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TITLE:  MOLDOVA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                            
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

                        MOLDOVA


The Republic of Moldova declared independence from the Soviet 
Union in 1991.  Most of the Republic was part of Romania 
between 1918 and 1940, and the majority of its population is 
Romanian-speaking.

The President, Mircea Snegur, was elected by Parliament in July 
1990 and, seeking a stronger mandate, in direct elections in 
December 1991.  Although opposition candidates withdrew and 
called for a boycott, Snegur won an overwhelming victory, which 
was interpreted as a show of support for an independent 
Moldova.  The Government has not been able to assemble a 
working majority in Parliament.  The Prime Minister is a leader 
of the Agrarians, the largest single group in Parliament.  The 
numerous other parliamentary groups include several smaller 
parties, which support eventual unification with Romania, and a 
faction that includes mostly Russian-speaking deputies.  Early 
parliamentary elections have been scheduled for February 27, 
1994.  They were considered necessary to end the parliamentary 
deadlock which slowed political and economic reform.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs has responsibility for the 
police, while the Ministry of National Security controls the 
security organs.  There are mechanisms to provide for limited 
parliamentary oversight of the activities of the security 
organs.  The Parliament has the ability to vote the dismissal 
of employees of the Security or Interior Ministries if 
employees have not correctly fulfilled their duties or have 
been involved in illegal activities.  In principle, this gives 
the Parliament a means to affect the activities of the security 
organs.  This power was not exercised in 1993.

Moldova's largely agricultural economy continues to suffer from 
the problems of privatization and lack of resources.  The 
Government removed most subsidies from food and other products 
and launched the privatization of housing.  The pace of 
agricultural privatization also accelerated.

As a result of the political deadlock, Moldova did not 
establish a legal framework to ensure protection for human 
rights in 1993.  Nonetheless, Moldova made steady progress in 
improving respect for some human rights.  Freedom of religion 
and freedom of movement were respected in practice.  Ethnic 
relations improved as a genuine dialog began among the 
different groups, although language issues remain a source of 
tension.  Other problem areas include an unreformed legal 
system that allows pretrial detention as long as 18 months; a 
judiciary that has yet to establish its independence; an 
unreformed prison system; instances of custodial abuse; and a 
significant degree of self-censorship that limits freedom of 
the press.

Two significant separatist movements within Moldova present 
problems that remain unresolved.  In the Transdniester region, 
the separatist movement, led by a pro-Soviet group, initially 
sought independence for the region but has on occasion 
indicated a willingness to discuss federal or confederal 
solutions.  There are continuing credible reports of human 
rights abuses in Transdniester, although the scale of serious 
abuses is much smaller than in 1992.  The cease-fire of July 
1992, which ended armed conflict between the two sides, was 
generally observed.  Negotiations between Moldovan leaders and 
representatives of the other separatist movement, that of the 
Gagauz (Christian Turkic) minority, centered in 1993 on 
territorial and cultural autonomy, but Parliament rejected 
territorial autonomy.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Politically motivated killings are not known to have occurred 
in 1993.  Given the heightened tensions in many parts of the 
country due to the separatist conflicts and deteriorating 
economic conditions, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has 
instituted a policy that strongly discourages officers from 
using firearms in any but the most clearly life-threatening 
situations.  Police recruits are reportedly tested on their 
ability to refrain from the use of armed force under 
provocation.  There were no known claims of improper use of 
lethal force by police in 1993.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

There were no allegations of torture of civil or criminal 
prisoners by Moldovan authorities in 1993, but there were 
credible reports that police sometimes beat prisoners in their 
custody.  Prisoners complained of extremely harsh conditions in 
prisons, including inadequate sanitation, medical care, and 
food supplies, lack of bedding, and beatings by jailers, 
coupled with indifference on the part of the authorities to the 
condition of the prisoners.  Prisoners also reported, credibly, 
that jailers did not intervene to prevent some prisoners from 
abusing others. 

Police beat four ethnic Russians, formerly soldiers in the 
Russian 14th Army stationed in Moldova, while in custody on 
charges of car theft.

