On November 20, 2023, the European Union (EU) and the Republic of Moldova held the fourteenth round of the Annual Human Rights Dialogue in Chișinău.
The EU and the Republic of Moldova reaffirmed their common values and mutual commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, as enshrined in the EU-Moldova Association Agreement. The agreement highlighted the reform efforts supported by the Republic of Moldova, recognizing the country’s progress toward EU accession. In this regard, the EU encouraged Moldova to continue efforts to strengthen the respect, protection, and fulfillment of human rights.
Participants also recalled that Russia’s illegal aggression against Ukraine had caused indescribable suffering and had a negative impact on the exercise of human rights in Ukraine and beyond. In this context, the strong solidarity of the Republic of Moldova and its people with Ukraine was appreciated.
The meeting provided an opportunity to review the main political developments since the previous dialogue in 2022. Discussions covered a wide range of areas, including the national human rights policy of the Republic of Moldova, cooperation in international forums, electoral developments, press freedom, and pluralism. Participants also discussed human rights in the judiciary, labor rights, child rights, and efforts to promote equality and combat discrimination, including gender equality, the rights of persons with disabilities, the rights of LGBTI persons, and the rights of minority groups.
The EU welcomed positive developments in Moldova, such as the adoption of gender equality promotion programs, support for the Roma population, and the implementation of a strategy to strengthen interethnic relations. Additionally, the EU recognized steps taken in child care reforms, deinstitutionalization processes, and measures to ensure compliance with the Istanbul Convention, emphasizing the need for their continuation.
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Regarding the media sector, the EU welcomed measures to improve transparency and address media concentration, in line with Moldova’s commitments to the de-oligarchization process. Concerning the electoral framework, the EU encouraged Moldova to fully consider the OSCE/ODIHR recommendations and align the latest amendments to the Electoral Code with the Venice Commission’s forthcoming opinion. Lastly, the EU emphasized the importance of strengthening institutional capacity and promoting meaningful cooperation with civil society.
The EU reiterated its call to Moldova to make decisive efforts to bring detention conditions in line with international standards, and thoroughly investigate and prosecute any acts of torture and ill-treatment in detention centers effectively.
The dialogue was co-chaired by Eduard Serbenco, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Moldova, and Dorota Dlouchy-Suliga, Head of Division for Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus at the European External Action Service.
The next EU-Moldova Human Rights Dialogue is scheduled in Brussels in 2024.