The Council of Europe Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) published today its new Opinions on Armenia and Republic of Moldova, assessing the progress over the past years and giving recommendations for the government.
In Armenia, the Council of Europe body said, a climate of tolerance and dialogue between the majority population and national minority groups generally prevails. It is commendable, the report said, that in spite of economic difficulties, Armenia admitted more than 20,000 people, mainly of Armenian and Assyrian descent fleeing the conflict in Syria.
However, more effort is required to ensure full access to education for all, especially children of the Yezidi national minority where school drop-out rates remain high; and to criminalise forced early marriages conducted under pressure or abuse – the tradition that undermines the chances of girls to complete the compulsory 12-year education cycle. Among other recommendations is introducing a possibility to declare multiple ethnic affiliations in censuses, as well as making racial hatred and other hate motives an aggravating circumstance for all crimes.
In its Opinion on Republic of Moldova, the Council of Europe body calls on the authorities to put in place a long-term strategy to promote a civic identity that is inclusive and firmly based on respect for ethnic and linguistic diversity. While acknowledging the commitment by the Moldovan authorities to the protection of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, enhancing their language proficiency, and introducing legal and institutional improvements, stigmatisation of and discrimination against Roma and other minorities persist in the society.
The Council of Europe experts recommend promoting the use of minority languages and broadcast and print media in such languages in Republic of Moldova, enhancing access to quality training in state language; ensuring inclusive participation in all decision-making processes; and making sure that persons belonging to national minorities have their personal names officially recognized in the minority languages, including in identity documents.