Community Mediators Make a Difference in the Settlements Where They Work
For the first time in Moldova over 60 participants, including Roma community mediators, local elected officials and civil society representatives from all over the country, came together in Chisinau to identify solutions for promoting community mediators in the settlements with compact or mixt Roma population and consolidating their relations with the government institutions. They agreed on establishing a common space for communication and interaction to enable solving the problems faced by the Roma citizens in Moldova and encourage their active participation in the community life.
The Republican Forum of Roma Community Mediators is organised by the National Association of Community Mediators with the support of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Moldova. The good practices used by community mediators in the settlements with compact or mixt Roma population were presented within the forum, as well as the advantages of hiring a community mediator, and the plan for supporting the Roma population at raion level.
”In the communities where there are community mediators, all Roma children attend school, the number of persons who benefited from material aid increased by half and processes of IDs and birth certificates preparation for the Roma population started. That is why it is important for the state institutions to understand the importance of community mediators and become more responsive in hiring the 48 community mediators as needed according to the mapping of settlements with compact or mixt Roma population conducted in 2012”, Valeriu Caldararu, executive director of the National Association of Community Mediators, stated.
The rights of the Roma persons have been under the spotlight of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Following the review of Moldova by CESCR this year, the Committee showed concern that most of the community mediator positions are not filled, and recommended Moldova to allot sufficient resources for filling all 48 positions of mediators in the Roma communities.
”Although there has been some progress in promoting the rights of the Roma persons in Moldova, there is still a significant backlog in terms of inclusion and non-discrimination of the Roma women and men. This has also been highlighted by the UN Committees that urged Moldova to secure the employment of the 48 Roma community mediators and to allocate sufficient funding for the measures set out in the Action Plan on supporting the Roma population.” Veaceslav Balan, national coordinator of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Moldova, stated.
The position of community mediator was institutionalised by the Government of the Republic of Moldova in 2013. The representatives of the local public authorities in the 44 communities with more than 150 Roma persons had the responsibility to employ 48 community mediators. Currently in Moldova there are 18 community mediators in 18 settlements.