Human rights concerns in Transnistrian region of Moldova UK statement

Thank you Madam Chair.

The United Kingdom is concerned by the continued use of the so-called ‘Strategy for Combatting Extremism’ by the de facto authorities of the Transnistrian region of Moldova as a means of silencing political opposition and freedom of speech. The manner in which this Strategy defines extremism does not meet internationally accepted standards.

With regard to the broad use of the Strategy, we are concerned by the case of Ghennadi Ciorba, who was sentenced – following a closed trial – to three years and three months in prison on 19 July 2021 on extremism charges and for insulting Transnistrian leader Krasnoselsky. We have previously raised concerns in this forum, most recently on 27 May 2021, with regard to the detention conditions of Oleg Horjan.

Mr Horjan was convicted for use of violence against a representative of authority. However, the list of violent and non-violent activities considered to be extremist lack clear definition. As such, other charges may be brought against Mr Horjan, including for insulting the Transnistrian leader and de facto authorities. We call on the de facto authorities to respect human rights and to release Mr. Ciorba, Mr Horjan, and all individuals detained for exercising their fundamental freedoms.

Expression of opinions and views, including on issues that could be considered controversial, sensitive or offensive must be respected and protected as part of open and democratic societal debate. The United Kingdom continues to track closely cases of human rights abuses in Transnistria, which undermine the safety of citizens on both banks of Nistru and the 5+2 settlement process itself. We call on the de facto authorities in Transnistria to reconsider their approach to these issues in line with international rules and norms.

Thank you Madam Chair.

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