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UN expert urges Moldova to introduce multilingual education, bolster unity among ethnic groups

30 June 2016 – A United Nations human rights expert has called on the Government of the Republic of Moldova to further promote linguistic rights of minorities, introduce multilingual education, and strengthen the unity between various population groups in the country.

"Diversity should be valued as an important asset and strength of the Republic of Moldova," said the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsák-Ndiaye, at the end of her first official visit to the country.

Noting Moldova's complex ethnic, religious and linguistic make-up, where numerous minority groups with multi-layered ethnic, religious and linguistic identities peacefully coexist, she urged measures to minimize the politicization of the use of languages which often leads to polarization and might threaten peaceful coexistence if not resolved.

The expert encouraged the Government to guarantee quality education in both mother tongue and the State language (Moldovan/Romanian), calling for the introduction of multilingual education methodologies and multilingual classrooms.

During her 10-day mission, Ms. Izsák-Ndiaye visited Chisinau, the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia, Balti, Edinet, Hincauti, Orhei, Otaci, Schinoasa, Soroca, Taraclia, and the Transnistrian region.

Ms. Izsák-Ndiaye commended the creation of a working group of members of the Moldovan Parliament and the Gagauzian Peoples' Assembly to discuss matters of common concerns.

The expert also visited Roma communities in different localities, including Soroca, Otaci, Schinoasa and Chetrosu. "Economic, social and political marginalization of Roma, as well as instances of discrimination and xenophobia against Roma communities were reported by Roma representatives," she said.

"Identity documents are often lacking, drop-out rates among Roma students are significantly high, and Roma representatives expressed their concern that Roma are largely absent from decision-making processes and in public life, both at local and national levels," she added.

Ms. Izsák-Ndiaye will present a final mission report and recommendations to the Human Rights Council (HRC) in March 2017.

Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based HRC to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

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