Improve its response to hate speech and advance access to quality healthcare, affordable housing and social inclusion for all, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, wrote in her report (published in Strasbourg on Thursday) on the visit to Moldova she paid in March 2020.

Moldova should ratify Istanbul convention – coe commissioner Dunja Mijatovic


Dunja Mijatovic as the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights. Photo:

The visit included travel to Comrat town

[the administrative center of the southern Moldovan autonomous unit of Gagauzia] and to Tiraspol – with recommendations on violence against women and domestic violence, children’s rights, the human rights of persons with disabilities, Roma, hate speech and the rights to housing and health.

With legislation on domestic violence and its implementation increasingly in line with international standards, Commissioner Mijatovic urged the Moldovan authorities to ratify the Istanbul Convention without further delay.

“The government should ensure that the public has accurate information about the true nature and scope of violence against women and domestic violence and the measures envisaged in the Istanbul Convention to respond to and prevent these phenomena”, she underscores in the Report.

In her opinion, the network of shelters and support services for victims of domestic violence should be extended and access to justice should be improved, along with the capacities of the police, prosecutors and the judiciary to effectively investigate complaints and deal with cases in a gender-sensitive manner.

The Commissioner is concerned about instances of hate speech, especially by political leaders during the electoral campaigns, targeting women and LGBTI persons.

Dunja Mijatovic believes that public officials and community leaders should not only never engage in hate speech but disavow it when it occurs and combat it through prevention, prosecution, self-regulation and counter-speech”. To this end, the existing legal and institutional framework should be fine-tuned and explicitly provide protection against hate speech, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

She underscores that important progress has been achieved with regard to the de-institutionalization of persons with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities, but community-based services to support their independent living should be extended and the accessibility of public spaces improved. The Commissioner calls on the Moldovan authorities to be more ambitious in reforming mental health services, with the aim of progressively eliminating recourse to coercive practices in psychiatry.