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The condition of human rights in Moldova has come under scrutiny since 2002, and human rights organizations within Moldova and around the world have spoken out against what they feel to be unfair suppression of the independent media, as well as other abuses.

U.S. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons placed the country in "Tier 2" Watchlist" in 2017.[1]

History

State media coverage of the street protests in 2002 regarding the Communists’ attempt to reinstate obligatory study of the Russian language and to defend the cultural identity that the majority of Moldovans share with neighboring Romania was censored. In February 2002, in response to severe censorship of the state broadcast station Teleradio-Moldova (TVM), hundreds of TVM journalists went on strike in solidarity with the anti-communist opposition. In retribution, a few journalists and staff members were dismissed or suspended from the station in March.[2]

However, in 2004 an improvement was made and the Moldovan Parliament removed Article 170 from the country's Criminal Code. Article 170 called for up to five years imprisonment for defamation.[3]

According to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the media climate in Moldova remained restrictive as of 2004.[4] Authorities continued a long-standing campaign to silence independent opposition voices and movements. In a case widely criticized by human rights defenders, opposition politician Valeriu Pasat was sentenced to a ten-year prison term. The United States and human rights defenders from the European Union consider him a political prisoner, and an official statement from Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the judgment "striking in its cruelty".[citation needed]

According to Amnesty International's 2007 annual report, the state of human rights in Moldova was poor. Torture and ill-treatment were widespread and conditions in pre-trial detention were poor. A number of treaties protecting women's rights were ratified, but men, women and children continued to be trafficked for forcible sexual and other exploitation.[citation needed] Measures to protect women against domestic violence were inadequate. Constitutional changes to abolish the death penalty were made. Freedom of expression was restricted and opposition politicians were targeted.

In 2009, when Moldova experienced its most serious civil unrest in a decade, several civilians like Valeriu Boboc were killed by police and many more injured.[5] According to Human Rights Report of the United States Department of State, released in April 2011, "In contrast to the previous year, there were no reports of killings by security forces. During the year reports of government exercising undue influence over the media substantially decreased." But "Transnistrian authorities continued to harass independent media and opposition lawmakers; restrict freedom of association, movement, and religion; and discriminate against Romanian speakers."[6] Moldova "has made “noteworthy progress” on religious freedom since the era of the Soviet Union, but it can still take further steps to foster diversity," said the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Heiner Bielefeldt, in Chişinău, in September 2011.[7]

On 19 April 2021, the Council of Europe Action Plan for the Republic of Moldova 2021–2024, which had among its objectives working on the situation of human rights in Moldova, was signed on Strasbourg, France.[8]

Rights of vulnerable groups

Romani people

Discrimination against Romani people is a systemic problem in Moldovan society. Law enforcement bodies, the police in particular, show a discriminatory attitude, hostility, abusive behavior, and physical and psychological violence towards them.[9] Bad treatments usually take place during detention and aim to obtain testimonies and statements.[9] There were also cases where state authorities refused to investigate or sanction cases of physical abuse committed by individuals against Romani people. The Romani people literacy level is below the national average, and some communities do not have running water, plumbing and heating.[10]

Freedom of expression and of the press

Main article: Media of Moldova

Moldovan Constitutions and laws protect freedom of expression and media freedom, and forbid censorship. Still, direct and indirect censorship is practiced, and Moldova is ranked as "partly free" in Freedom House 2016 Freedom of the Press report.[11]

In 2020, freedom house said that while on paper there was strong media protection, the defamation laws allow for rights to be stripped, which becomes " an easy and comfortable mechanism for exerting pressure on the media as people acting in bad faith can influence official examiners, particularly at the local level."(e.g. in 2020, president Igor Dodon filed a defamation case against Ziarul de Gardă for reporting on his holidays.)[12]

Historical situation

The following chart shows Moldova's ratings since 1991 in the Freedom in the World reports, published annually by Freedom House. A rating of 1 is "free"; 7, "not free".[13]1

The 2021 ratings were for Political rights 3, and for Civil Liberties 3.

See also

Notes on Historical Ratings Table above

1.^ Note that the "Year" signifies the "Year covered". Therefore the information for the year marked 2008 is from the report published in 2009, and so on.
2.^ As of January 1.
3.^ Moldova is a parliamentary republic; the presidency is considered a ceremonial position, with the prime minister and parliament holding most of the legislative power.[14][15]
4.^ On the Freedom House spreadsheet, the ratings for every country from North Macedonia through North Korea are applied to the country that precedes it alphabetically, with North Macedonia's ratings (3 for both civil and political rights) being applied to North Korea. North Macedonia is listed as beginning with the letter “M” (as in “Macedonia, North”), whereas North Korea is listed as beginning with the letter “N”; hence, every country beginning with the letters "M" and "N" (excluding Norway) are affected.

References

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  1. ^ "Trafficking in Persons Report 2017: Tier Placements". www.state.gov. Archived from the original on 2017-06-28. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  2. ^ "Attacks on the Press 2002: Moldova". 31 March 2003. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  3. ^ "IFEX". Archived from the original on 19 January 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  4. ^ Report on Assessment Visit to Moldova by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media
  5. ^ Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Moldova 2011 Crime and Safety Report
  6. ^ United States Department of State, 2010 Human Rights Report: Moldova
  7. ^ Moldova: UN human rights expert calls for more fostering of religious diversity
  8. ^ "New Council of Europe Action Plan for the Republic of Moldova launched in Strasbourg". Council of Europe. 19 April 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Rele tratamente pe motiv de discriminare în Moldova" (PDF). Promo-LEX. Chișinău. 2012. p. 28. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-07-02. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  10. ^ "Moldova: Raport asupra drepturilor omului pe anul 2016" (PDF). Ambasada SUA în Moldova.
  11. ^ "Moldova / Country report / Freedom of the Press". Freedom House. 2016. Archived from the original on 2018-10-22. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  12. ^ ""FoTP_Moldova-2021_En_0.pdf"" (PDF). Freedom House. November 26, 2023. Retrieved November 26, 2023.
  13. ^ Freedom House (2022). "Country and Territory Ratings and Statuses, FIW 1973-2022" (XLS). Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  14. ^ "Moldova elects pro-Russian Igor Dodon as president". Politico. 14 November 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  15. ^ "Maia Sandu, a reformist ex-prime minister, becomes president". The Economist. 19 November 2020. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 9 March 2022.