June 29, 2018
The Government of Moldova must adopt a more positive approach to human rights defenders and publicly recognize the crucial role played by civil society, says a UN human rights expert.
“Despite a globally satisfactory legislative framework, the situation of human rights defenders requires improvement in the Republic of Moldova,” says UN Special Rapporteur Michel Forst in a statement ending his first official visit to the country.
“Human rights defenders and journalists are victims of stigmatization campaigns, lawyers face politically motivated criminal charges or are threatened whenever they defend people with dissenting voices, and journalists’ access to information is restricted,” he added.
“Moreover, officials from Moldova’s National Human Rights Institutions feel disregarded in practice,” said Mr. Forst, the Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights defenders.
“The Government must end its punitive attitude towards human rights defenders, and embrace a more supportive approach to civil society in spite of possible disagreements and criticism” said Mr. Forst.
“While civil society organizations and human rights defenders have the right to freely conduct their human rights work and the Government has publicly declared its openness to engage with them, in practice human rights defenders face several challenges,” Mr. Forst emphasized.
“I have received allegations of intimidation and threats towards human rights defenders by public authorities, particularly after having expressed criticism of decisions taken by the Government,” he said.