* Adopted by the Committee at its fifty-sixth session (30 September-18 October 2013).
Concluding observations on the combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of the Republic of Moldova *
1.The Committee considered the combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of the Republic of Moldova (CEDAW/C/MDA/4-5) at its 1159th and 1160th meetings, on 1 October 2013 (see CEDAW/C/SR.1159 and 1160). The Committee’s list of issues and questions is contained in CEDAW/C/MDA/Q/4-5 and the responses of the Government of the Republic of Moldova are contained in CEDAW/C/MDA/Q/4-5/Add.1.
2.The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for its combined fourth and fifth periodic reports, its written replies to the list of issues and questions raised by the pre-sessional working group and the further clarification provided in response to the questions posed orally by the Committee.
3.The Committee commends the State party for its delegation, which was headed by the Deputy Minister of Labour, Social Protection and Family, Sergiu Sainciuc, and also included representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, the General Inspectorate of Police and the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Moldova to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva. The Committee welcomes the constructive dialogue that took place between the delegation and the Committee.
4.The Committee welcomes the establishment, in 2013, of the Council on Preventing and Combating Discrimination and Ensuring Equality (Anti-Discrimination Council).
5.The Committee welcomes the adoption of Law No. 121 on ensuring equality, in 2012, and Law No. 45-XVI on preventing and combating domestic violence, in 2007.
6.The Committee notes with appreciation the adoption of:
(a)The Strategy of the National Referral System to Protect and Assist Victims and Potential Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings, covering the period 2009-2016, and the action plan for its implementation, covering the period 2009-2011;
(b)The National Programme on Ensuring Gender Equality for 2010-2015 and its associated action plans for implementation.
7.The Committee welcomes the State party’s acceptance of the amendment to article 20 (1) of the Convention, in 2012, in addition to the declaration made in 2013 under article 14 (1) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination to recognize the competence of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to receive and consider communications. It also welcomes the ratification of the following international treaties:
(a)Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in 2010;
(b)Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in 2008;
(c)Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, in 2007;
(d)Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, in 2006.
C.Principal areas of concern and recommendations
8. While reaffirming that the Government has the primary responsibility and is particularly accountable for the full implementation of the obligations of the State party under the Convention, the Committee stresses that the Convention is binding on all branches of the Government and invites the State party to encourage the Parliament, in line with its procedures and where appropriate, to take the necessary steps with regard to the implementation of the present concluding observations between now and the next reporting period under the Convention.
Constitutional and legislative framework and discriminatory laws
9.The Committee expresses its concern about:
(a)The slow progress of the State party’s legal reform aimed at harmonizing its national legislation with the Convention, in addition to the delay in, and lack of a clear time frame for, the adoption of a number of important draft laws;
(b)The insufficient implementation of laws aimed at the elimination of discrimination against women;
(c)The limited budget allocated to the Anti-Discrimination Council;
(d)The lack of awareness by the judiciary of women’s rights and relevant national legislation and the lack of systematic training on the Convention and national legislation that promotes gender equality.
10. The Committee calls upon the State party:
(a) To expedite its efforts to conclude the process of harmonizing its national legislation with the Convention, involving civil society in that process;
(b) To design strategies, including those to raise the awareness of parliamentarians in order to overcome obstacles to the adoption of pending draft laws and move towards their adoption in a planned time frame between now and the next reporting period;
(c) To ensure the effective implementation and enforcement of existing legislation aimed at eliminating discrimination against women, with a view to reducing structural disadvantages that hamper the effective realization of substantive gender equality;
(d) To provide the Anti-Discrimination Council with human and financial resources sufficient for it to discharge its role effectively;
(e) To provide systematic training to judges, prosecutors and lawyers on the Convention, the Optional Protocol thereto and relevant national legislation.
Applicability of the Convention
11.The Committee takes note of the information provided by the State party’s delegation during the dialogue that the Transnistrian region is part of the Republic of Moldova and that the State party is exploring ways to implement the 2013 report of the United Nations senior expert on human rights in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova, Thomas Hammarberg. The Committee remains concerned, however, that women in Transnistria do not enjoy the same equality protection as women elsewhere in the Republic of Moldova.
