ACTIVITY REPORT 2007
International Society for Human Rights – Moldavian Section is a Moldovan-based independent, nonprofit, nongovernmental organisation that has worked for 9 years. These years have been challenging and important for our organization.
ISHR-MS position in Moldovan society has gained solid grounds and exceptional recognition within the civil society actors.
We still remember times, and they were not so long ago, when nobody in the Moldovan ministries would talk with those of us from the nongovernmental sector.
At the start our organisation had just a limited capacity to influence public opinion. However, we have learned so much from our EU-based colleagues about how to develop the capacity of our organization, how to manage projects, build business relations with the state structures such as Government and Parliament.
The know-how, financial and other assistance that we received from the Swiss, German, French and Austrian Sections was highly valuable for us. We have also learned a lot when carrying out common actions with the Ukrainian and Russian Sections.
ISHR-MS defends human rights, using legal means and carrying out activities of promoting greater awareness of human rights, of monitoring the way human rights are ensured, of civic education, of legal consulting and humanitarian actions for socially disadvantaged categories of population. We assist Moldovan society to become more sustainable and able to meet the EU process obligations and challenges. ISHR-MS established itself in the area of democratic and social rights policy area to advance people-oriented policies that aim at improving the life quality, at promoting the implementation of European standards of rule of law and human rights in Moldovan society.
ISHR-MS has capacities in managing projects, organising seminars/conferences and campaigns, is actively involved in the Moldovan NGO community.
At present ISHR-MS unites 115 members.
0n 17th July 2007 a reporting and election conference was held. The Conference is the supreme executive body of the Section that is convened once per two years. The Conference elected a chairman, vice- chairmen, the Administrative Board’s members, members of the Board of Arbitration and censors; approved plans and reports of the Section’s administrative bodies, discussed the main trends of the Section’s activity etc.
ISHR-MS took an active part in promoting implementation of the National Human Rights Action Plan of the Republic of and the EU-Moldova Action Plan. Toward this end, in 2007 we implemented the following projects:
- A new approach to social integration of mother prisoners in Moldova (Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Ukraine and Moldova)
- Strengthening the Reform of the Penal Justice System in Moldova (Interchurch Organization forDevelopment Cooperation, the Netherlands)
- Human Rights Observance in the Countries of Post-Soviet Space (International Society for Human Rights)
The lawyers of the organization actively participated in discussions regarding the bills on public associations, prevention of torture, ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. There were several meetings held with the Chairman of the Parliament, the Ministry of Justice, UNDP, OSCE, leaders of NGOs.
In 2007 web-site of the organization www.ishr.md was updated.
|Publications in 2007:|
A NEW APPROACH TO SOCIAL INTEGRATION OF MOTHER PRISONERS IN MOLDOVA
Our organization has become a connecting link between imprisoned women and their children and relatives. Regardless of the fact that the penitentiary system of the Republic of Moldova is being reformed, the process of preparation of prisoners for reintegration in society is not given due attention. There is a need to reorganize the work with prisoners.
ISHR-MS came out with initiative to develop and carry out a training course for one of the most vulnerable category of prisoners – mother prisoners. Apart from difficult conditions in prison they have unsettled problems with their children. When mothers are incarcerated, their children are usually cared for by grandparents or other relatives or placed in foster care. Many children do not see their mothers the entire time they are in prison, the main reason for that is lack of money for trips. Thus the mother-child relation becomes difficult or even is lost.
In collaboration with Psychology Department of Moldova State University there was a pilot training program for mother prisoners elaborated.
On 30th of March, 2007 there was a round table held with collaborators of the Department of Penitentiary Institutions (DPI) and prison for women P-7. At the round table the DPI collaborators expressed interest in the presented training course. All of them considered it necessary to carry out training for mother prisoners.
Trainings were carried out in penitentiary for women P-7 from May to October 2007. Mother prisoners actively participated in the trainings. They were highly
interested in getting new information and skills that will help them in their future life after release, as well as in re-establishing and strengthening relations with their children while in prison.
Women were trained to overcome the feeling of segregation, uncertainty, bad self-esteem, negative self-image, low self-respect. They learned how to build a healthy and effective social network. They had opportunity to share their experience with other participants and find the best way out from a problem situation.
The trainings and discussions helped the detainees to release themselves from negative feelings related to family problems, and work out the tactics of getting closer to their family, to reveal the existing problems and develop an adequate self-appraisal, to understand the importance of good family relations based on friendship and love. The condemned learned how to reveal and settle conflict situations and those leading to conflicts in families.
These are the words of one of the participants from her letter of gratitude: “I am very glad that I was included into the training program. My eyes were “opened” to many things, especially to settling conflicts with children. Thank you very much for all you have done for us prisoners. I was delighted with the trainings, particularly with those about family relations and getting a job. Now I know how to pass a job interview.”
