Republic of Moldova to become the first country to implement recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law

Government, civil society and international experts met in Chisinau to agree on laws that protect human rights to save lives, save money and end the epidemic.

Chisinau, 13 July 2012 – Leading Moldovan and international experts discussed today how Moldovan law and its application can promote an effective AIDS response and adopt an action plan to ensure that the law works for people affected by HIV.

The town hall meeting convened by the Ministry of Health, the European Commission, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Joint Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), the Institute of Human Rights in Moldova (IDOM), NGO “Viața Nouă” and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) is the world’s first national meeting in response to the findings of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law launched on July 9.

“The law and its application can have a profound impact on the lives of people, especially those who are marginalized and disempowered“, saidDr. Christoph Hamelmann, UNDP Regional Practice Leader on HIV, Health and Development, during the meeting. “It is a powerful instrument to challenge stigma, promote public health, and protect human rights. We have much to learn from the positive and negative experiences in Moldova on the interactions between the law, legislative reform, law enforcement practices, and public health responses”.

According to the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, punitive laws and human rights abuses are costing lives, wasting money and stifling the AIDS response. In its landmark final report Risks, Rights and Health, the Commission – an independent body made up of global leaders and experts – demonstrate how laws that criminalise HIV transmission and the behaviours that lead to it actually increase stigma and discourage people from getting tested or treated for fear of prosecution.  

“Ensuring that human rights are integrated in our laws and practices is not only the right thing to do now - it is an important and strategic investment for future generations”, saidRuslan Poverga, president of ”Viața Nouă” Association.

According to UNAIDS data, 14,528 people are living with HIV in the Republic of Moldova and as of January 2012 there were 7,125 new HIV cases on both banks of the Nistru River. The epidemic is considered to be low prevalence with a concentrated HIV epidemic among injecting drug users and other most-at-risk populations.  

Republic of Moldova has already adopted legislative and regulatory amendments for removing HIV as grounds for restricting people’s right to entry and residence, as well as other discriminatory provisions which made the country one of the best examples of legislation and legal implementation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Media contact:

Arcadie Astrahan, Health and Human Rights Consultant to the Ministry of Health (arcadie.astrahan@undp.org) , +373 79 53 35 54
Dudley Tarlton, UNDP Regional Policy Specialist – HIV, Health and Development (dudley.tarlton@undp.org), +421 911 426 768