"Republic of Moldova: “Impunity remains a major concern"
Strasbourg, 11/01/12 – "Addressing the remaining human rights consequences of the violent events of April 2009 is a pressing need for Republic of Moldova. Concrete and resolute action should be taken to bring to trial those responsible for illegal acts during that period, and reforms should be pursued to prevent such violations from occurring in the future", said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, releasing today a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Republic of Moldova, Mr Vladimir Filat.
The Commissioner notes with concern the unjustifiable leniency with which those responsible for acts of violence against protesters have been treated. "Trials have generally resulted in acquittals or light suspended sentences. Victims of torture and ill-treatment have not been allowed access to case files while policemen suspected of having committed such serious crimes continue to exercise their duties pending investigation. This is unacceptable".
Referring to the 2010 judgment Pădureţ v Moldova of the European Court of Human Rights, the Commissioner recommends that decisive action be taken to adopt and enforce a policy of "zero-tolerance" as concerns ill-treatment by the police. He further stresses that the independence and competence of the judiciary should be ensured and that the right to liberty, security and to a fair trial be guaranteed. "Particular attention should be given to the reform of police, with a view to eradicating the phenomenon of police violence and abuse as well as to ensuring accountability for any officials who violate the prohibition against torture and ill-treatment."
Commissioner Hammarberg also calls for a strengthening of the independence and effectiveness of the National Preventive Mechanism established under the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture, which should be entitled to have unlimited access to all places of detention.
The Commissioner also spotlights the issue of discrimination in Republic of Moldova. As regards persons with disabilities, he recommends improving their access to education, employment, communication and information. He urges a thorough rehaul of the current legal framework with a view to establishing on a firm basis the presumption of legal capacity for adult persons with mental health or intellectual disabilities. At the same time, he encourages further steps towards the deinstitutionalisation of children with disabilities.
Roma in Republic of Moldova continue to face discrimination and exclusion in various fields including employment, education, housing and healthcare. "Roma political representation remains minimal, and they run a high risk of being marginalised by state authorities as well as by non-state actors. Anti-Roma rhetoric should be condemned and political leaders and other opinion makers should lead by example in promoting principles of non-discrimination, tolerance and respect for people from different backgrounds."
Finally, the Commissioner encourages the authorities to increase human rights awareness among the population, professionals and state officials in order to eradicate all forms of discrimination. "Respect and mutual understanding for everyone's human rights should inspire public and private policies. The educational system and the media have a key role to play in contributing to a fairer and more tolerant society".