Independent human rights groups report that allegations that 
the Transdniester authorities mistreat prisoners are credible.  
A group of ethnic Romanians (the "Tiraspol Six"), arrested in 
1992 and indicted for the assassination of two Transdniester 
officials, made extensive charges of mistreatment.  They 
charged that during 10 months of pretrial detention they were 
beaten, subjected to mock executions, drugged, and attacked by 
dogs.  There is special concern about the condition of one of 
the prisoners, Andrey Ivantoc, who appears to suffer from 
physical and mental illness requiring medical treatment.  The 
separatist authorities initially refused to allow the 
International Committee of the Red Cross to visit these 
prisoners, and family members and lawyers were often refused 
access to the prisoners.  Once the trial of the prisoners began 
in April, however, their treatment apparently improved, and 
they were usually permitted visits by family members and 
lawyers (see Section 1. e.).

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The former Soviet code on penal procedure remains in force, 
with some amendments.  The prosecutor's office issues arrest 
warrants.  A suspect may be held for 72 hours without charge 
and is normally allowed family visits during this period.  This 
72-hour time limit appears to be generally respected.  If 
charged, a suspect may be released pending trial, often with 
the restriction that he or she not leave town.  There is no 
system of bail, but in some cases a friend or relative, in 
order to arrange release, may give a written undertaking that 
the accused will appear for trial.

Suspects accused of violent or serious crimes are generally not 
released before trial; the prosecutor's office makes this 
determination without any judicial review.  The code permits 
pretrial detention, at the prosecutor's discretion, for up to 
18 months.

In 1992 the Penal Procedure Code was amended to permit suspects 
earlier access to an attorney.  Formerly, an attorney could be 
present during official questioning only after an arrest or 
after the prosecution had completed its investigation and 
forwarded the case to the court.  If a suspect were detained 
and under investigation but not formally arrested, he had no 
right to have an attorney present.  Under the amended 
provisions, a suspect may have an attorney present during 
questioning from the moment the prosecutor files an "affidavit 
of retention," which restricts the suspect's movements without 
putting him under arrest.  If a person is unable to afford a 
lawyer, one is provided at public expense.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The independence of the judiciary has increased since the 
dissolution of the Soviet Union; however, there is still no 
legal framework guaranteeing judicial independence.  There are 
local courts on the city or rayon (district) level, with the 
Supreme Court acting as an appellate court.  The Supreme Court 
is divided into two sections, one handling civil cases and the 
other criminal cases.  In criminal cases, the defendant by law 
enjoys a presumption of innocence.

Generally, trials are open to the public.  Defendants have the 
right to attend proceedings, confront witnesses, and present 
evidence.  Defense attorneys are able to review the evidence 
against their clients when preparing their cases.  The accused 
enjoys a right of appeal to the Supreme Court.  In a number of 
cases, decisions of lower courts were overturned on appeal.

Members of the Russian-speaking minority have expressed concern 
that they have not received equal treatment before the courts.  
To date, no pattern of discrimination has emerged in the 
judicial system.

In the area of Moldova not under Transdniestrian control, no 
prisoners are known to have been convicted or to be serving 
sentences based on political charges.  There have been credible 
charges, however, that local prosecutors have brought 
unjustified cases against individuals in retribution for their 
accusations of official corruption.  


In the Transdniester region, the trial of the "Tiraspol Six", 
ethnic Romanians charged with assassinating two Transdniester 
officials, began in April, almost 10 months after their 
arrest.  International human rights groups, including the 
Russian group Memorial, raised serious questions about the 
fairness of the trial.  The legitimacy of the court has also 
been called into question.  Separatist authorities have 
reportedly harassed and threatened attorneys for the 
defendants.  One lawyer, an ethnic Russian, made a statement in 
court, protesting the actions taken against her and alleging 
that local security forces were following her.  She withdrew 
from the trial.  In December all the accused were found guilty; 
the leader of the group was sentenced to death, while several 
other defendants were sentenced to long prison terms.  While 
the prisoners remained in detention at year's end, the formal 
sentences, including the death sentence, had not been carried 
out.  

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence

According to the 1990 law on the police, the prosecutor's 
office issues search warrants.  There have been instances when 
searches were conducted without warrants, and courts do not 
exclude evidence that was illegally obtained.  There is no 
judicial review of warrants.

