases of inhuman and degrading treatment, five cases of torture, and eight cases of threats or intimidation by law enforcement agencies, including actual use or threats of violence, compelling a suspect or a witness to testify. All cases of torture were registered with police inspections, while most cases of ill-treatment were recorded in public places, at the home of the victim and in penitentiary institutions. Law enforcement agencies recorded 10 cases of ill-treatment in educational institutions. For comparison, in the first six months of 2020, the authorities reported 262 allegations of ill-treatment and torture.

In September 2020, the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) published a report detailing the findings of its country visit in January-February 2020. The report noted that the persistence of a prison subculture that contributed to inter-prisoner violence and a climate of fear and intimidation, reliance on prisoner opinion leaders to maintain control of the prisoner population, and a general lack of trust in staff's ability to guarantee prisoner safety continued to persist. serious concerns. The CPT reported on several allegations that staff at penitentiary no. 13 in Chisinau beat and kicked detainees, as well as excessive use of force by staff in dealing with agitated detainees at penitentiaries in Chisinau (no. 13), Cahul (no. 5) and Taraclia. (No. 1) and excessively tight handcuffs in Chisinau and Taraclia prisons. In June, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled in the case of a former prisoner who accused staff at Lipcani Prison No. 2 of mistreatment and humiliation. The ECtHR ordered Moldova to pay compensation in the amount of 9,000 euros (approximately $10,400).

Impunity for perpetrators of wrongdoing remained a problem, and investigations often dragged on unnecessarily. In September 2020, a member of the temporary detention center of the Cimislia Police Inspectorate reportedly beat a man, punched him in the face, and used other forms of physical violence throughout his detention. As of November, the case was still under investigation, but the perpetrators had not been identified.

In June 2021, 13 police officers were convicted of crimes related to the 2017 death of Andrei Braguta, who died in a pre-trial detention center in Chisinau after being severely beaten by fellow inmates and subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment by the prison administration. One officer was sentenced to four years in prison for inhumane treatment and torture of Braguta, four others were sentenced to three years and six months, and eight others received suspended sentences of three years each. Braguta's parents' lawyer appealed the sentences, demanding harsher conditions for the perpetrators. The verdicts came after 100 of 140 scheduled trials were postponed or canceled between 2017 and 2020, and after a press conference held by Braguta's parents in August 2020, which raised concerns about the impunity of those involved in the death of their son. Nearly two years after the first decision was made in a second criminal case brought against the four inmates who beat Braguta and the three police officers who watched the beatings and did not intervene, in August the Court of Appeal held an appeal hearing on the appeal of Braguta's parents, asking for tougher sanctions against the perpetrators. . In 2019, a court sentenced one inmate who beat Braguta to five years in prison, three other inmates to five years of suspended imprisonment, one police officer to four years in prison, and a second police officer to three years of suspended imprisonment; he acquitted the third officer. A third criminal case against two doctors from the penitentiary where Braguta died, accused of negligence in the workplace and abuse of office for improper treatment of Braguta, has been pending before the court of first instance since 2018, and as of November no decision has been made.

In Transnistria, there were reports of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in places of detention, including denial of medical care and prolonged solitary confinement. There was no known mechanism for investigating alleged acts of torture by the Transnistrian "security forces". The non-governmental organization (NGO) Promo-LEX noted that the “authorities” used the most inhuman and degrading treatment in the region to obtain confessions. Transnistrian "law enforcement" authorities did not publicly report any investigations or prosecutions for torture or inhuman treatment by Transnistrian "security forces" during the year.

Reports continued of detainees in Transnistria being denied access to professional medical care and legal representation. Former Transdniestrian "Minister of Internal Affairs" Gennady Kuzmichev has reportedly been in solitary confinement and periodically denied access to visitors, mail and other external means of communication since he was abducted from government-controlled territory in 2017 and taken to Transnistria . In 2019, a Transnistrian “court” sentenced Kuzmichev to 13 years in prison on charges of smuggling and illegal possession of firearms.

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