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PASOS concerned about deterioration of political situation in Moldova

29.04.2009   Infotag  580 

The Policy Association for an Open Society (PASOS) has expressed its profound concern about the worsening of political situation in Moldova.

The Association wrote in its Statement, "We appeal to the Czech Presidency of the European Council, the European Commission, the EU Special Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, to the EU member-state governments, and to Members of the European Parliament carefully read this letter, and to respond with effective action to renew the commitment of the EU towards respect for and protection of human dignity, political freedoms and civil liberties. We call upon the EU to condemn autocratic, one-party control of political and economic institutions in the neighbouring countries of the EU".

"We appeal for human solidarity with the democratic forces of civil society in Moldova, and urge both international media associations and political institutions of the European Union in Moldova to take a strong, principled position in defense of human rights and freedom of association and expression", the Statement said.

Members of the PASOS Network are very concerned at the lack of progress in curbing the escalation of the political crisis in Moldova, and the lack of impetus from the side of the European Union, at the very moment when core civil liberties are being threatened, especially the access to free media, the right to associate and other fundamental liberties and rights, enshrined in the key treaties ratified by the Republic of Moldova, stated PASOS Executive Director Jeff Lovitt.

PASOS representatives maintain that Moldovan non-governmental organisations and media that monitored the elections of 2009 have come under intense pressure from the Ministry of Justice to 'present their official appraisal of the post-election protest actions of April 6-7, 2009', presumably to demonstrate their political stance, disapproval or loyalty to the authorities. They have been asked to release a report of their actions to stop the riots, and "we would like to read a report on actions taken to stop the riots, but one written by the authorities".

"It seems that the Communist Party leaders are turning a deaf ear to both domestic and international criticism, attempting to curb the efforts of watchdogs and to silence think-tanks that provided their own views about the protest actions and the response of the authorities in Moldova. This is not the first case of intimidation of civil society groups in Moldova, but the threat has reached a dangerous new level".

On April 21, the Coalition 2009 sent an open letter to the Ministry of Justice, expressing bewilderment about an accusation put forward by the Ministry - that Coalition 2009 was allegedly one of the organizers of the April 7 protest events in the center of Chisinau. The Coalition wrote that it was not an organizer of the aforementioned protests, and criticized acts of violence from both sides, the protesters and the police. "We are very concerned at this attempt to mislead the public", the statement said.

"Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior has cracked down on independent media that investigated post-election cases of human rights abuses, including torture, committed by the Moldovan police. On 24 April, three independent media outlets, "Timpul", "Jurnal de Chisinau", and "Ziarul de Garda", were urged by the authorities to release the names of the confidential sources they quoted in their journalistic investigations, so as to silence the witnesses who reported about the police brutalities and torture committed against arrested persons in police custody. There is no scope for considering that the timing of this step was a pure coincidence!", the document said.

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