Some government critics claimed that they were followed by 
security forces and harassed.  It was widely believed that the 
security forces continued to use electronic monitoring of 
residences and telephones in some cases, although evidence of 
such activities was lacking.  By law, the prosecutor's office 
must authorize wiretaps and may do so only if a criminal 
investigation is under way.  In practice, the prosecutor's 
office lacks the ability to control and check the security 
organs and police to prevent them from using wiretaps illegally.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Government did not actively repress freedom of speech and 
press during the year.  Political parties and other groups 
published their own newspapers and freely criticized the 
Government.  However, freedom of the press was limited by the 
lack of independent news media, especially broadcast media.  
The Government controls radio and television, and official or 
quasi-official entities such as government departments or 
Parliament own most of the major newspapers, resulting in 
significant self-censorship.  Some writers report, for example, 
that editors encouraged them to mute criticism of individual 
political leaders or to cite the "authorities" rather than 
individual officials by name.

Sfatul Tarii, the parliamentary Romanian-language daily, ceased 
publication when Parliament cut off most of its funding.  
Parliamentary leaders claimed that they could not support two 
newspapers (the other is the Russian-language Independent 
Moldova).  Editors of Sfatul Tarii charged that its funding was 
cut because of its criticism of the Government.  

The Government does not restrict foreign publications.  
Newspapers from Russia are widely available in Moldovan 
cities.  Those from Romania are available but are expensive and 
generally more difficult to obtain.  Newspapers published by 
the separatist forces are not available in the rest of Moldova, 
although they arrive by mail without apparent interference.  On 
the other hand, Romanian-language Moldovan newspapers are 
increasingly available in the separatist Transdniester region.

The Government controls radio and television.  In the 
Transdniestrian area, the authorities continue to ban Moldovan 
radio and television.  Moldova receives television broadcasts 
from Romania and from Russia. 

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

The right to peaceful assembly is protected by law.  Permits 
for demonstrations are generally issued by the mayor's office, 
which may consult the national Government if the demonstration 
is likely to be extremely large.

There were few demonstrations in 1993; all were allowed to take 
place without police interference, although a large police 
contingent was occasionally deployed to protect the targets of 
demonstrations, such as the President's office.  In a few 
cases, permits were denied for demonstrations, but no action 
was taken to interfere when demonstrations occurred anyway.

Private organizations, including political parties, are 
required to register, but applications appear to be handled 
routinely.


The Presidium of the Parliament ended the ban on the Communist 
Party.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The practice of religion is generally free in Moldova.  
Parliament passed a law on religion in 1992 which codified 
religious freedoms, although it contained restrictions that 
could inhibit the activities of some religious groups.  

The law guarantees freedom of religious practice, including 
each person's right to profess his religion in any form.  It 
also provides for alternative military service for 
conscientious objectors, protects the secrets of the 
confessional, allows denominations to establish associations 
and foundations, and states that the Government may not 
interfere in the religious activities of denominations.

The law, however, also requires that religious groups be 
recognized by the Government in order to function and that 
denominations obtain specific government approval to hire 
noncitizens.  The law also prohibits proselytizing.  In 
practice, street preaching and the holding of religious 
revivals have flourished, although there were unconfirmed 
reports of police preventing street preaching in some cases.  
Some Protestant denominations are concerned that the 
prohibition on proselytism could inhibit their activities.  In 
addition, Parliament did not issue implementing regulations 
that provided a legal definition of proselytizing, leaving open 
the possibility of abuse.  To date, no legal actions are known 
to have been taken against individuals for proselytizing, 
despite a substantial amount of such activity.

Although the Orthodox Church was not designated as the official 
religion of Moldova in the law on religion, it continued to be 
the strongest religious force and exerted significant 
influence.  In December 1992, a group of (primarily ethnic 
Romanian) priests broke off from the Moldovan Orthodox Church, 
which is under the authority of the Patriarch of Moscow, and 
received recognition by the Romanian Orthodox Synod as a 
metropolitanate within the Romanian Orthodox Church.  Some 
Moldovan congregations have chosen to join them.  The 
Government, however, has not registered the new group, which 
advocates the union of Moldova with Romania.  Priests who have 
joined the "Metropolitanate of Bessarabia-Old Style," as it is 
called, have made credible allegations that local authorities 
have sometimes harassed them.  They also allege that priests 
remaining with the Russian Orthodox group have threatened and 
harassed them and their congregations, while local police have 
taken no action.  Although the Ministry of Culture and 
Religious Affairs has supported the request of the 
metropolitanate to be registered, many high government 
officials appear to favor the Russian Orthodox group and to 
support the eventual creation of a single Moldovan Orthodox 
Church, independent of both Russia and Romania.

