Moldova ratifies the Istanbul Convention

Moldova ratifies the Istanbul Convention

On 31 of January the Republic of Moldova deposited the instrument of ratification of the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (CETS No.210). The (‘Istanbul’) Convention will enter into force in Moldova on the 1st of May 2022. The Republic of Moldova becomes the 35th State to ratify the Convention (more).

LSI’s member La Strada Moldova has for long advocated for this ratification.  As part of the National Coalition “Life without violence in the family”, the organisation has mobilized its efforts to promote rights of the survivors of violence at national level. In particular the alarming situation of victims of domestic violence during the period of lockdown in 2020 has brought to the fore the need to ratify the Istanbul Convention and the need to identify better protection for women, as acknowledged by the government.

According La Strada Moldova the ratification of the CoE instrument, brings hope that the situation for victims of domestic violence will improve in the country. “We need legislative changes to take concrete steps to effectively, promptly and unconditionally protect every woman and child at risk or who has experienced domestic or gender-based violence. The deposition of the instrument of ratification of the Istanbul Convention by the Republic of Moldova is an important catalyst and a valuable guarantee of change for the well-being of women and children, including changes at the systemic, legislative level”, states Elena Botezatu, Executive Director of La Strada in Moldova

In July 2020, the discussion on the draft law resumed. In August 2020, the La Strada Moldova published the main conclusions of a rapid assessment carried out by the La Strada team, in partnership with UN Women Moldova, on the needs of women affected by violence and the system’s response to domestic violence in the context of the Covid-19 crisis. The evaluation was part of joint efforts and productive collaboration with other partner organizations within the National Coalition. Also in 2020, after several rounds of public consultations, the draft Law – on amending some normative acts related to ensuring the rights of victims in case of sexual offenses – was approved by the Moldovan Government (Government Decision no. 851/2020 of November 30, 2020, published on December 02, 2020).

The proposed draft law introduces important changes to the national legal framework, in line with international standards and recommendations.

“We reached a small progress for which a lot of effort has been made, in partnership with our reliable partners, states Elena Botezatu. “It was a journey for which we had to show a lot of perseverance. Public consultations have shown once again that both society and professional groups, including decision-makers, still share deep-rooted stereotypes and prejudices about sexual violence, delaying the adoption of the law for more than a year. It is positive that the Ministry of Justice has resumed drafting the Law to amend some normative acts, which will regulate a mechanism to ensure the procedural rights of victims of crimes regarding sexual freedom and integrity, as specified on the official website of the Ministry of Justice”.

By acceding to the Istanbul Convention, the Republic of Moldova becomes part of the international process of combining efforts to combat domestic violence, the Convention being the most comprehensive international legal instrument establishing standards and mechanisms to prevent and combat violence against women.

Note: The Istanbul Convention was signed by the Republic of Moldova on February 6, 2017 and ratified by the legislator on October 14, 2021. On October 19, 2021, the President of the Republic of Moldova promulgated the Law no. 144 of October 14, 2021 on the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, thus, the Republic of Moldova becoming a member state of the instrument. According to the Convention, for States which subsequently express their consent to be bound by the Treaty, it shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date of deposit of the instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval.