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The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Rolf Ekeus: the closure of the Romanian school in Tiraspol is linguistic cleansing

On the 15th of July local authorities in the break-away Moldovan region of Transnistria ordered the forced removal by armed police of the whole furniture and equipment of the Tiraspol School No. 20, a Romanian school with teaching in Latin script. The armed forces aggressed the parents and teachers who attempted to block the trucks carrying the materials.

The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Rolf Ekeus reacted immediately after the events in Tiraspol, calling the forced closure of the Romanian school with teaching in Latin script „an act of linguistic cleansing“.

Rolf Ekeus added: "I am deeply disappointed by this illegal and inhuman action today in Tiraspol. It is further evidence of the Transnistrian disregard for basic human rights and education standards. This indifference is damaging to thousands of children who are being used by the Transnistrian authorities as pawns in a political game".

The OSCE Internet site states in an item on the incident that the Transnistrian action was especially provocative as it came one day after the OSCE High Commissioner, while visiting the school, had received assurances from the local authorities that legal registration of all the schools could be allowed within one week.

In the City of Benderi (Tighina) the authorities recently shut off the water supply to a Moldovan school used by handicapped children. Other schools have had their property and utility contracts revoked.

Nearly five thousand pupils have been studying the language in the Latin script for over ten years. However, Transnistrian authorities claim that Moldovan is an official language of the region only when it is written in Cyrillic script, as it was in the Soviet Union.

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