Government commits to improving child protection in Moldova

On the 10th of June, in Chisinau, the EU engaged in a constructive dialogue with the Moldavian government around current human rights issues in the country. The EU-Moldova Human Rights Dialogue tackled the following issues: freedom of expression and association; fighting impunity and ill-treatment; rights of the child; gender equality and women’s rights; anti-discrimination and the rights of persons belong to minorities; cooperation in international fora. Civil society organisations were consulted prior the governmental meeting both in Brussels and in Chisinau. ChildPact, mandated by its Moldavian coalition member, APSCF – reuniting 116 child-focused NGOs working and advocating for better child welfare in the Republic of Moldova – contributed to the consultation, feeding in important aspects that still need to be tackled by the Moldavian government so that children have the chance to a decent life.

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.

ChildPact’s recommendations were raised by the EU representatives with the Moldavian authorities! In response, Moldova expressed its commitment to implement the Action Plan for the National Child Protection Strategy once all stakeholders are consulted (including families). The government also articulated its determination to continue the process of deinstitutionalisation of children, with a special focus on children with disabilities and on working on the prohibition to institutionalise children between 0-3 years old. Furthermore, Moldova confirmed that competent authorities will be analysing the state of play of the implementation of the UNCRC while refusing to consider the adoption of the 3rd Optional Protocol of the UNCRC for the time being. The EEAS also emphasised the need for a friendlier justice system for children – both for child victims and child offenders. The European representatives welcomed the establishment of the National Council for Child Rights under the chairmanship of the Moldavian Prime Minister.

Read here ChildPact’s full written contribution for the EU-Moldova Human Rights Dialogue 2015.