Ian Feldman: We cannot speak only about equality as we must also fight for rights

The European equality ensuring practices often work in Moldova better than in many European countries, the head of the Council for Preventing and Eliminating Discrimination and Ensuring Equality Ian Feldman stated in IPN’s public debate “Equality: culture, practice or illusion?”.

“Except for a small number of areas, we can find a European country where the situation is much worse than in our country. Let’s take, for example, the situation of children with disabilities. It is different in France and in Belgium. The French people take their children and move to Belgium because in France there is nothing else but ramps. We have a system of special teachers. I agree that this system is yet underdeveloped and should be improved, but it is better than there,” explained Ian Feldman.

“Equality cannot be expressed by words. It cannot be described by one word. There is always a specific situation. The situation of children with disabilities and of the national minorities, the support for the Roma are better in our country. But the access to school education has worsened primarily because the children remain without parental tutelage. The situation of the LGBT community is much worse than in other countries, as is the situation of political rights.”

Ian Feldman said the Council for Preventing and Eliminating Discrimination and Ensuring Equality was accepted into the common equality body of European institutions and this is a confirmation of the good practices of ensuring equality applied in Moldova. This body earlier worked only for the EU member states, but its statutes were modified to specify “European country” instead of “EU member state”. Now they use our best practices and publish them in their reports,” he stated.

An inhabitant of Nisporeni town became confined to a wheelchair and filed 13 complaints to the Council. As a result, almost all the institutions in this town built ramps and later the Government and Parliament adopted legislative changes to enable the persons with locomotor disabilities to import special cars duty-free. “It is a systemic decision to change the fate of a large number of people.”

Ian Feldman also said that economic development does not automatically generate equality. “One should fight for rights. The public narrative in the richest country – the U.S. – shows that this is a country with deep-rooted inequality. It is an illusion to think that inequality will decline if wellbeing increases.”

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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