12. The Committee notes the State party’s intention to implement the recommendations made by the United Nations senior expert and recommends that it accelerate its efforts to attain this goal, in line with the recent pledge made by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova to the General Assembly. The Committee also encourages the State party to abide by its undertaking made during the universal periodic review in 2011 to work on the promotion of human rights in Transnistria. To this end, it should also initiate cooperation with the de facto authorities of Transnistria and other relevant stakeholders to afford women in Transnistria greater protection and enjoyment of their human rights.
National machinery for the advancement of women
13.While noting the information provided by the State party on the reintroduction of gender focal points in the local administration, the Committee is concerned about:
(a)The limited cooperation between existing gender equality bodies and relevant ministries at all levels, the frequent staff turnover, the insufficient gender mainstreaming within ministries at all levels and the insufficient inclusion of disadvantaged women in the formulation of policies and programmes;
(b)The limited decision-making power and human, financial and technical resources of the national machinery;
(c)The lack of information on the implementation and results achieved to date of the National Programme on Ensuring Gender Equality for 2010-2015 and its associated action plans.
14. The Committee reiterates its recommendation ( CEDAW/C/MDA/CO/3 , para. 12) that the State party expeditiously strengthen the national machinery for the advancement of women. To this end, it should establish effective cooperation mechanisms between the gender equality bodies and the relevant ministries in order to enhance gender mainstreaming at all levels and in all areas covered by the Convention, including with regard to disadvantaged groups of women. The Committee also calls upon the State party to strengthen the Governmental Committee for Equality between Men and Women by giving it greater visibility and authority vis-à-vis relevant ministries and providing it with the human, financial and technical resources necessary to improve its effective functioning and to enable it to contribute to building sound knowledge and expertise on the situation of women in all areas covered by the Convention. Lastly, the State party should implement the National Programme on Ensuring Gender Equality for 2010-2015 and provide detailed information in this regard in its next periodic report.
Temporary special measures
15.While noting that some temporary special measures have been included in the proposed amendment to Law No. 64-XII on government to encourage the participation of women in political life, the Committee is concerned at the failure of similar legislative attempts to introduce quotas for women candidates on the lists of political parties. The Committee is also concerned about the lack of understanding of article 4 (1) of the Convention and the fact that temporary special measures are not being used in other areas covered by the Convention to accelerate the achievement of de facto equality of women and men.
16. The Committee urges the State party to expedite its efforts to adopt the proposed amendment to Law No. 64-XII on government and to raise the awareness of parliamentarians regarding the importance of the engagement of women in public life. The Committee recommends that the State party adopt temporary special measures, in accordance with article 4 (1) of the Convention, where women, including those from ethnic minorities and those with disabilities, are underrepresented or disadvantaged, and evaluate and publish gender impact analyses of the measures.
17.The Committee reiterates its concern about the persistence of patriarchal attitudes and deep-rooted stereotypes regarding the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society (CEDAW/C/MDA/CO/3, para. 18). It notes that such attitudes and stereotypes in the State party are root causes of the disadvantaged position of women in political and public life, violence against women and gender segregation, as reflected in the educational choices and employment options of women and girls. In addition, the Committee is concerned about the persistent stereotyping of older women and women with disabilities, in addition to the existence of sexist advertising. Lastly, it is concerned that, although the State party is a secular State, religious institutions often perpetuate traditional gender roles in the family and in society and influence State policies with an impact on human rights.
