HC Deb 24 March 1999 vol 328 cc300-1W
Mr. David Atkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the human rights situation in Moldova. [78383]

Ms Quin

Moldova enjoys a working, multi-party democracy. International observers regarded the 1998 parliamentary elections as free and fair. There have been no reports of politically motivated killings or disappearances or torture of prisoners by the authorities. There are occasional instances of police cruelty and prisons are generally overcrowded. The Constitution and the law provide for freedom of expression though it is forbidden to publish views which question the country's independence, sovereignty or territorial integrity. The law makes it easy for public figures to launch defamation suits which can lead to self-censorship by journalists. The Constitution provides for judicial independence though in practice the Prosecutor's Office has too much influence over the judiciary. Religious freedom, the right of assembly, freedom of movement and academic freedom are all respected.

In the separatist region of Transdniestria, there are reports of serious human rights abuses (including torture, police cruelty, questionable detentions, pressure on the media and discrimination against use of the Roman alphabet).