We organized visits of children to the condemned mothers. Meetings took place in the Visitors’ Centre in the prison that had been earlier reconstructed by the ISHR-MS. The meetings were organized in good conditions to secure calm and friendly communication. During the meetings, ISHR-MS arranged family lunch for children and their mothers. There were photos taken to be gifted to the mothers and children later on. All participants of the visits got envelopes, paper and stamps for corresponding with each other. Mothers presented their children with food sets (sweets, cookies, juice, sugar, etc.) that we had bought and gave them before they met children.
The meetings gave possibility to the condemned to display their feelings towards their children, positive emotions towards the relatives and gratitude towards the boarding school educators. The participants of the meetings talked about their problems and about hopes for the future. They re-established and strengthened their relations with families, agreed about regular correspondence with each other.
The mothers and their children were very grateful to the organizers of the visits for such an opportunity to meet each other. They wrote letters of gratitude to the ISHR-MS.
STRENGTHENING THE REFORM OF THE PENAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IN MOLDOVA
In order to protect the rights of detainees and ex-detainees, there was a pilot Centre for social reintegration initiated within the organization.
The Centre provides the following services:
- Assistance in finding a job; training the search-for-job methods and techniques; informing about possibility to learn a new profession
- Assistance in reestablishing and strengthening relationships with family, children, relatives
- Assistance in getting and restoring documents
- Counseling about allowances and benefits
- Writing inquiries, letters, requests to organizations, institutions
- Individual counseling and necessary support
To solve the prisoners’ problems, the ISHR-MS collaborators contact state institutions, among which the National and Territorial Agencies for Employment, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Social Protection, Ministry of Informational Development, city administrations etc.
In 2007 the Centre collaborators rendered social and psychological assistance to men prisoners in penitentiary institution nr. 4.
Many of our beneficiaries do not have personal documents, namely identity card, birth certificate, military card, certificate of marriage / divorce. The main reasons for this were that their documents were lost either by them or by officials during criminal prosecution, or they did not have any at the time of being imprisoned, or their documents have expired.
In order to assist prisoners to restore their personal documents, the Centre collaborators contacted relevant state institutions (General Documentation Department, civilian registry departments) both in Moldova and abroad (Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan). We also helped prisoners to write inquires to these institutions.
Beneficiaries are mostly not aware about possibilities to get a job after release. They inquire about vacancies in the labor market, the most demanded professions.
Many prisoners have difficulties in finding a place to live after release. Some of our beneficiaries did not have a permanent accommodation before imprisonment, others had a house but relatives sold it. Some prisoners have broken relations with family and relatives who do not want them back in their house.
To prepare prisoners for future employment, the Centre collaborators offered them information about the present labor market; suggested the better ways of communication with potential employers. For this purpose we closely collaborated with the National and Territorial Employment Agencies, economic agents.
Some prisoners do not have any profession, so they are worried about their future possibility to earn money. In order to get employed, they need to learn a trade. Others have a profession, but want to get another one that is more demanded in the present labor market. Such kind of training can be provided by Territorial Employment Agencies. So the Centre collaborators contact them and learn the necessary information to give it to prisoners and outline their first steps in this direction after release.
Among other problems that detainees ask assistance to solve there are getting citizenship of the Republic of Moldova, the Ukraine, the Russian Federation; re-establishing parental rights; getting pension; writing inquires to different state institutions etc.
With the aim to change the prisoners’ thinking to a pro-social one and to reduce the relapse risk, the Centre collaborators carried out group work with prisoners according to the Program of skills development for problem solving. The Program consists of 16 lessons and takes 4 months.
Beneficiaries of the Program got basic knowledge about solving problems in a pro-social way without violence and crime. They obtained necessary cognitive and social skills, learned how to control their anger. Most of the participants have developed the sense of responsibility.
To assist ex-inmates, the Centre collaborators contacted relevant authorities, directed beneficiaries to the necessary institutions, developed action plans for them to follow. Some beneficiaries were illiterate, many of them could not express their thoughts, so they needed assistance in writing letters to relatives, inquires to institutions.
Leaflets with information about the Center’s activity and calendars were distributed among penitentiary institutions and to other relevant stakeholders.
The organization established good relations with NGOs activating in the same or adjacent domain. Among them are our partners Penal Reform International, Prison Fellowship, IRP, CJC, Carlux, LADOM, Asylum “Caritas”.
HUMAN RIGHTS OBSERVANCE IN THE COUNTRIES OF POST-SOVIET SPACE
In 2007, ISHR-MS in cooperation with Russian and German Sections started implementation of a coalition project “Human Rights Observance in the Countries of Post-Soviet Space”. ISHR-Russian Section came out as initiators of the project.
Topicality and timeliness of the project is evident, as immediately after the collapse of the USSR 15 years ago the new independent states proclaimed as their aims forming of democratic society based on the priority of international standards in human rights observance, creating conditions for entering the community of developed democratic countries.
However, in reality some of the new states followed the path of frank authoritarianism; suffice it to remember Turkmenistan during Turkmen-bashi. Others managed to join the European Union in spite of all hardships and problems. The rest of them to the present day have not been able to create an effective system of democratic power transfer, to overcome corruption, to exclude using of power structures and judicial bodies in an effort to persecute and suppress political opponents.
The Council of Europe, international human rights organizations while monitoring human rights observance in the new independent states, constantly point to the facts of non-compliance with international standards in conducting election campaigns, human rights ensuring, including legal procedure, neglect of the facts of torture application and other illegal methods of influence during criminal investigation, bad conditions in detention places, discrimination on sex, age, ethnic grounds.
Therefore the aim of this project is to make a complex analysis of situation regarding human rights ensuring in the countries of post-soviet space, generalization of achievements and failures in creating democratic civil society and state, development of recommendations for each country and international structures these countries are members of.
The project started with a press-conference that was held on 26 April 2007 in Chisinau. Dr Liubov Nemcinova, chairman of ISHR-MS, Vladimir Novitskii, president of ISHR-Russian Section, and Paul Strutzescu, president of NGO “League for Defence of Human Rights of Moldova” informed mass-media representatives about the projects and its objectives. They answered the journalists’ questions about the situation with human rights observance in Moldova.
On 31 May 2007, the international conference “Human Rights and Democratic Liberties in the Republic of Moldova: on the Way to Common European Values” was held in Berlin, Reichstag, the State Press- centre.
Representatives of international and Moldovan human rights defence organizations, European Parliament deputies, representatives of the OSCE, Council of Europe, UNO, diplomats, journalists took part in the conference.
During the conference, there were be considered issues regarding observance of political and civil rights in the Republic of Moldova, ensuring the liberty of information dissemination and independence of mass-media, work of judicial system and correspondence of detention conditions to international standards.
Reporters of the conference:
Lilia Pasat Wife of the political prisoner Valeriu Pasat, ex-Minister of
Vitalii Nagacevschi President of NGO Lawyers for Human Rights”
Veaceslav Turcan Programme coordinator of NGO “Amnesty International Moldova”
There was a press-conference held.
After the conference the representatives of Moldavian and Russian Sections Liubov Nemcinova, Diana Zinenco and Vladimir Novitskii had an informal meeting with Michail Gorbachiov, ex-president of the USSR.
STRENGTHENING THE WORK AND PERFORMANCE OF MOLDOVAN NGOS
ISHR-MS activities improve and strengthen the work and performance of Moldovan NGOs with the aim to enable them to fully use their potential, and to involve them in the activities of the European-wide NGO platforms and networks. 3 representatives of Transnistrian NGOs took part in the internship in our organization.
On 30 November – 1 December 2007 our collaborators carried out training for young volunteers from Transnistrian NGOs on fundamental human rights and freedoms, the rights of the child, the rights of detainees and minor detainees.
ISHR Moldovan and French Sections cooperation
There were discussions carried out between Moldovan and French Sections concerning the common project proposal “Strengthening family relations between mother prisoners and their children”.
The goal of the project is to prepare women prisoners and their children for a better social reintegration through establishing and strengthening the relationship between them, attract the attention of Moldovan society to the problem of social reintegration of mother prisoners and their children.
ISHR Moldovan, Swiss and German Sections cooperation
|ISHR-MS renders assistance to orphans and children left without parents’ care. The activity is possible thanks to collaboration with German and Swiss Sections of ISHR that found sponsors in their countries. Each sponsor has supported one Moldovan child.|
Conference “Trilateral Co-operation and Civil Society”
|On 13 and 14 September 2007, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands Embassy in Prague and the Matra Department of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized an international conference “Trilateral Co- operation and Civil Society” at the Cernin Palace in Prague. The background of the conference was the completion of the Matra Programme in most of the new member states to the European Union and discuss the opportunities for applying lessons learned during the transition process in these countries in countries further East. Dr Liubov Nemcinova shared the experience ISHR-MS gained thanks to participation in Matra Programme and presented some examples of how the suggested trilateral co-operation could work.|
ISHR Sections Coalition
Within the frames of the project “Human Rights Observance in the Countries of Post-Soviet Space” the coalition of the International Society for Human Rights Sections is going to carry out international conferences on human rights in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Baltic countries, countries of Caucasian region, countries of Central Asiatic region.
Wherever possible, the action proposed will be built on experiences gained and results achieved during this project. Our experience is a huge potential for cross- border cooperation.
Dr Liubov Nemcinova
March 28, 2008