Moldova: 13th EU-Moldova Human Rights Dialogue in Brussels
On 19 October 2022, the European Union and the Republic of Moldova held the thirteenth round of their annual Human Rights Dialogue in Brussels.
The participants welcomed the new strategic phase in EU-Moldova relations after the European Council granted Moldova EU candidate country status. They reaffirmed the mutual commitment to the common values of democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, also enshrined in the EU-Moldova Association Agreement. The expectations are now of renewed efforts from the Moldovan authorities to strengthen the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights.
The meeting provided the opportunity to review developments since the previous Dialogue in 2021. Discussions covered a wide range of issues, from the main developments in the EU’s human rights policy, to Moldova's national human rights policy implementation, elections and electoral framework, freedom and pluralism of the media, upholding human rights in the justice system, rights of the child, fight against discrimination and protection of persons in vulnerable situations, labour rights and cooperation in international fora.
The EU welcomed positive developments in Moldova such as the ratification of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women, the adoption of legislation on hate crime, and the ongoing work to reform the Electoral Code. It encouraged Moldovan authorities to address shortcomings identified by OSCE/ODIHR and the Venice Commission across all areas and ensure effective and continuous implementation of human rights legislation.
In the discussions, a special focus was placed on the need for further reform of the media environment, in particular addressing concentration of media ownership and lack of transparency. The EU welcomed the steps in this direction. The EU welcomed the new mandate of the Audiovisual council and its transparent approach to the civil society and general public.
The EU called on Moldova to pursue decisive efforts to bring the conditions of detention in line with international standards and to thoroughly investigate and prosecute, as well as effectively sanction any act of ill-treatment and torture in detention facilities. The EU welcomed the progress made by Moldova in the process of deinstitutionalisation of the childcare system and the adoption of a new Child Protection Programme and Action Plan for 2022-2026.
Participants agreed on the importance of further strengthening the legal framework for non-discrimination, in particular by closing the existing legislative gaps and sustaining Moldova’s commitments to enhance gender equality and fight gender- based violence.
The meeting was chaired by Ms Dorota Dlouchy Suliga, Acting Head of Division EURCA 5 - Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus in the European External Action Service, while the Moldovan delegation was headed by Mr Eduard Serbenco, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice. The EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore, and the EU Ambassador for Gender & Diversity Stella Ronner took part in the discussion, underlining the importance that the EU attaches to human rights in EU-Moldova relations.
The next Human Rights Dialogue between the EU and Moldova is scheduled to take place in Chisinau in 2023.