The authorities say there is no discrimination on grounds of race, nationality or religion in Moldova, while representatives of human rights organization assert the opposite. The issue was discussed in a press club meeting entitled “Dismantling of stereotypes concerning refugees” that was staged by the UN Refugee Agency in Moldova and the Journalistic Investigations Center, IPN reports.
Ecaterina Silvestru, head of the Refugees Division of the Bureau for Migration and Asylum, said Moldova is not affected by discrimination on grounds of ethnicity or religion and the seekers of asylum in Moldova are not discriminated. “There is no such a phenomenon in our country, especially on grounds of religion. There can be separate cases, but we cannot speak about these as about a phenomenon. As regards Moldova’s legislation on asylum seeking, it is more advanced than in some of the EU member states. There was reported no case of discrimination against refugees. The state did a lot to eliminate discrimination, including against refugees and asylum seekers,” she stated.
Ian Feldman, chairman of the Council for the Prevention and Elimination of Discrimination and Ensuring of Equality, shared the view that Moldova does not witness mass discrimination on grounds of race or religion. “We do not possess statistical data about the discrimination of refugees. The Council examined several cases of discrimination on ethnicity. These referred to Romanies. There were also cases of discrimination on grounds of religion,” he noted.
Veaceslav Balan, national coordinator of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Moldova, considers that discrimination on grounds of nationality or religion exists in Moldova. “The 100 cases identified by the Council for the Prevention and Elimination of Discrimination represent only the top of the iceberg. Earlier, we carried out a study that showed that cases of discrimination on grounds of nationality and religion happen daily and practically each citizen of the Republic of Moldova knows at least one case of discrimination,” he stated.
The representatives of the Christian-Orthodox and Islamic cults attending the meeting made a call for tolerance and interethnic peace, regardless of the religious beliefs.