Romania, SEE countries call for protection of national minorities’ rights in Ukraine
The Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister, Teodor Meleşcanu, and his counterparts in Bulgaria, Greece and Hungary, have expressed concern for the recently adopted education law in Ukraine in a joint letter. The four countries also called for the protection of the rights of national minorities.
The letter was sent to Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and to the High Commissioner for National Minorities of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
The new education law adopted by the Ukraine’s unicameral parliament Rada stipulates that classes will take place only in the state’s language.
“In the letter, we support the need to use all the instruments available to the Council of Europe and at the OSCE level to make sure the new restrictive dispositions introduced by the Ukrainian Education Law will not affect the adequate protection of the fundamental rights of the people belonging to national minorities. At the same time, we reiterate that the protection of the rights of people belonging to the Romanian minority in Ukraine has been constantly signaled by the Romanian party in its dialogue with the Ukrainian party,” the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) said.
MAE also said that the Romanian state is committed to facilitating the solving of the issues faced by people belonging to national minorities. Respecting the right to education in Romanian at all educational levels is essential, the ministry said.
The new education law in Ukraine entails the gradual introduction of the new system. The first phase of the reform is set to start in September 2018. Teaching in Romanian will be kept only for the primary schools, in grades 1 to 4.
Over 400,000 Romanian ethnics live in Ukraine, according to MAE data quoted by TVR Moldova.