Protestant groups have increased their ties with coreligionists 
abroad; foreign missionaries are established in Moldova and 
maintain regular contacts with their missions.  

The Jewish community, although small, increased its activities 
in 1993, and Jewish leaders report that their relations with 
the Government and local authorities are cooperative.  Although 
there were occasional appearances of anti-Semitic graffiti, 
there was no organized anti-Semitism.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

There are no closed areas or restrictions on travel within 
Moldova.  Moldovans generally were able to travel and emigrate 
freely in 1993.  While Soviet legislation is still in effect, 
exit visas, which are still required, are routinely issued with 
passports.  Restrictions on emigration remain in force, 
including the requirement to gain the permission of close 
relatives in order to emigrate.  One Moldovan citizen was 
initially denied the right to emigrate because she could not 
produce evidence of the concurrence of her father, who had left 
the family following a divorce, had not had any contact with 
the daughter for years, and was believed to have left Moldova.  
She was eventually granted permission to emigrate.  At least 
one applicant was denied exit permission because he had access 
to state secrets.  Such cases are, however, rare.   

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Parliamentary elections in 1990 and presidential elections in 
1991 were Moldova's first steps toward permitting a fully 
functioning democratic system that would allow citizens to 
change their government.  

As a result of frustration with the difficulties experienced by 
Parliament in resolving the most pressing problems facing 
Moldova, a group of deputies, supported by the parliamentary 
leadership and the President, has called for new elections in 
advance of the end of Parliament's term in 1995.  They began a 
boycott of Parliament in September in order to force early 
elections, which were finally set for February 27, 1994.  
Parliament asked international groups to provide technical 
assistance for evaluation of the electoral laws, training of 
poll watchers, and civic education.

The electoral law adopted in October provides for elections on 
a multiparty basis.  New presidential elections were also being 
considered.  These new elections will be the first opportunity 
for the citizens to demonstrate their ability to effect a 
substantial change in their government.

There are no restrictions, in law or practice, on the 
participation of women in politics or government.  Women are 
increasingly represented in important positions in ministries, 
including one Cabinet-level official.  Women are also 
reasonably well represented in the judiciary.  There are few 
women in leading positions in political parties, although a 
women's party will field a slate of candidates in the February 
elections.  About 3 percent of parliamentary seats were held by 
women in 1993.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

A local human rights group, Helsinki Watch, was formed in 1993 
and operated without governmental interference.  While it 
focused primarily on abuses in the Transdniester region by the 
separatist authorities, it increased its contacts with other 
groups and began to examine more controversial human rights 
issues, including minority issues.  

Several international human rights groups were active during 
1993, with the Government generally receptive to their 
activities.  Parliament sent draft legislation to the American 
Helsinki Watch, the Council of Europe, and other international 
organizations for expert evaluation.  

The Government welcomed and supported the work of the 
Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), which 
has a mission in the country to assist with finding a 
resolution for the separatist conflict.  In January 1993, the 
Government requested the CSCE to send a mission of experts to 
investigate and provide advice on current Moldovan legislation 
and "implementation of minority rights and interethnic 
relations."  In response, the CSCE's Office of Democratic 
Initiatives and Human Rights (ODIHR) sent a team of experts to 
Chisinau from January 31 to February 4.

The Transdniester separatist authorities stated that they will 
cooperate with the CSCE mission.  However, on several occasions 
mission members were impeded from traveling freely in the 
separatist region or threatened by militia or paramilitary 
forces.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status 

     Women

Theoretically, women enjoy equal rights under the law.  
However, women are generally underrepresented in government and 
leadership positions and, according to statistics, have been 
disproportionately affected by growing unemployment.  Several 
women's organizations are active politically and in charitable 
work.

Women who suffer physical abuse by their husbands have the 
right to press charges; prison sentences may be given to 
husbands convicted of such abuse (up to 6 months is not 
uncommon).  Public awareness of the problem of violence in 
families generally is not very high, and no special government 
programs exist to combat spouse abuse.

According to knowledgeable sources, women do not generally 
appeal to police or the courts for protection against abusive 
spouses because they are embarrassed to do so.  Police 
generally do not consider spouse abuse a serious crime, 
although, when cases do reach the court, they appear to be 
treated seriously.  Spouse abuse is not identified by women or 
legal authorities as a common problem.

     Children

Moldova has extensive legislation designed to protect children, 
including extended paid maternity leave and government 
supplementary payments for families with many children.  The 
health system devotes extensive resources to vaccination 
programs and child care.  No special problems with child abuse 
were reported in 1993.


