Multiple human rights violations were committed in the Republic of Moldova last year. There were imposed a number of exaggerated limitations that had a negative impact on the freedoms and democratic processes. The COVID-19 crisis led to the deepening of poverty, extension of inequality, structural and consolidated discrimination and worsening of the human rights situation. Most of the challenges were related to the realization of the right of access to medical services, information of public interest, right to work and decent living, free movement and the freedom of expression, says the ombudswoman’s report on the observance of the human rights and freedoms in the Republic of Moldova in 2020.
“To my mind, as the ombudswoman for children’s rights, and in the opinion of my late mate Mihail Cotorobai, no positive changes were seen in 2020 in the human rights system, while the progressive results announced by the public authorities could not generate improvements,” Maia Bănărescu stated in a news conference at IPN.
The ombudswoman noted the authorities weren’t always able to cope with the challenges owing to the inefficient management of the situation or the system shortcomings that didn’t enable to take promote and adequate actions. Authorities’ decisions in the management of the health crisis were influenced more by the political factor and less by health specialists. The authorities in general didn’t take into account the approaches based on human rights.
Maia Bănărescu noted that a number of events that contracted the democratic space in the Republic of Moldova were witnessed in 2020. Among these were attacks on and intimidations of the independent press and the NGO sector, nontransparent and non-participatory decision-making process, adoption in Parliament of a series of legislative acts by not obeying the legislative procedure, perpetuation and maintaining of hate speech in the public sphere, the electoral process with multiple irregularities, maintaining of selective justice and impunity for human rights violations. All these had a negative effect on the public’s confidence in the national democratic institutions.
The report shows that progress last year wasn’t made in increasing the independence and efficiency of justice, in counteracting threats to the rule of law. Among the topical problems related to the realization of the right to a fair trial is the delay in examining cases by courts of law. Considerable suspicions persisted about the correctness and objectivity of handling resonant cases involving former or current officials or politicians.
The state of emergency declared in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic aggravated the problems that existed in the social protection sphere before the pandemic. The ombudspersons were notified of different aspects of violation of the patient’s right to health protection. Most of the times, there was invoked the reduction or postponement of planned hospital admissions. This led to the aggravation of disease.
A number of rights of the people living in the Transnistrian region were limited owing to the measures imposed by the de facto authorities in connection with the spread of the virus. There was restricted the right to the free movement of persons who daily traveled from one bank of the Nistru to another when going to work, to benefit from medical services, to use ATMs, etc.
As regards the observance of children’s rights, the ombudswoman said the education process was affected owing to the restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the virus and to the use of online learning. The online education process considerably reduced the quality of training of students. Some of them didn’t have access to studies owing to the absence of gadgets or the insufficiency of these in the families with many children. Over 30% of the children enrolled in the education system were unable to take part in online learning as they didn’t have computers or mobile phones. Another problem following the closing of education institutions was the deprivation of some of the children of the only meal they had during the day. The supervision of children at home by adults was another problem. According to the report, distance learning was thorny also due to the insufficiency or lack of training of teaching staff for teaching online.