ChildPact took part in the preparatory meeting prior to the EU-Moldova 2015 Human Rights Dialogue which took place in Brussels, on the 19th of May. The meeting was a proof of the commitment of the European External Action Service to engage in a transparent discussion with civil society organisations before hearing out the Moldavian authorities in Chisinau, on the 10th of June.
The main topics advanced on the agenda by the EEAS representatives were: 1. Update on policy initiatives and implementation; 2. Freedom of expression and association; 3. Fighting impunity and ill-treatment; 4. Rights of the Child; 5. Gender equality and Women’s Rights; 6. Anti-discrimination and the rights of persons belong to minorities; 7. Cooperation in international fora.
ChildPact, together with its Moldavian coalition member, APSCF, reuniting 116 child-focused NGOs working and advocating for better child welfare in the Republic of Moldova – welcomed the National Child Protection Strategy for 2014-2020 of Moldova but pointed out that despite of the development of standard operating procedures in line with EU standards and good practices in regard to the respect of child rights, Moldova continues to be a source for child trafficking and a country at EU’s boarders where children still have to go a long run for a safe and decent life.
ChildPact expressed some concerns regarding several child protection challenges hindering progress in Moldova and made appropriate recommendations. First of all, ChildPact emphasised that an efficient child protection system requires the cooperation of a wide range of sectors (such as labour, education, health, social protection, judiciary and many more) and thus, the implementation of the Child Protection Strategy in Moldova requires more than just the contribution of the Ministry of Labour, Social Protection and Family (MLSPF). In this regard, ChildPact stressed that the MLSPF needs to coordinate its implementation actions with the National Council for Child Rights. Secondly, ChildPact suggested that the actions to be envisaged by the future Action Plan deriving from the Child Protection Strategy should be covered by the ordinary budget in order to increase their efficiency. Thirdly, ChildPact argued that special attention should be given to the closing process of institutions and to the development of alternative care services and to the prevention services to be developed or improved at local level. Finally, in the light of the recent amendments made to the local public finances law in Moldova touching decentralisation and establishing the budgetary autonomy of local communities, ChildPact expressed its concern that it is most likely that poorer communities will decide to make cuts from the budget allocated to social services, thus replicating a poverty circle. To avoid this, ChildPact suggested that a standard package of community social services should be supported by the state, from the national budget, and that local communities should contribute to those standard services according to their budgetary possibilities.
Other child-focused organisations participating in the meeting raised some important points regarding the advancement of child rights in Moldova. Among them, UNICEF raised the issue of the Ombudsman for children, the difficulties in the appointments and the lack of progress on the nomination and argued that the optional protocol no. 3 of the UNCRC should be ratified by Moldova. Furthermore, Lumos argued that sustained financial support should be given to families at risk in order to avoid child abandonment and that the area of services addressed to children should be diversified while special attention should be paid to children with disabilities.
Prior to the EU-Moldova Human Rights Dialogue, an extraordinary meeting with CSOs will take place in Chisinau and the inputs of interested organisations will be collected. Furthermore, exceptionally for the case of Moldova thanks to the Moldavian government, CSOs are welcomed to participate at the official Dialogue, in an observing capacity. A follow-up meeting of the Dialogue will take place in Brussels in line with the same transparent communication promoted by the EEAS.