18. The Committee urges the State party:
(a) To eliminate all forms of sex - and gender-based discrimination throughout the education system and in informal education programmes with a view to removing gender stereotypes from educational materials, incorporating human rights education into school curricula and introducing mandatory courses in all teacher training programmes on ways in which schooling reproduces gender inequalities;
(b) To develop a comprehensive strategy across all sectors, targeted at women and men, girls and boys, to overcome patriarchal and gender-based stereotypical attitudes concerning the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society;
(c) To develop public awareness and training programmes for decision makers, employers, young people and disadvantaged groups of women, including older women and women with disabilities, on women’s rights in all areas covered by the Convention;
(d) To expeditiously adopt the amendments to Law No. 243-XIII on the press, which are intended to, among other things, prohibit the use of sexist advertising, and ensure the effective implementation of the amended legislation;
(e) To ensure that local authorities promote policies based on gender equality principles, without interference from religious institutions.
Violence against women
19.While welcoming the adoption in 2008 of Law No. 45-XVI on preventing and combating domestic violence, through which new protection measures were introduced, in addition to the amendment to the Criminal Code in 2010 to criminalize domestic violence and marital rape, the Committee reiterates its serious concern about the high prevalence of domestic violence, including against older women, which is coupled with a lack of a comprehensive data on the magnitude and forms of violence against women. The Committee further expresses its concern at:
(a)The inconsistent application by courts, prosecutors and police officers of laws aimed at combating domestic violence, which undermines women’s trust in the judicial system, in addition to the lack of awareness among women of existing legal remedies;
(b)The failure of the police and prosecutors to pay attention to low-level injuries and the fact that it often takes repeated acts of violence to initiate criminal investigations, in addition to the reluctance of the police to intervene in cases of domestic violence within the Roma community;
(c)The ineffectiveness of protection orders against alleged perpetrators, which are either not issued by courts or issued with delays; the failure of police officers to enforce such orders; the lack of sufficient services, including shelters, to support victims from rural areas and Transnistria; and the non-coverage by the State system of legal aid to victims of gender-based violence;
(d)The low rate of reporting of cases of sexual violence, including rape, and ineffective investigation and prosecution in such cases;
(e)Reports concerning some Moldovan migrant women who upon return to the State party are stigmatized and at risk of sexual violence.
20. Recalling its general recommendation No. 19 on violence against women, the Committee urges the State party:
(a) To strengthen the enforcement of the Criminal Code, Law No. 45-XVI on preventing and combating domestic violence and other relevant national legislation; ensure that all women and girls, including in particular older women, Roma women and girls and women and girls with disabilities, are protected from violence and have access to immediate means of redress; and launch ex officio investigations into all such crimes and ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted and punished commensurate with the gravity of the crime;
(b) To expedite its efforts to amend Law No. 45-XVI on preventing and combating domestic violence so as to supplement court-ordered protection with a system of police-ordered protection and enable the issuance of police emergency protection orders;
(c) To remove any impediments faced by women in gaining access to justice; ensure that legal aid is made available to all victims of violence; encourage women to report incidents of domestic and sexual violence by raising awareness about the criminal nature of such acts; provide adequate assistance and protection to women victims of violence, including Roma women; and increase the number and funding of shelters and guarantee national coverage extending to women from rural areas and Transnistria;
(d) To ensure that all investigations into acts of sexual violence, including those committed against Moldovan migrant women, are carried out in line with international standards of investigation, including by amending the existing guidelines on investigation of rape and other forms of sexual assault;
(e) To enhance the system of data collection to ensure that data are disaggregated by type of violence and by relationship between the perpetrator and the victim, support research in this field and ensure that the information and data collected are made available to the public;
(f) To ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.
Trafficking and exploitation of prostitution
21.While acknowledging the State party’s efforts to combat trafficking, the Committee is concerned that the State party remains a country of origin for trafficking in persons for purposes of sexual and labour exploitation and that sentences handed down to trafficking offenders are lenient. The Committee is particularly concerned that children whose parents have migrated abroad and women who have experienced domestic violence are especially vulnerable to trafficking. The Committee is further concerned about the insufficiency of rehabilitation and reintegration services for women and girls who are victims of trafficking, in particular in the Transnistrian region. Lastly, the Committee is concerned that, while prostitution is illegal in the State party according to the Administrative Offences Code, only women in prostitution and not their clients are subject to punishment.
