MOLDOVA:Judicial harassment by the Transnistrian Security Committee of Promo-LEX, FIDHmember organisation
Paris-Geneva,April 22, 2015 - The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders,a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) andthe World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), expresses its concerns after theopening of a criminal case against Promo-LEX, FIDH member organisation based inthe Transnistrian region of Moldova.
OnApril 17, 2015, the de facto Transnistrian Committee for State Security(Transnistrian KGB) issued a statementdescribing civil society organisations receiving funds from abroad as a threatto Transnistrian security. The statement, which particularly targets the humanrights organisation Promo-LEX reveals that a criminal case has been filedagainst the organisation, following the Committee's conclusions on theirsubversive activities conducted in the Transnistrian region of Moldova.
“Since itsestablishment, Promo-LEX has been involved in human rights activities in theTransnistrian region by providing legal protection to human rights defenders,by assisting Transnistrian inhabitants - Moldovan, Russian and Ukrainiancitizens - in obtaining justice and by building capacity of localTransnistarian NGOs to promote and defend human rights”, said FIDH President, Karim Lahidji.
TheObservatory fears that the exposure of Promo-LEX in the statement will lead toeven more obstructions in its work in a region, which is already one of theleast accessible territories for human rights defenders in Europe. As of now,there are no efficient mechanisms or institutions to monitor the situation ofhuman rights in the Transnistrian region.
Transnistria'sdisputed status is a source of serious human rights violations, and the victimsoften have no access to justice. Last year, FIDH together with Promo-LEX lookedinto these situations and denounced numerous human rights violations, amongthem the infringement of the right to freedom of movement, the right tocitizenship, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right toproperty, and the right to health and education. The report also shed light onnumerous cases of arbitrary detention, acts of torture and ill-treatment by thepolice as well as the critical detention conditions.
TheObservatory recalls that it is not the first time that a human rightsorganisation working for the development of NGOs in the Transnistrian region isdescribed as subversive by the Transnistrian de facto administration.Last year, the local de facto Parliament initiated a draft law on"foreign agents" that specifically targeted civil societyorganizations working on election monitoring and receiving funding from abroad.The draft bill was adopted in the first plenary reading back in November 2014but has been put on hold.
Thepressure on human rights defenders working in the Transnistrian region hasintensified since 2013. Numerous representatives of the civil society andjournalists are being intimidated and subjected to libel on a daily basis fortheir work to promote and defend human rights in the region.
“This publiccommunication by the Transnistrian Security Committee announcing the criminalprosecution of Promo-LEX is yet another attempt by the de facto Transnistrian administration tocurb any independent human rights organisation denouncing the lack of justicein this disputed area”, concluded OMCTSecretary General Gerald Staberock.
TheObservatory calls upon the international actors, especially the participants ofthe Transnistrian conflict settlement talks in the 5+2 format and parties tothe Geneva and Minsk processes, to increase the focus on human rights in theirrelations with de facto and de jure Transnistrian authorities.This would help advance concrete solutions to challenges faced by human rightsorganisations which are to a large extent the result of persecution andharassment by the de facto Transnistrian authorities.
TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (OBS) was created in1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objectiveof this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repressionagainst human rights defenders.
Formore information, please contact :
· FIDH : Lucie Kroening(French/English/Spanish) - Tel: +33 6 48 05 91 57 (Paris) / Arthur Manet(French/English/Spanish) - Tel: +33 6 72 28 42 94 (Paris)
· OMCT : Miguel MartínZumalacárregui (French/English/Spanish) - Tel: +41 22 809 49 39 (Geneva)