Civil society members, legal aid service providers and human rights lawyers team up to improve access to legal services.
Chisinau, 30-31 May – UNDP, and its regional and national partners—the Eastern European and Central Asian Union of PLHIV (ECUO), the Moldovan Institute for Human Rights (IDOM) and NGO Viata Noua (“New Life”)—conducted a capacity building training for people living with and affected by HIV in Moldova.
Moldova is one of three focus countries of the Regional Project, HIV, Rights and Universal Access in Eastern Europe, implemented by UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre in partnership with the International Development Law Organisation (IDLO). The project is co-funded by the European Union. Project partners work with civil society, community members and government to build the capacities of non-state actors working to provide legal services to people living with and affected by HIV, to improve legal awareness and to strengthen mechanisms for monitoring rights infractions. The training was organized as follow-up to the work of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law.
“This practical training was instrumental in raising legal awareness and uptake of HIV-related legal services among the HIV community in Moldova. Activists from all corners of Moldova will go back home and share the gained knowledge with their colleagues” said Liudmila Untura, Chair, NGO "CREDINTA".
The training aimed to increase opportunities for the community to use the law in protecting, upholding and fulfilling their rights, improve legal literacy, and improve access to legal services by increasing awareness of HIV-related laws, policies and regulations. A breadth of practical topic areas were covered, including how to officially register complaints and where to access quality legal services for human rights infringements of key populations at higher risk to HIV. In addition to bringing together people living with HIV and affected communities, human rights lawyers and legal aid service providers were also in attendance, and the two-day event was conducted by two nationally-recognized Moldovan experts on legislation, health, rights and legal aid with input by international experts.
“International standards provide a key framework for ensuring the rights of people living with and affected by HIV in Moldova. Civil society organizations are central to ensuring the effectiveness of the human rights system. Moldovan HIV/AIDS organizations have already demonstrated that engagement with the UN human rights machinery can bring positive, durable change. The review later this year of Moldova by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) provides an important opportunity to raise issues of concern for women living with HIV/AIDS, with a view to further improving policy, law and practice.” said Claude Cahn, Human Rights Adviser, United Nations Office of the Resident Coordinator in Moldova.
According to UNAIDS data, about 15,000 people are living with HIV in the Republic of Moldova, and as of January 2012 there were 1,882 new registered cases of HIV infection. The epidemic is considered to be low prevalence with a concentrated HIV epidemic among injecting drug users and other most-at-risk populations.
Moldova is also home to some of the best examples of legislation and legal implementation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. No country in the region can match Moldova’s access coverage for harm reduction services in penitentiaries. Moldova has already adopted legislative and regulatory amendments for removing HIV as grounds for restricting people’s right to entry and residence, as well as other discriminatory provisions.
For more information please contact:
Evghenii Golosceapov, Programme Analyst, Justice and Human Rights, UNDP Moldova