22. The Committee calls upon the State party:
(a) To ensure the timely prosecution and commensurate punishment of traffickers and review its sentencing policy in trafficking cases;
(b) To provide mandatory and gender-sensitive training for judges, prosecutors, police officers and other law enforcement officers on legal provisions relating to trafficking;
(c) To effectively implement the action plans of the Strategy of the National Referral System to Protect and Assist Victims and Potential Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings, which are aimed at the early identification and referral of victims of trafficking, and take preventive measures such as raising the awareness of disadvantaged and marginalized groups of women of the risks of trafficking;
(d) To review its laws on prostitution in order to ensure that women in prostitution are not discriminated against or penalized by administrative fines; step up its efforts to support women who wish to leave prostitution; and implement measures to decrease demand for prostitution, including the potential introduction of sanctions for sex buyers.
Participation in political and public life
23.The Committee notes the proposed amendment to Law No. 64-XII on government that provides for a mandatory 40 per cent quota of female candidates on the lists of political parties, in addition to the proposed amendment to Law No. 294-XVI on political parties that provides for monetary incentives to encourage political parties to field female candidates. The Committee is particularly concerned at the continued low representation of women in the Parliament and in government positions at the State, national and local levels. The Committee is further concerned that disadvantaged groups of women, including Roma women and women with disabilities, are, in practice, almost completely excluded from political and public life.
24. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Study the root causes that prevent women from participation in public and political life, design strategies to overcome such obstacles and take effective measures to ensure that the proposed temporary special measures aimed at advancing women in political life and in leadership positions are swiftly adopted;
(b) Increase its efforts to provide training and capacity-building for women to enable them to enter public office, and enhance awareness-raising campaigns on the importance of the full and equal participation of women in political and public life;
(c) Introduce procedures to ensure the effective participation of Roma women and women with disabilities in elected offices and appointed bodies.
25.While noting the high level of education of women and girls in the State party, the Committee remains concerned about the persistent segregation of women and girls in traditionally female-dominated fields of study at the post-secondary level and their underrepresentation in engineering, technological and other fields of education, negatively affecting their chances of integration into higher-paying sectors of the labour market. The Committee further expresses concern about the limited access to mainstream and inclusive education by Roma girls and girls with disabilities, which results in low enrolment rates and high dropout rates at the primary school level, as well as about the negative attitudes towards Roma among teachers and school administrators.
26. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Encourage young women to choose non-traditional fields of study and professions, including through the adoption of temporary special measures, and implement programmes aimed at counselling boys and girls on the full range of educational choices;
(b) Promote access by Roma girls and girls with disabilities to high-quality mainstream and inclusive education and their retention at all levels of education, including by tackling anti-Roma sentiment, raise awareness of the importance of education as the basis for the empowerment of women and strengthen the implementation of re-entry policies enabling girls who have dropped out to return to school.
27.The Committee is concerned about the continued occupational segregation and overrepresentation of women in the lowest-paid sectors, resulting in low pensions for women; the lack of implementation of the principle of equal pay for work of equal value and the persistent gender wage gap; and the exclusion of Roma women and women with disabilities from the formal labour market. The Committee is also concerned that women working in the informal sector, including women in rural areas and older women, are not covered by social and legal protection. The Committee reiterates its concern about the overprotective maternity leave in the Labour Code and the lack of parental leave that reinforce the unequal division of family responsibilities between women and men and may drive women into unemployment and poverty. The Committee also expresses its concern at the different mandatory retirement ages for men and women (57 years for women and 62 years for men), as well as the impact of early and unequal retirement in reinforcing stereotypes and driving many older women into poverty.
28. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Strengthen efforts to eliminate occupational segregation, including through the adoption of temporary special measures, and adopt measures to implement the principle of equal pay for work of equal value and to narrow and close the gender wage gap by applying job evaluation schemes in the public sector connected with wage increases in sectors dominated by women;
(b) Increase access by Roma women, women in rural areas, women with disabilities and older women to formal employment by, among other things, ensuring the effective implementation of the National Programme on Ensuring Gender Equality for 2010-2015;
(c) Step up its efforts to review the provisions of the Labour Code on maternity and paternity leave and engage trade unions and women’s organizations with a view to enabling women and men to reconcile professional and family responsibilities;
(d) Raise the retirement age for women so that it is the same as that for men and expand pension schemes in order to ensure at least the minimum subsistence level for women and men;
(e) Consider ratifying the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189), of the International Labour Organization.
29.While noting the existing prohibition of sexual harassment in Law No. 5-XVI on equal opportunities for men and women, the Committee regrets the lack of enforcement measures. The Committee notes the insertion of article 173 in the Criminal Code to criminalize sexual harassment, but regrets the lack of information on court cases brought under this provision. The Committee is particularly concerned that, in practice, women who have suffered from sexual harassment often resign from their jobs and that perpetrators often enjoy impunity.
30. The State party is urged to disseminate and effectively implement the legislation prohibiting and criminalizing sexual harassment in the workplace; ensure that women are aware of that legislation and have access to effective civil and criminal law remedies; and gather sex-disaggregated data on the number and outcome of labour inspections, court cases and administrative complaints relating to sex-based labour discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace.
31.The Committee is concerned about the high rate of abortion and the low use, availability, affordability and accessibility of modern forms of contraception, in particular in the Transnistrian region and rural areas, which indicate that abortion is used as a method of birth control. The Committee is particularly concerned about reports of practices of coercive sterilization, affecting in particular women with disabilities, women in rural areas and Roma women. The Committee notes with concern that the current Ministry of Health regulation on sterilization specifies mental disability as an indicator for sterilization. The Committee is also concerned about the lack of educational programmes on sexual and reproductive health and rights in schools and about the lack of sex-disaggregated data. The Committee is further concerned at the limited access of older women to affordable health care.
32. The Committee urges the State party:
(a) To ensure the availability, accessibility and affordability of modern methods of contraception for girls and women;
(b) To expand the availability of medically safe modern methods of abortion, including in the Transnistrian region and rural areas;
(c) To raise awareness of the importance of using contraceptives for family planning and consider including abortion and contraceptives in the basic insurance package;
(d) To amend and develop the regulatory framework, in addition to the guidance provided to medical practitioners, to ensure that sterilization is carried out only in conformity with international law, in particular with the free and informed consent of the women concerned;
(e) To introduce age-appropriate education on sexual and reproductive health and rights, including responsible sexual behaviour, in the school curricula;
(f) To ensure that older women have access to affordable health care and train health workers on geriatric care;
(g) To integrate a gender perspective into all health interventions and policies and collect and analyse sex-disaggregated data.
33.The Committee is concerned about the situation of women in rural areas, who are more vulnerable to violence and poverty and who have limited access to land, credit, health and social services and participation in decision-making processes at the community level.
34. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Take immediate steps to implement effective measures to eliminate discrimination against women in rural areas in all areas covered by the Convention, including through the use of temporary special measures in line with article 4 (1) of the Convention and the Committee’s general recommendation No. 25;
(b) Step up efforts to enhance the economic and political empowerment of women in rural areas;
(c) Include in its next periodic report information and gender-disaggregated data on the access of women in rural areas to land, credit, social and health services and the formal labour market, and integrate a gender perspective into the new Land Code.
Disadvantaged groups of women
35.While noting the adoption of an action plan to support the Roma population covering the period 2011-2015 and the ongoing establishment of Roma community mediators, the Committee is concerned about the inadequate financial resources allocated to the implementation of the action plan and the fact that only 15 mediators have been appointed to date.
36. The Committee urges the State party to implement and allocate adequate funding to national action plans and strategies aimed at eliminating all forms of discrimination against Roma women and girls, and appoint, without delay, qualified Roma mediators in all Roma communities and allocate adequate funds thereto.
