Deputy Secretary General’s visit to the Republic of Moldova: focus on strengthening healthcare for prisoners, combating violence against women and ensuring regional stability

Strasbourg, 09.04.2024 – During his two-day visit to the Republic of Moldova, Deputy Secretary General Bjørn Berge has expressed his support for the authorities’ efforts to strengthen healthcare for prisoners, and promote gender equality and action to combat violence against women. He also held a series of meetings with high-level officials with whom he addressed regional challenges, including Russia’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine and underlined the Council of Europe’s unwavering support for Moldova’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and democratic and judicial reforms.

The Deputy Secretary General and Minister of Justice, Veronica Mihailov-Moraru hosted a handover ceremony where the Council of Europe made its second donation of important medical equipment with the aim of covering outstanding prison healthcare needs and meeting the standards established by the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT).

In his introduction of the ceremony, Deputy Secretary General emphasised that “the excellent co-operation and partnership between the Council of Europe and the Moldovan authorities is no doubt delivering and helps us raise together the standard of healthcare in prisons and thereby also health and long-term well-being of prisoners.”

Minister of Justice Mihailov-Moraru highlighted the Council’s ongoing support for Moldova’s ongoing project “Strengthening the prison and probation reforms, provision of health care and treatment of patients in closed institutions in the Republic of Moldova”.

“Improving conditions in prisons, including ensuring quality health care for all detained individuals, is a priority for the Ministry of Justice. Equipping prison medical facilities with modern equipment will significantly contribute to the enhancement of the quality of medical services provided to prisoners and to ensure the respect of their right to health. We express our gratitude towards the Council of Europe Office in Chişinău for its valuable contribution and unwavering support of our efforts to create decent conditions of detention, in compliance with international standards”, the Minister stressed.

The programme also included a visit to Moldova State University, where the Deputy Secretary General delivered introductory remarks and engaged in a dialogue with students on gender equality and the Istanbul Convention (the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence), which Moldova joined in 2022.

In a series of high-level meetings, the Deputy Secretary General met Vladimir Cuc, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Igor Grosu, Chair of Parliament. Discussions not only underscored the commitment of the Republic of Moldova and the Council of Europe to strengthen bilateral ties in the fields of human rights and justice but also reaffirmed the importance of regional stability and cooperation in the face of ongoing challenges as well as the important role of national parliaments in promoting Council of Europe values.

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