#Human Rights
European Union, European Commission, Council of Europe

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, both the EU and the US have halfheartedly overlooked Moldova. A quarter of its four million citizens population is working abroad: the Moldovan Intelligence and Security Service has estimated that 600,000 to one million Moldovan citizens has emigrated, of which only about 80,000 are estimated to be in their destination country legally.

Having a high corruption rate and being the poorest country in Europe, the microscopic Eastern European state is struggling with political tensions for eighteen years, since its 1991 proclamation of independence.

The large majority of the Moldavian population feels that the country is moving in the wrong direction. The Institute for Public Policy in Moldova registered that, in March 2009, 59% of the population disagrees with the government; more than three fourths of this pool complains on key fields of the social and economical situation of the country: salaries, employment, living standards, agriculture, industry, fighting against corruption, pensions, health care. The 65% of the sample pleads for accession to the European Union.

The trend of the Corruption Perception Index increased from 2,1 in 2002 to 3,2 in 2006, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime .

These data throw light upon the protests raised against the government after the results of the elections, as well as the protests of the Moldovan opposition for vote recount instead of a second election process. The majority of the citizens democratically chose to claim their opinion and right to protest, and invite each other using social networks and free Internet based services - tools which were largely used even during the campaign of Mr. president Obama.

The involved citizens spontaneously committed themselves to speak up their suspicion of fraudulent elections and to denounce corruptive activities of the actual government. They strive for the freedom of speech, the right to be fairly represented and the trust that they will receive substantial assistance from the European Union as their guarantor of human rights.

As global and responsible citizens, not only Moldavian people found the current situation unacceptable, but even citizens of the European Union and the U.S.A. On April 16th 2009, Washington officially expresses concerns about the “mistreatment of [citizens] detained by Moldovan authorities [and on] students and journalists [who] have been intimidated by government officials” .

The majority of the protesters who gathered the second day after the parliamentary elections were younger than 30. Students and youths have been threatened by 15-year sentences if they were caught organizing further actions against the current government .

Persecution of the media and the lack of freedom of independent not-governmental information are unfortunately well-known problems among the Moldavian population. By using tools of independent press such as blogs and publishing videos on Internet, the civil society is denouncing the abuse of police officers and of the state. Media are controlled by secret services and journalists risk up to 10 years of jail for their firm desire for freedom of speech and hope for a change in Moldova.

Moldova might probably figure among the biggest failures of the European strategy concerning social security and human rights. The European Commission, the governments of Italy, Finland, Czech Republic, Denmark, Norway, Germany, the agency for development from Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration of the U.S. and the Bureau d’immigration du Québec, Canada are actively collaborating with the International Organization for Migration in order to regulate migration and development in Moldova.

According to UNECE, major European destinations for seeking new opportunities are Italy, Romania, Portugal etc; almost every Moldavian family has at least one family member that left the country .

The present political crisis and severe repression seriously increases the risk of mass emigration from the Country, and consequently amplifies the phenomena of human trafficking and sexual exploitation connected with clandestine fluxes (issue taken into account by the IOM projects in Moldova). It is an imprecation that is devastating the youth expectations and is shortcutting the future of the working population.

Moldova was classified as lowest rank under the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protections Act in 2008; the U.S. suspects the Moldovan government is involved in human trafficking.
A solid concrete intervention of the EU as guarantor for human rights is necessary to achieve the EU members’ objective for stabilizing migratory fluxes. Taking no tangible action would mean counter-trafficking goals that are not achieved due to incoherent geopolitical behavior and lack of leadership.

Moldova might probably count among the biggest failures within the European Neighborhood Policy. The ENP aims indeed “to involve a […] deepening of political co-operation”, as stated in the “EU/Moldova Action plan” . Within the EU organs, the recommendation of strengthening the civil society dimension was already emphasized, and specifically it is underlined that the civil society is vital for the overall success of the ENP and that member states and the Commission need to work together to strengthen the involvement of the civil society in the ENP.

Consequently, a non-elusive intervention of the EU as guarantor for the freedom of expression and protests raised by the civil society in Moldova is expected. It is a matter of the integrity of the ENP.

Moldova might also result in a failure of the multilateral co-operation and trans-sectoral approach of economical programmes within EU and ENP members.
As an example, the overall objective of the Kyiv Initiative 2006-2006 focuses on improving good governance and reinforcement of the role of the civil society, building trust among the different regional communities, and consolidating the shared understanding of common cultural values. The mission aims to “promote a democratic and participative society in an area of peace and prosperity through integrated policies based on the Council of Europe values.

Having the Council of Europe among its partners, it is therefore the responsibility of the EU to intervene and to liaise with the partner national authorities when the role of the civil society is so compromised and the goals to be reached are so far from being achieved.

The lack of freedom and the unhealthy level of governance, shown with evidence by the international press, by organizations such Amnesty International, and furthermore by the liberal expression of citizenship, affects the economical development of the country and will have consequences on many key economical issues (such as the implementation of Investment and Trade Policy in the Western Balkans promoted by OECD: the economic security in Eurasia; and the standardization of trade).

As global citizens of the EU, Moldova, and other nationalities adhering to this petition, we trust the EU considering its opportunity to prevent:
• Rising expatriation and consequent immigration towards EU and members state;
• Aggravation of the corruption level and illegal activities connected with migratory fluxes;
• Political instability in Moldova and its unrecognized separatist region of Transdniestria;
• Increase of the harassment on the civil society in Moldova and Transdniestria;
• Failing to achieve objectives in economical cooperation and governance improvement.

We invite and recall EU to liaise with the Moldavian political parties, local and international media, local NGOs, and the civil society for securing the political crisis, which had already proven severe consequences on human rights abuses.

We request the European Commission and the European Council to:
• Send a fact finding mission for suggesting policy recommendations
• Send a rule of law mission
• Continue to mediate Moldavian government and opposition

We request the EU to unwaveringly endeavor to the social development, and the political stability within fair and transparent elections and the economic development of Moldova: we ask the EU to concretely commit to:
• Defend the human rights of the Moldavian population from abuses and harassment from the government;
• Steadfastly restore and guarantee the freedom of speech and freedom of independent non-governmental information;
• Guarantee the freedom for the protesters and the arrested;
• Restore a non-visa border with Romania;
• Investigate the conduct of the police during the events of the 7th of April and following days, and request formal prosecution;
• Clarify the differences expressed by OSCE analyzers concerning the transparency in the electoral process;
• Invite the political stakeholders to consider the possibility of new elections.

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The Support Human Rights and good Governance in Moldova petition to European Union, European Commission, Council of Europe was written by Luigi Assom and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.