37.The Committee notes the limited information and data available on other disadvantaged groups of women, such as older women and women with disabilities. The Committee is concerned about the marginalization of such women and their vulnerability to intersecting forms of discrimination. The Committee is particularly concerned about the situation of women with disabilities in residential institutions, where they are at high risk of abuse, including sexual assault. The Committee is further concerned that such acts often go unreported and that perpetrators are rarely brought to justice. Lastly, the Committee is concerned about the discriminatory guardianship system for women with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities that permits the removal of their legal capacity.
38. The Commit tee calls upon the State party:
(a) To collect in its next census comprehensive statistical data, disaggregated by sex and age, on the situation of disadvantaged groups of women, including Roma women, women with disabilities, women in rural areas and older women, in all areas covered by the Convention;
(b) To take effective measures, including temporary special measures, with a view to accelerating the realization of substantive equality for such disadvantaged groups of women;
(c) To disseminate and ensure the implementation of the law on social inclusion of persons with disabilities adopted in 2012, including by creating mechanisms to enforce quotas concerning the employment of persons with disabilities ;
(d) To effectively investigate all cases of sexual assault against women with disabilities in residential institutions, facilitate access by such women to high-quality reproductive health care and ensure that all medical interventions are based on informed consent;
(e) To reform the guardianship system so as to bring it into conformity with article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Marriage and family relations
39.The Committee is concerned about reports of child marriage within some Roma communities and the lack of systematic action by the State party to address this harmful practice, the legal prohibition of early marriage notwithstanding. The Committee is also concerned about information received that, following divorce or death of the husband, women are, in practice, often denied their right of inheritance.
40. The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that the social welfare authorities and other State agencies take measures to combat the practice of child marriage and effectively implement the legislation prohibiting early marriage. The Committee also recommends that the State party, in cooperation with community leaders, raise awareness among Roma communities about the legal prohibition of child marriage and the negative effects of such marriage on the health and education of girls. The Committee urges the State party to ensure the full implementation of the provisions on inheritance and succession contained in the Civil Code and to close the gap between the law and practice, in line with paragraphs 51 to 53 of the Committee’s general recommendation No. 29 on the economic consequences of marriage, family relations and their dissolution.
Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
41. The Committee calls upon the State party to use the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in its efforts to implement the provisions of the Convention.
Millennium Development Goals and the post-2015 development framework
42. The Committee calls for the integration of a gender perspective, in accordance with the provisions of the Convention, into all efforts aimed at the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and into the post-2015 development framework.
Dissemination and implementation
43. The Committee recalls the obligation of the State party to systematically and continuously implement the provisions of the Convention. It urges the State party to give priority attention to the implementation of the present concluding observations and recommendations between now and the submission of the next periodic report. The Committee therefore requests that the present concluding observations be disseminated in a timely manner, in the official language of the State party, to the relevant State institutions at all levels, in particular to the Government, the ministries, the Parliament and the judiciary, to enable their full implementation. It encourages the State party to collaborate with all stakeholders concerned, such as employers’ associations, trade unions, human rights and women’s organizations, universities, research institutions and the media. It further recommends that its concluding observations be disseminated in an appropriate form at the local community level so as to enable their implementation. In addition, the Committee requests the State party to continue to disseminate the Convention, the Optional Protocol thereto and relevant jurisprudence, as well as the Committee’s general recommendations, to all stakeholders .
Ratification of other treaties
44. The Committee notes that the adherence of the State party to the nine major international human rights instruments would enhance the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms in all aspects of life. The Committee therefore encourages the State party to consider ratifying the treaties to which it is not yet a party, namely the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
Follow-up to the concluding observations
45. The Committee requests the State party to provide, within two years, written information on the steps taken to implement the recommendations contained in paragraphs 20 (a) to (d) and 28 (b) above.
Preparation of the next report
46. The Committee invites the State party to submit its sixth periodic report by October 2017.
47. The Committee requests the State party to follow the harmonized guidelines on reporting under the international human rights treaties, including guidelines on a common core document and treaty-specific documents ( HRI/MC/2006/3 and Corr.1).