United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Visits Pridnestrovie


On November 3, 2011, in Tiraspol, President of the PMR Igor Smirnov met with the United Nations N High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay. Participating in the meeting were heads of government institutions responsible for observance of fundamental human rights – Ministers of Justice and Interior, PMR's Prosecutor, Ombudsperson, Chairperson of the Supreme Court, as well as heads of the largest national communities of Pridnestrovie. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PMR was represented by its head Vladimir Yastrebchak. During the meeting, the sides discussed factors interfering with normal realization of human rights in this region of Europe, as well as single issues of human rights implementation in Pridnestrovie.

Igor Smirnov noted that creation of statehood in Pridnestrovie was in itself a response of the people to mass violations of human rights that were carried out authorities in Kishinev and were not impeded by the Communist Party during existence of the Soviet Union. The President stressed that one of the significant factors of existence of the Pridnestrovien Moldavian Republic nowadays is the necessity to protect rights of people residing here. The Head of the State pointed out that throughout the whole period of existence of the PMR, the Pridnestrovien people have been facing constant violations of their rights on the part of Moldova, notably these violations cover practically the whole range of human rights – from the right to life and human dignity to the right to labour and freedom of movement. The Republic of Moldova doesn't respond to the protests of the Pridnestroviens and leaves Tiraspol's goodwill gestures unanswered. In the opinion of Igor Smirnov, “more active international involvement in the given situation is required, since disregard of the international community of the violations of the Pridnestrovien's rights by Moldovan authorities creates illusion of impunity and permissiveness in Kishinev”. The Head of the State handed over to the High Commissioner Memo on Violations of Human Rights in the Republic of Moldova stating systematic violations of rights of the Pridnestrovien people.

Igor Smirnov proposed establishment of the permanent monitoring mission in the line of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that would deal with examination of numerous cases of human rights violations in the Republic of Moldova, especially of the principle of equality of all people, regardless of their language, ethnic, cultural background. Igor Smirnov assured that the Pridnestrovien side will brief High Commissioner on all facts of this kind on an operational basis.

 Navanethem Pillay expressed her concern in connection with the fact that some regions of the planet have no direct access to international organizations and cannot inform international community about the situation relating to the protection of human rights. She noticed that her mandate implies protection of rights of all people regardless of any borders. As a result, she must protect the Pridnestroviens along with other people. High Commissioner welcomed openness of Pridnestrovien state bodies for cooperation. She laid special emphasis on the fact that the citizen of Moldova who was involved in espionage on the territory of Pridnestrovie was released on humanitarian grounds. At the same time, stressing that “there are no states where there would be no violations of human rights”, Navanethem Pillay called upon organs of power of Pridnestrovie to “ensure strict compliance with human rights fixed in the Republic's Constitution.”

In the course of the dialogue, interlocutors discussed the work of penitentiary system of Pridnestrovie, protection of women's rights, inter alia measures taken by PMR's organs of power to prevent family violence, international problem of trafficking in human beings and other issues. Appeal by head of the Ukrainian community of Pridnestrovie Leonid Tkachuk about abnormal situation in the sphere of railway communication through the PMR found response with High Commissioner. Pridnestrovien Ukrainians are in essence deprived of the opportunity to visit their relatives living in Ukrainian regions. Navanethem Pillay declared she will discuss this situation with other participants of the international community.

It is the first time UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has visited Pridnestrovie. Igor Smirnov invited representatives of this important international institution to come to Pridnestrovie more often. Navanethem Pillay expressed confidence that Tiraspol will continue cooperation in the field of human rights protection with UN representatives.