Law of NGOs adopted, protests violently dispersed

Law of NGOs adopted, protests violently dispersed

Association

New report released: Radiography of attacks on CSOs, 2019

A new report by the Legal Resources Centre of Moldova entitled ‘Radiography of attacks on civil society organisations 2019’ was released in July 2020 to highlight the statements and actions of politicians which aimed to publicly vilify civil society during the year. According to the report, most incidents reported were related to flak received by CSOs after criticising the government and were usually taken up by small online media outlets and those with political affiliations to spread false information. Most of the reported incidents from 2019 were centred around the February 2019 elections, according to the report.

The Law of NGOs adopted at the second reading

During its second reading on 11th June 2020, Parliament adopted the Law on non-commercial organizations, ending two years of sustained CSO advocacy for parliament to adopt the law without any amendments that would restrict civic freedoms.

As previously reported on the Monitor, the law was tabled in parliament in 2018, and was among the conditions imposed by the EU on Moldova for allocation of micro-financial assistance.

Open Letter to Central Authorities on the Law on Volunteering

On 8th July 2020, the Platform for Active Citizenship and Partnership for Human Rights (CAP) and the Association for Youth for the Right to Life (TDV) sent a Letter to the several public authorities on the adoption of the Law on Volunteering and Civil Society Development Strategy, the establishment of the National Volunteer Centre and the utilisation of budgetary funds by theMinistry of Education, Research and Culture (MECC).

In their letter, the CSOs decried the exclusion of civil society from parliamentary discussions on the amendment of the Volunteering Law. They also denounced the misuse of funds by the youth directorate within the MECC in performing tasks which had already been allocated to the National Volunteer Centre which was created in May 2020. The group highlighted the urgent need to review the framework through which public money is offered through MECC to support volunteering activities, noting that it presented, in its current state, conflicts of interest, lack of transparency and inefficiency in spending money from the State Budget.

Peaceful Assembly

Meeting descends into chaos after counter-protest

As new military clashes began on 12th July 2020 between Azerbaijan and Armenia, a meeting organised by the "Congress of Azeri of Moldova" at the Embassy of Armenia in Chisinau on 22nd July 2020 turned chaotic after exchanges with Armenian counter-protesters led to physical altercations between Azeri and Armenian groups. Participants hurled insults, punched and hit each other with flagpoles, and were only separated after quick intervention from law enforcement officials.

Veterans’ protest violently dispersed

On 16th July 2020, a veterans' protest which was organised by the ‘Veterans Force’ in front of Parliament descended into chaos after police officers violently dispersed the group. The demonstrators, veterans of the Dniester war, protested against the failure by authorities to fulfill promises regarding their welfare. At least three protesters were injured as law enforcement officers used physical force and teargas to disperse the protest. Several others were also detained and charged with misdemeanors. The protesters returned to the streets on 19th July without any incident and vowed to hold further protests.

Expression

Journalists intimidated, assaulted

On 22nd July 2020, TV8 journalists Viorica Tătaru and Andrei Captarenco reported that they were assaulted in Molovata by members of the joint peace keeping troops stationed at the security posts from the Dniester. The journalists were near Molovata Nouă to document an article about war veterans when they encountered a soldier who hit Viorica, confiscated her mobile phone and deleted files from it after she took several videos of the surroundings of the Dniester river. Three members of the troops then stopped the boat they had boarded afterwards to cross the river in an attempt to arrest the journalists. An hour-long impasse ensued after the journalists and other passengers refused to heed the soldiers’ orders. It was resolved only after arrival and intervention of the Dubasari police.

Commenting on the incident, media NGOs said in a statement:

“We warn the legitimate authorities of the rule of law of the Republic of Moldova on the seriousness of the interferences brought to human rights and freedoms, guaranteed at national and international level, both by violating the right to bodily integrity of the person, individual freedom and security, and by interfering with special rights guaranteed journalists”.