September 23, 2020

Report on Human Rights in the Transnistrian Region of the Republic of Moldova


By Thomas Hammarberg
Senior Expert
One purpose of human rights reporting is usually to identify shortcomings and problems which ought to be addressed. This report is no exception; it is critical but with the intention to encourage remedial action. At the very end, the Expert has listed some of his concrete recommendations. He has also offered suggestions on what international agencies might contribute in order to promote human rights for individuals in Transnistria.

The work of the Expert focused exclusively on the situation in Transnistria. Though developments there in several respects are dependent on the situation on the right bank, it was not part of his work to analyze this linkage or to make comparisons between the two sides. Nor was he involved in the political negotiation process for the Transnistrian settlement in the 5+2 process. The Expert has benefited from assistance from the UN Human Rights Adviser, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UN Resident Coordinator to the Republic of Moldova. He has been guided by the agreed international human rights standards and the principle that every human being must be able to enjoy these rights irrespective of where they live.


He visited Transnistria in three separate missions in May, September and November 2012. He met key political
decision-makers within the de facto authorities, office holders within the judiciary, prosecution, law enforcement
as well as within the systems for education, social welfare and health care. He visited a number of institutions
holding prisoners, persons with disabilities and children without parents or coming from dysfunctional families.
He had repeated meetings with representatives from the civil society.

He consulted regularly with representatives of the Government of the Republic of Moldova. He also met with diplomats and other representatives of the international community based in Moldova. The Transnistrian leadership cooperated fully with the Expert and ensured that he could meet those he requested to see and visit institutions of relevance for his task. At the end of each visit there was a meeting with the Transnistrian leadership at which the Expert presented his preliminary observations. Positive steps were taken soon afterwards, including some further releases of prisoners or reduction of their sentences. Other initiatives were already underway.

During his travels on the territory, the Expert noted that the new leadership had created expectations of a more
open society, with a functioning justice system, less corruption and more care for vulnerable people. At the same
time, his interlocutors appeared to recognize that the problems are deep-rooted and will require sustained and
long-term efforts to be effectively addressed.

Though the Expert visited a large number of different institutions and consulted with a broad range of interested
groups and parties, he is aware that the present report cannot be regarded as the final word on all human rights
issues in Transnistria. It is simply not possible to develop a full understanding of these complex issues through a
few visits within a limited time. It is, however, hoped that the report and its recommendations will encourage a
serious discussion aiming at implementation of human rights standards.




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