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Catan and others v. The Republic of Moldova and Russia, Nos. 43370/04, 8252/05, 18454/06, ECtHR (Grand Chamber), 19 October 2012

Type Judgment
Case number 43370/04, 8252/05, 18454/06


Intimidating measures and harassment put in place by the authorities in order to hinder schooling in the language of a specific ethnic group. Violation of the right of parents to educate their children according to their philosophical convictions as well as of the right to respect for private life.

Normative references

Art. 8 ECHR
Art. 2 Prot. 1 ECHR


1. Intimidating measures and harassment implemented by national authorities that prevent students' access to schools existing at a given time on the national territory as well as the exercise of their right to receive an education in their national language, breach the right of parents to ensure their children an education and teaching in accordance with their philosophical convictions guaranteed by art. 2 of the first additional protocol to the ECHR.

2. Ethnic identity must be considered an important part of private life and, to some degree of rooting, any negative stereotype about a group can affect that group's sense of identity and have a negative effect on feelings of self-esteem and self-confidence of its members, resulting in an infringement to their right to private life. This infringement is even more evident when the authorities conduct a campaign of intimidation and harassment against members of a specific group, thus integrating a violation of art. 8 of the ECHR.

(The applicants alleged that they had been subjected to pressure by the Moldovan Republic of Transnistria authorities as part of a campaign of harassment and intimidation against the schools, on one hand, because of their choice to pursue their or their children’s education at Romanian/Moldovan-language schools and, on the other hand because of their choise to use the Romanian/Moldovan language).