LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Mixed reactions to adoption of Moldova’s anti-discrimination law

The Moldovan Parliament adopted earlier today a Law on Ensuring Equality. While the adoption of an anti-discrimination legislation is a positive measure, ILGA-Europe is concerned that the ground of sexual orientation is not explicitly mentioned in the list of grounds of discrimination covered by the law, except in relation to discrimination in the workplace.

Indeed, sexual orientation is only specifically mentioned as a prohibited ground of discrimination in employment (article 7). Article 1(1) of the Law, which lists the grounds on which discrimination is prohibited, does not explicitly include sexual orientation, which is understood to be included by the reference to “any other similar grounds”.

ILGA-Europe is concerned that the lack of explicit reference to sexual orientation in the main anti-discrimination article might create uncertainty around the extent of the legal protection provided by this law to individuals who experience discrimination because of their real or perceived sexual orientation.

Evelyne Paradis, ILGA-Europe’s Executive Director, said: “We regret that, by treating grounds of discrimination differently, the Moldovan law in effect institutes a hierarchy of rights. And also, at a time when city councils are adopting proclamations to prohibit so called propaganda of “non-traditional sexual orientations”, we worry that this lack of legal clarity around the ground of sexual orientation will continue to leave the LGBT community in a vulnerable position and considerably limit their legal protection.”

Ms Paradis added: “We call on the Moldovan judiciary system and policy-makers to ensure that, despite explicit reference, discrimination based on sexual orientation is covered under “any other similar grounds” in the application of the law. We also urge European institutions to effectively monitor implementation of this legislation and to support Moldovan authorities is applying an extensive interpretation of the law”.