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UPR of Moldova: discrimination faced by ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities
Thursday, 20 October 2011 16:53

 

The Working Group on the UPR met on 12 October 2011 to review the human rights situation in Moldova.  The Moldovan delegation, comprising 7 members, was headed by Mr Vladimir Grosu, Deputy Minister for Justice.  In its opening statement, Moldova described itself as a country in transition, with an ambitious reform program underway, motivated by the prospect of EU integration.  It stated its commitment to the UPR process, as a tool for creating a real link between the country’s human rights obligations and the benefits felt in the daily lives of its people.

 

Some changes since the submission of Moldova’s report were highlighted, including the legal recognition last month of the Islamic League, a key step towards protecting freedom of religion for the country’s Muslim minority, and progress on a draft anti-discrimination law, which was put before parliament but subsequently withdrawn for further consideration due to ‘sensitivities’ in society regarding the particular issue of homosexuality.  The draft law was said to have been submitted to civil society groups in recent days for consultation, as part of the process towards the enactment of legislation.

 

All 37 of the (mostly European) states scheduled to speak were able to do so, and the following recommendations, comments and questions were made by states:

 

  • Recommendations to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers, the Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons, and the Convention on Enforced Disappearances; and to make a declaration recognising the competence of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to receive individual communications under Article 14 of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination.
  • Welcoming of the decision to extend a standing invitation to all UN Special Procedures.
  • Recommendations to reform the judicial system, to improve access to courts and combat corruption; and to improve prison conditions.
  • Concern over allegations of torture by security forces and ill treatment of detainees (as reported by Amnesty International), particularly in the aftermath of the electoral unrest in April 2009; concern over the failure to investigate, prosecute and punish the officers responsible; recommendations to end the ‘climate of impunity’ on this issue, implement the formal prohibition on torture, make evidence obtained through torture inadmissible in courts and punish all those responsible.
  • Concern about the restriction of the rights of LGBT[1] groups to freedom of assembly and expression, and their subjection to threats and abuse; ‘disappointment’ that the Moldovan government ‘appears to have reversed its stance’ on this issue; recommendations to ensure the protection of LGBT rights and the prosecution of crimes against members of these groups.
  • Welcoming the registration of the Islamic League in March 2011.
  • Recommendations to take steps to improve inter-ethnic and religious relations, and particularly improve the social and economic problems facing the Roma.
  • Concern about the delays in passing the extremely important anti-discrimination law; recommendations to ensure its adoption as soon as possible.
  • Concern about the suppression of ethnic languages, particularly Russian; recommendations to ensure the provision of education in ethnic minority languages is maintained, and to improve efforts to protect the languages and cultural heritage of minorities.
  • Noting of efforts to combat human trafficking; concern at the alleged use of bribery by perpetrators to escape tough sentences; recommendations to strengthen efforts in this area, in particular through prosecution of traffickers and education of vulnerable persons.
  • Recommendations for further measures towards gender equality, including combatting domestic violence, reducing the wage gap and creating quotas for women’s representation in public authorities.
  • Welcoming the creation of an ombudsman for children’s rights; recommendations of further measures to protect children’s rights, especially those of disabled and street children.
  • Concern over the human rights situation in Transnistria and the regional authority’s excessive control over the media and civil society; recommendations to seek a peaceful resolution to the problems.

 

The Moldovan delegation responded only once, before its closing comments, however the response was extensive and addressed most of the issues raised.  Regarding torture and ill-treatment following 2009 electoral unrest, the delegation stated that in fact investigations had taken place and 27 cases had been brought to justice, and that of the three deaths in custody at the time, only one was directly related to the events.  It also stated that a strategy for judicial reform had been adopted in the past few weeks to combat judicial corruption.  On the issue of human trafficking, it stated that Moldova is no longer a major source of human trafficking, and efforts to combat the problem have been made through education and training of vulnerable persons and personnel, and increased monitoring of particularly vulnerable children in Government institutions.  There was some clear tension in the delegation’s response to Russia’s allegations of suppression of the Russian language and the problems in Transnistria, with a rejection of claims regarding Russian language school closures; and a statement that they would continue to raise the human rights issue in the region with Russia and seek a peaceful settlement.

 

At the adoption of the review, Moldova accepted 107 of 122 recommendations, stating that the remaining 15 would be considered with the input of other stakeholders. The delegation described the review as an important milestone in the reform of the human rights system in Moldova, and pledged to submit a mid-term progress report to the Human Rights Committee.



[1] Most delegations raising this issue used the term ‘LGBT’ as opposed to ‘LGBTI’.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 October 2011 16:55
 
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