Amnesty International: Government must apologize for human rights failure

Amnesty International (AI) Moldova challenged today the country's government, alongside world governments, to apologize for human rights failure and re-commit itself to deliver concrete improvements. Launched at a news conference today in Chisinau, Amnesty International’s Report 2008 “State of World's Human Rights” shows that sixty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations, people around the world are still tortured or ill-treated, face unfair trials, and are not allowed to speak freely. The report covers 150 countries. According to AI Moldova's executive director Yevgeni Goloschapov, torture, violence against women, limitations on freedom of expression and assembly, the failure to ratify international treaties, and human rights violations in the Transnistrian region, are the severest shortcomings here in Moldova. The report says torture and ill-treatment remain widespread and systemic in Moldova, while victims have great difficulty in pursuing their complaints and getting redress. Other deficiencies include inadequate safeguards for detainees, the lack of resources for police work and pressure to send as many cases as possible to court, encouraging police investigators to extract confessions by force. In 2007 the European Court of Human Rights found in five judgments that Moldova had violated the right to be free from torture and other ill-treatment. AI campaign coordinator Veaceslav Balan says violence against women is also widespread in Moldova, with domestic violence being the worst. A Winrock International survey reveals that two in five Moldovan women become victims of domestic violence at least once in their lifetime, while the government is unable to guarantee efficient protection for the victims. Veaceslav Balan also highlighted the need to improve witness protection measures for the victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation if they agree to testify. Another human rights flashpoint in Moldova are the limitations imposed on the freedom of assembly. 2007 witnessed the arrests of the Hyde Park NGO members, the refusal of the authorities to allow Amnesty International to hold an event on May 9 and the denied permission for homosexuals to hold a pride march. Violations persist, despite a recently adopted assembly law, Balan pointed out. AI also deplores the unwillingness of the authorities to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, a body that prosecutes serious crimes against humanity. The Organization appreciates the significant effort by the government to improve the legislation, deploring however its defective putting into practice. “We urge world governments to transform human rights treaties and domestic laws from dead letters to living documents and make them their guides”, Balan concluded. Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of 1.8 million people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights to be respected and protected for everyone.

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