Civil Society and Stakeholders Discuss Inter-ethnic Relations and Social Cohesion in Moldova at CIVID Midterm Dialogue
On 5 March, the mid-term dialogue workshop in the framework of the project “Promoting civil society and inter-ethnic dialogue in the Republic of Moldova in the context of the EU association process” (CIVID) took place in Chisinau. Around 45 participants, including representatives of ethnic minority groups, civil society activists, journalists, experts, as well as policy makers participated in the workshop on “Inter-ethnic Relations and Social Cohesion in the Republic of Moldova”.
After welcome remarks and a presentation of the project activities by the implementing partners, Ewa Chylinski, researcher at the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI), shared her suggestions on creating an institutional framework to promote harmonious inter-ethnic relations and to ensure the inclusion of all minority groups, drawing on experiences from other countries. The project experts presented the key findings and recommendations collected during the previous dialogue events in different thematic areas: Social Rights, Economic Development, Education and Media, and the EU Association Agreement. In the subsequent discussion with the participants, these issues and recommendations were critically discussed, and further suggestions made. Among other things the participants proposed to revise the internal regulations of public service providers such as public administration, health and social services in order to assure access to services for all citizens irrespective of their ethnic background. The creation of media associations sensitive to inter-ethnic relations, a potential bill of principles for the media regarding the reporting on ethnic communities, as well as the proposal to build coalitions of NGOs to monitor and sanction discriminatory narratives and hate speech were also among the issues discussed.
Topics of the concluding panel were the interrelation between guaranteeing social and civic rights to all citizens and social cohesion in the Republic of Moldova, the next actions to be addressed by a new government, as well as possibilities to further support the implementation of the Action Plan to strengthen inter-ethnic relations. The speakers stressed the need to mainstream minority issues in the political discourse and to prevent political exploitation of the dividing lines, as well as the need for sanctioning of divisive and discriminatory rhetoric. The implementing partners highlighted that the project was designed to achieve this very inclusion of minority issues in the political agenda and public discourses and has already made considerable progress in this regard through its diverse project activities, including public conferences, dialogue events and TV debates.
The project “Promoting civil society and inter-ethnic dialogue in the Republic of Moldova in the context of the EU association process“ (CIVID) is implemented by the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) in partnership with our Moldovan partners, the Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE) and the Institute for Strategic Initiatives (IPIS), and kindly supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.