Ian Feldman: Equality-related decisions are most often challenged by state institutions

The head of the Council for Preventing and Eliminating Discrimination and Ensuring Equality Ian Feldman, in IPN’s public debateEquality: culture, practice or illusion?, said most of the times the Council is in litigation with state institutions and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection holds the lead by the number of disputes.

“There are challenged decisions taken in concrete cases. They refer both to the legislation and to separate situations that some do not want to be solved. It would seem that a special body was created to indicate the standards in the field and to implement the taken decisions, but these decisions are challenged in court,” stated Ian Feldman.

The cases in which the Council takes most of the decisions refer to the rights of persons with disabilities, gender equality, linguistic and ethnical rights and situations concerning age and state of health. “Not many new cases appear, but sometimes some of the aspects create an unimaginable situation. For example, two pensioners who suffer from diabetes for religious beliefs refused to have a common identification number and recently stopped receiving insulin because they could not register. The people die, while the state demands registration. But no one can deprive a person of the rights to health and life because they cannot accept this person’s beliefs,” said Ian Feldman.

He noted that the state is obliged to create by law conditions for ensuring equality and to put them into practice, but the perception is formed partially through culture and education.  The people in the West changed their attitude to the persons with disabilities because everyone there, including the disabled persons, go to the same kindergartens and schools and no one puts questions and considers that this is something unordinary.

According to Ina Feldman, in Moldova such a culture is yet to be formed. “It often happens that a person with disabilities cannot get to the courtroom because of their delicate situation, while the judge simply does not want to transfer the hearings to a room that can be entered by persons in wheelchairs. The judge does not see the problem. Or a person hired as a lawyer does not defend a person with psychosocial problems, but agrees with all the prosecutor’s accusations. Or a woman working for the local public authorities cannot return to work after looking after the child for eight months and is told to stay at home for a period of three years. By the way, 12 local councilors were fined in this case.”

The public debate “Equality: culture, practice or illusion?” forms part of the series of debates “Overcoming of European Integration Stereotypes by Communication”. IPN News Agency stages the debates with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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