Separatist authorities in the ex-Soviet republic of Moldova have refused to grant a new permit to a Romanian-language school, effectively shutting it down for at least three months.
The “Lucian Blaga” high school is the only Romanian-language school in Tiraspol, capital of Trans-Dniester, a pro-Russian breakaway republic, Agora.md, a Moldovan site reported.
The issue of Romanian-language schools in the breakaway region which declared its independence in 1990 fearing Moldova would reunite with neighboring Romania has often been a source of tension.
Trans-Dniester, a narrow swath of land in eastern Moldova, shares a border with Ukraine. It is not internationally recognized. even by Moscow, which it considers an ally.
In 2004, authorities closed four of the six schools in the region that taught Romanian using the Latin script. More than 3,000 students enrolled at the schools were affected. Teachers and parents who opposed the closures were briefly detained.
The closures drew international criticism.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe which monitors human rights called the closures „linguistic cleansing.”
Tran-Dniestran authorities do not recognize the diplomas issued by Moldovan schools using Latin script. This means graduates are unable to study at Trans-Dniestran higher educational institutions.
Moldova’s ombudsman for children’s rights on Friday asked the government in Chisinau to get involved to enable the school to function.
Ombudsman Maia Bănărescu said the current situation meant that students couldn’t start the new school year in September.
“This fact violates children’s right to education and various articles in the UN Convention for children’s rights,” she said.
She has asked the acting education minister and a deputy minister for Moldovan reintegration to “urgently undertake all necessary measures to fix the problem.”
The former school director, Ion Iovcev, was dismissed by the current education minister because he was older than the legally allowed age for the post. The new government will resolve the dispute, the site said.
Moldova’s Parliament on Friday confirmed the new “integrity government” of Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita after her pro-Western Party of Action and Solidarity won snap elections earlier this month.
The Harvard-educated Gavrilita’s party holds 63 of the 101 seats in the parliament.
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