Catan and 27 Others v Moldova and Russia, Caldare and 42 Others v Moldova and Russia and Cercavschi and 98 Others v Moldova and Russia

Forum: European Court of Human Rights
INTERIGHTS' role: Advisers to counsel
Keywords: Discrimination, education, family life, privacy, remedies

On 25 January 2012, the Grand Chamber conducted a hearing in the case of Catan & Ors v Moldova & Russia, concerning violations of the rights to education, private life and freedom from discrimination of children, parents and teachers in the territory of Transdniestria. INTERIGHTS lawyers Helen Duffy and Pádraig Hughes attended the hearing as advisers to lawyers from Moldovan NGO Promo-LEX. To read a press release on the hearing from INTERIGHTS and Promo-LEX, click here. To view a webcast of the hearing, click here.

For more background see the Court's admissibility decision of 2010 (for the webcast of this hearing, click here) and the brief submitted by Promo-LEX and INTERIGHTS. INTERIGHTS lawyers Doina Ioana Straisteanu and Iain Byrne attended the admissibility hearing (held on 9 June 2009) as advisers to lawyers from Promo-LEX.

Case Information

These cases against Moldova and Russia concern linguistic and ethnic discrimination (Article 14 of the ECHR) taken together with the right to education (Protocol 1, Article 2), respect for private and family life (Article 8) and access to an effective domestic remedy in the de facto Moldovan Republic of Transdniestria.

The applicants are Moldovan nationals - children of school age, their parents and teachers - who attend or work at three of the seven schools in the Moldovan Republic of Transdniestria which use the Moldovan/Romanian language with Latin script. The schools refused to register with the self-proclaimed, unrecognized authorities of the Republic, since registration would demand the use of the Cyrillic script in schools. In July 2004 the authorities used military and police forces to storm the schools and closed them down. Some parents and teachers were arrested and subsequently sentenced to administrative imprisonment. Parents were threatened with loss of their jobs and even removal of their parental rights if they failed to send their children to schools registered with the regime. The applicants have filed a number of unsuccessful petitions and complaints with the authorities of the Russian Federation as well as with the Moldovan authorities. The case was granted priority treatment.

Contact: Pádraig Hughes at