Moldova: Ombudsman for child rights protection meets civil society

Source: The Alliance of Active NGOs in the Field of Social Protection of Family and Child from the Republic of Moldova (APSCF)  

Chisinau, June 6th 2016

A number of 27 representatives of NGOs from the field of child protection met with the  Moldovan Ombudsman for Children’s Rights Protection, Maia Bănărescu. The meeting was organized on June 6th by the Alliance of NGOs active in the field of child and family social protection (APSCF) in collaboration with the Ombudsman’s Office in the Republic of Moldova.

APSCF_Ombudsman (8)In her welcoming speech, Mrs. Mariana Ianachevici, President of APSCF expressed the coalition’s vision on the mandate of the Ombudsman. According to Mrs Ianachevici, the Ombudsman must be, first of all, an independent institution, and report, publicly, any form of coercion, in particular, from the politicians’ side. The Ombudsman must respect the law, without harming the interests of the child and have the right budget to be able to perform all the planned activities. Besides all that, the Ombudsman should be provided with a professional and skilled team and there where an expertise will be needed, civil society is ready to help, by participating to this kind of dialogue platforms, not only in Chisinau but also outside, where important resources can be found.

The newly elected Ombudsman for the Child Rights Protection, Maia Bănărescu assured the civil society representatives that it is in her interest to work and collaborate, considering the high level of expertise, studies, researches and reports of relevant resonance that civil society can provide. During the event, Ms. Bănărescu presented the priorities of her mandate, which will be focused on: health care, education and protection system. Also, the Ombudsman for Child Rights Protection will struggle for identifying financial resources for child rights protection at local level. A special focus of this mandate will be on the protection of the rights of children from Transnistrian region and in particular on the undocumented ones.

APSCF_Ombudsman (5)Most civil society representatives present in this meeting stressed the importance of independence to be exercised by the Ombudsman, comparing it with a boat which should reach the destination regardless of the wind blowing in different directions. APSCF believes that as long as the Ombudsman maintains independence, the society will trust the institution as well. The Ombudsman may be sometimes uncomfortable for judges, prosecutors or other state actors. Civil society will be there to support the Ombudsman whenever needed.

Another topic proposed by the civil society for the ombudsman agenda was the permanent monitoring of the implementation of the National Action Plan for the implementation of the Child Rights Protection Strategy 2014-2020 and advocating for the allocation of necessary financial resources.
At the end of the meeting, representatives of APSCF expressed their gratitude to the Ombudsman for Child Rights Protection, Maia Bănărescu, for the dialogue. A series of similar meetings, both planned and ad hock, will be organised whenever needed. In order to formalize the further collaboration between APSCF and the Ombudsman for Child Rights Protection, an MoU is being prepared for signature.