Moldova: Lively debate on the conditions of detention
The Human Rights Committee reviewed the third report of the Republic of Moldova on the 18th and 19th of October 2016. With the spectre of the events of the human rights violations that occurred during the post-election demonstrations in April 2009, the State delegation introduced its report saying that a new Action Plan for Human Rights would soon be adopted. The Committee appreciated the efforts made by the government and highlighted several issues that the State should give further attention to.
"The legislative proposal reforming the guardianship system in the Republic of Moldova is not compliant with the ICCPR"
Moldova has significantly improved its legislative framework for combatting human trafficking, including the adoption of a law on the rehabilitation of victims. Nevertheless, the experts asked the delegation what measures had been taken in practice to prevent and combat human trafficking. The experts also asked if victims are provided with free legal aid, and what measures are in place to avoid double victimisation (for instance in the case of undocumented migrants). The government responded that in 2015, 132 victims received assistance and support, including legal assistance. Regarding trafficking of children, the State reported an increase of 24 cases in 2014 to 39 in 2015, but the number of prosecutions also increased from 7 in 2014 to 24 in 2015.
Conditions of detention
Committee members asked several questions related to measures to address prison overcrowding and to improve conditions of detention. The State delegation replied that they were aware of the problems in this area and the need to improve conditions in penitentiary institutions. Efforts had been made since 2007, but there are financial constraints. The government has been working on amendments to the Criminal Code to create alternative methods in sentencing as a measure to reduce overcrowding. The delegation admitted that there was a slight increase in the prison population even if the Law on Amnesty ensured the release of a significant number of prisoners. Moreover the government is constructing prison facilities to reduce the overcrowding in detention, but additional measures need to be taken.
Recommendations of the Committee
The Concluding Observations for which the State should provide information on the implementation within one year, concern:
National human rights framework: The State party should adopt promptly a new National Human Rights Action Plan based on consultations with all relevant stakeholders; allocate sufficient human and financial resources to ensure the effective implementation of the former and new NHRAP; and ensure that the implementation of the former and new NHRAP is regularly reviewed and evaluated.
Abuse and ill-treatment in residential institutions and psychiatric hospitals: The State party should take action to revise its laws and practices on forced detention on grounds of mental or intellectual disability as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time; to protect persons with disabilities from further abuse and ill-treatment; and conduct prompt, impartial and thorough investigations into all allegations of abuse and ill-treatment by persons with disabilities, hold the perpetrators to account, and provide effective remedies to victims.
Conditions of detention: The State party should take concrete steps to improve conditions in prisons and detention facilities. In this regard, the State party should consider not only the construction of new prison facilities but also the wider application of alternative non-custodial sentences, such as electronic monitoring, parole and community service.
The next (fourth) periodic report of the Republic of Moldova should be submitted by 4 November 2022.
Photo credit: OSCE