Stigmatization and segregation of Roma in Moldova

The Eastern Office of Solidaritätsnetz International continues to closely monitor the collapse of civil society mechanisms in Moldova.

It should be noted that the public authorities in Chisinau do not listen to the opinion of human rights activists, do not go for an inclusive dialogue, but only increase the pressure of the repressive pressure to suppress dissent.

The state of emergency in Moldova is used by the President, Madam Sandu, to strengthen the sole power and, as a result, provokes tension in society and the oppression of unprotected minorities.

We conducted a survey of 1,000 citizens of Moldova. According to the survey, 29% do not want to have a Roma relative. A sociological survey shows that two-thirds of Moldovans believe that Roma commit the most crimes, one-third believe that Roma will pose a danger to the country in the future, and the same number consider Roma communities a direct threat to Moldovans. Meanwhile, the Roma make up a small part of Moldova’s more than 2.6 million inhabitants and number approximately 12,000, most of them women and children.

29 years ago, Moldova assumed obligations to the United Nations to eliminate all forms of discrimination. In addition, the authorities in Moldova regularly receive grant money for programs to eliminate racial intolerance and other types of intolerance. As evidenced by the data of sociology, these means are used inefficiently.

Many Roma girls marry at a young age, and in communities with a male-dominated household and community system, violence against women is high, greatly limiting the freedom of movement and choice of women and girls in the community. Only 28% of Roma women aged 15 to 64 have a job, their share being 1.9 times lower than non-Roma women (53%) and 1.5 times lower than men from among the Roma. Statistics also show that only 63% of Roma women in the Republic of Moldova over the age of 16 can read and write. It should be noted that this literacy rate among Roma women is one of the lowest among the countries of Central and Southern Europe. The Moldovan authorities prefer either not to notice the problem or imitate its solution.

Representatives of the Roma nationality continue to be among those who are most often discriminated against in the Republic of Moldova, especially in employment and when interacting with state institutions, representatives of this community, as well as Roma rights advocates, say. There are many cases when these people are not hired, they are fired without explanation, they are not allowed to enter state institutions, and they are denied the provision of certain services.

After the beginning of the hot phase of the Russian-Ukrainian war, the Roma refugees in Moldova were subjected to segregation. According to our observations, Moldovan authorities deliberately separate Ukrainian Roma from other refugee, which constitutes unequal and discriminatory treatment. Against the backdrop of widespread discriminatory attitudes against Roma, state authorities allowed, and in some cases ordered staff and volunteers to refuse Roma refugees accommodation in government institutions. On October 2, 2022, the Chisinau City Prosecutor’s Office opened a criminal investigation into the case of two Roma refugees from Ukraine who were attacked with tear gas by guards at a temporary accommodation center in Chisinau. The Prosecutor’s Office was notified by the European Roma Rights Center (ERRC).

In accommodation centers, Roma refugees are not only isolated, but also housed in poor conditions, with no access to hot water and other utilities, as well as medical care. The Moldovan authorities deliberately separate most Roma refugees from others fleeing the war, which constitutes unequal and discriminatory treatment.

The Chisinau government denied these accusations, explaining that it did not apply the national criteria when accommodating refugees, but the objective data and observations of human rights activists show the opposite.

We see that in exchange for the loyalty of the regime of President Sandu, some international structures prefer not to notice authoritarian methods of government, and certain politicians in Europe directly lobby for the interests of Chisinau.

Solidaritätsnetz International has been on the guard of law and democracy for decades, and therefore will continue the rigorous fight against unscrupulous functionaries.

We believe that the healthy forces of society will win, and therefore we continue our political and diplomatic struggle for the observance of the rule of law in Moldova.

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