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PACE Members: “Attacks on civil society, independent media and opposition in Moldova must end”

During the 2019 Winter Session, held between January 21st and 25th, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) assessed the latest developments on the human rights situation in Moldova.

On January 22, Written Declaration no. 669 was signed by a group of twenty-six PACE members, led by Senator Joseph O’Reilly (Ireland). This written declaration follows the latest findings of the Report on the implementation of the EU Association Agreement with Moldova (A8-0322/2018), and stresses the need to put an end to political persecutions in the country, as well as the need to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

By signing this declaration, “Attacks on civil society, independent media and opposition in Moldova must end”, PACE members agreed to fully support the call of the European Parliament to Moldovan authorities to address the deep concern represented by the Moldovan Parliament’s constant abuse of power to prosecute judges, lawyers and any international NGO working in favour of human rights and the rule of law.

In the text of the Written Declaration, lawmakers mentioned the attacks on the Open Dialogue Foundation: “The recent attacks on the Open Dialogue Foundation and its leader, Lyudmyla Kozlovska […], set a dangerous precedent paving the way for similar persecution of other critical organisations. It is an urgent warning for the European and international community.”

Last October, Members of the Moldovan Parliament and of the ruling Moldovan Democratic Party, led by the oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, established a parliamentary commission to investigate ODF’s activities and supposed involvement in the internal affairs of the Republic of Moldova. The final report of the commission, produced after just a few weeks, accuses ODF and other regime opponents of crimes such as high treason, espionage and sabotage.

Since 2017, the Foundation has been actively advocating in defense of victims of politically motivated persecution and harassment, bringing to the attention of European and international institutions individual cases of endangered lawyers, such as Ana Ursachi and Eduard Rudenco, and pro-reform and opposition activists, as well as prosecuted judges, like Domnica Manole and Marina Anton. The respect for basic human rights and rule of law has been at the core of ODF’s campaign for the disbursement of further macro-financial assistance to the country, which explains the defamatory purpose behind the parliamentary commission.   

Most importantly, in the last paragraph of the written declaration, PACE members urged to adopt a Magnitsky-like sanctions programme to hold accountable those responsible for violating international obligations in matters related to human rights and high-profile corruption schemes. The call comes in the aftermath of the adoption by the Assembly of the report “Sergei Magnitsky and beyond – fighting impunity by targeted sanctions”, aimed at encouraging the Council of Europe’s governments to adopt legal instruments to impose targeted sanctions on perpetrators of human rights abuses.

Read the full text of the written declaration:

Read ODF’s latest report and statements:

Read oDR article on the Moldovan parliamentary commission against ODF: