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Moldova must implement laws against discrimination based on gender – UN experts

Moldova must implement laws against discrimination based on gender – UN experts

City centre in Chisinau, Moldova
A group of United Nations independent human rights experts today urged the Government of Moldova to ensure the implementation of the country’s non-discrimination legislation to accelerate progress on gender equality and ensure the protection of women’s rights.

“We call on the Moldovan authorities to strengthen institutional and financial mechanisms to ensure coherent and effective implementation of the legal framework on equality between men and women,” the head of the UN Working Group on discrimination against women in law and practice, Kamala Chandrakirana, said in a news release.

The group spent ten days in the country, where it met with Government officials, representatives of the legislative and judicial branches, the national human rights institution, civil society organizations and religious institutions, as well as women of the Roma community.

The experts stressed that there are critical gaps between the law and its implementation. For example, the group found obstacles to enforce legislation properly in cases of domestic violence and trafficking. Eleonora Zielinska, another group member, said there is “a gender bias in the way rape and other sexual offences are investigated and prosecuted.”

The experts also drew attention to employers’ preferences for hiring women without family responsibilities and under the age of 45, the existence of a de facto wage gap between men and women, and various cases of unfair dismissal linked to pregnancy, including in the police force.

“In light of Moldova’s economic situation, it is regrettable that discriminatory practices continue to be perpetuated and impede women’s full and equal participation in the labour market,” Ms. Chandrakirana said.

The experts urged the Government to conduct gender-sensitive periodic monitoring and review the situation of Moldova’s workers, inside and outside the country.

“Special measures should be taken to overcome the under-representation of women in decision-making positions at all levels, including the regional, district and local levels,” said Ms. Chandrakirana, warning that Moldovan women active in political and public life face stigmatization and discrimination based on gender stereotypes.

“These discrepancies are discriminatory in practice, and measures should be taken to address them,” she added.

The rights experts also noted a void in the national human rights mechanisms to address violations of women’s rights, and stressed that women who face multiple forms of discrimination – such as women members of religious minority groups, women with disabilities, Roma women, migrant women and women who are lesbian, bisexual and transgender – require an effective mechanism to monitor their situation.

The Working Group will present its final conclusions and recommendations of the visit in its report to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2013.

The UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice is composed of five independent experts from all regions of the world: Kamala Chandrakirana of Indonesia, Emna Aouij of Tunisia, Mercedes Barquet of México; Frances Raday of Israel and the United Kingdom and Eleonora Zielinska of Poland.