In recognition of International Roma Day (see reftel A), Ambassador Moser joined interim Prime Minister Vlad Filat on April 5 in opening a photo exhibition celebrating famous Roma people from Moldova. The event was the first of a series organized by the NGO Centrul National al Romilor (Roma National Center) in conjunction with the Bureau of Interethnic Relations. The Ambassador praised the Moldovan government for passing the Law on Ensuring Equality last year (a law that protects Roma and other minority groups from discrimination), and urged the Moldovan Government to do more to provide equal opportunities for Romani people. The Ambassador plans to meet with the leaders of Roma NGOs to continue his engagement on the issues affecting the Roma community.
The Ambassador also attended a concert on April 7 where he and Swedish Ambassador Ingrid Tersman gave remarks on the importance of ending discrimination, and allowing Romani people to integrate into society. In a sign of the government’s increasing attention to Roma issues, the head of the Bureau of Interethnic Relations and the Minister of Labor, Social Protection and Family also participated in the government-sponsored concert. Earlier this year, the Prime Minister appointed a new advisor for Roma issues, Ruslan Stanga, who participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program in 2012 when he led the NGO Ograda Noastra.
Separately, Parliament unanimously approved a preliminary bill on March 21 to establish a system of mediators in the Roma community. The bill provides for the hiring of 47 mediators from the Roma community in localities with dense Roma populations. The mediators will act as bridges between the Roma community and local public authorities to ensure that Roma people have effective access to education, healthcare, and social assistance. They will also support Roma people’s integration into the labor market, access to documentation, and improved living conditions (see reftel B). The bill will need to be approved on a second and third reading to become law.