ChildPact, mandated by APSCF – the Moldavian child-focused national coalition – contributed to the EU-Moldova Human Rights Dialogue 2016 and had the opportunity to participate at both the preparatory meeting with CSOs in Brussels, prior to the official dialogue, and at the official Human Rights Dialogue which took place this year in Brussels, on the 8th of June. The preparatory meeting organised by the EEAS was a platform for fruitful conversations with regard to the current situation of child rights in Moldova, while the official Dialogue represented an exceptional for civil society organisations, in an observing capacity, to hear out the governmental representatives of Moldova reporting on their efforts in advancing human rights in the country and the suggestions and comments of the EU institutions’ representatives.
The concerns we have raised for the occasion with regard to the current child protection challenges hindering progress in Moldova were as follows:
- The fact that the deinstitutionalization of children is a priority of the Child Protection Strategy for 2014-2020 is an advancement in the field. Nonetheless, we are arguing that special attention should be given to the closing process of institutions and to the development of alternative care services (such as maternal assistants) and to the prevention services to be developed or improved at local level, providing adequate financial resources for them.
- Although local autonomy is desirable, when it comes to budgetary management, with the amendments brought to the local public finances law last year, it is likely that poorer communities will start cutting from the social services’ budget. Thus, this new legal financial frame is hindering social services at local level. Despite of the national level funds aiming to balance this situation for the next 2 year, it is still unlikely that poorer communities won’t make cuts from the social services once they have to manage the budget on their own. Thus, in the near future, children will be discriminated depending on the district’s income and possibility to develop and finance social services for them. We argue that social assistance and child protection ought to be a responsibility of the State, just like education and health. Consequently, we suggest that a standard package of community social services should be supported by the state from the national budget and that the local communities should contribute to those standard services according to their budgetary possibilities. APSCF is currently trying to convince governmental authorities about the importance of such a measure.
- In Moldova, there are 64.5% children having parents without social insurance. This means that parents with children aged between 1.5 years old and 3 years old do not receive an allowance from the State and do not have the possibility to send their children to state-paid kindergartens. Still, these parents have to work to support their families. This reality is currently in opposition with the 3rd objective of the Child Rights Strategy 2014-2020 which requires the State to facilitate the balancing of the family and professional life of parents through the development of new social and educational services for families. Even more, other legal prevision hinder the accomplishment of this objective: the current Code of Education foresees state budgeting for pre-school institutions only starting with children aged 3 and more. We argue that there is a need to modify the current Code of Education in order to give mothers the possibility to resume their work before their child reached the age of 3. Although a draft law in this sense has been elaborated by the Parliamentarian Commission for Culture, Education, Research, Youth, Sports and Mass Media, with the intensive participation of the civil society representatives, the draft law does not have the support of the Ministry of Finance, despite the wide approval of the Social Protection Commission. APSCF further stresses the need to improve the draft law for its immediate adoption and implementation.
Here you can find our full written contribution for the EU-Moldova Human Rights Dialogue 2016.