     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Moldova's citizenship law, adopted in 1990, offered an equal 
opportunity to all persons resident in Moldova at the time of 
independence to adopt Moldovan citizenship.  The CSCE's ODIHR 
praised the law as being very liberal.  The law does not, 
however, permit dual citizenship except on the basis of 
bilateral agreement.  No such agreements were in effect in 1993.

Moldova has a population of about 4.3 million, of which 65 
percent are ethnic Romanians (also called Moldovans).  
Ukrainians (14 percent) and Russians (13 percent) are the two 
largest minority groups.  A Christian Turkic minority, the 
Gagauz, lives primarily in the southern regions.  They are 
largely Russian-speaking and represent about 3.5 percent of the 
population.  Bulgarians, also mostly Russian speakers, 
represent about 2 percent of the population.  About 600,000 
people (14 percent of the total population) live in the 
Transdniester region, currently controlled by separatist 
forces.  In this region, about 60 percent of the population is 
Slavic-speaking and 40 percent ethnic Romanian.

While some groups within Moldova continue to advocate 
unification with Romania, this idea has generally lost 
popularity over the past several years.  This, in turn, has led 
to some improvements in the relations between Romanian speakers 
and Russian speakers.  The latter express serious concern about 
the situation of Russian speakers if unification were to take 
place.  The leadership of the separatist "Transdniester 
Moldovan Republic" sought to capitalize on fears of 
discrimination to gain support from the majority Russophone 
population of the region.

Although the two sides held negotiations on several levels 
during 1993, they made little progress.  In January an "experts 
commission," including officials of both sides, agreed on a set 
of basic principles to guide the negotiations; however, the 
Transdniester "Supreme Soviet" subsequently rejected these 
principles.  In November a bipartite commission was formed with 
the participation of a Russian mediator.  No results from this 
effort were reached by year's end.

In the south, an autonomous Gagauz republic was also proclaimed 
in 1990.  Although no solution to the conflict with the Gagauz 
region has yet been found, serious negotiations took place 
during 1993.  The Government and parliamentary leadership 
proposed a draft law which gained the concurrence of much of 
the Gagauz leadership.  It would have permitted significant 
territorial and cultural autonomy and would have allowed the 
Gagauz area to withdraw from Moldova if Moldova united with 
Romania.  Parliament, however, rejected this version and 
prepared its own proposal, which was sent to the Council of 
Europe for expert evaluation.  This version provides for 
significant cultural autonomy but does not give the Gagauz the 
right to leave Moldova if unification occurs.  The draft had 
not been voted on by the end of the year.

Language issues remain a source of tension.  Before 1989, 
Russian was the dominant language in Moldova.  Moldovans were 
forced to use the Cyrillic alphabet to write "Moldovan," which 
was officially declared to be a different language from 
Romanian, although they are in fact the same language.  In 
August 1989, the then Supreme Soviet of Moldova adopted a law 
making Moldovan (Romanian) the official language of the 
Republic and replacing the Cyrillic alphabet with the Latin.  
Although the law contains significant protection for the use of 
Russian and other languages, it is widely criticized by Russian 
speakers, who fear that its real intent is to drive Russian 
speakers from the country.

The principle inherent in the language law is that, in dealing 
with any official or commercial entity, the citizen should pick 
the language to use and the entity should be in a position to 
accommodate him.  Officials and employees are therefore 
obligated to know Romanian and Russian (and Gagauz, in the 
Gagauz regions) "to the degree necessary to fulfill their 
professional obligations."  State enterprises, however, are 
expected to use Romanian as their working language, unless 
their local authorities obtain approval from the Government to 
use Russian or another local language (e.g., Gagauz).  The law 
sets a deadline of January 1, 1994, for beginning to implement 
these requirements.  Implementation of language testing to 
determine whether employees have reached the necessary levels 
of proficiency in the official language, however, was postponed 
to April 1994 by Parliament.

Russian speakers have criticized the Government for failing to 
provide sufficient support to those who want to learn 
Romanian.  Officials note that they have tried to improve the 
assistance offered (usually to study groups in the workplace), 
but that requests for teachers and manuals have declined.

Moldova continues to offer Russian-language education through 
university level, although the number of places for Russian-

speaking students has declined.  The shortage of buildings for 
elementary and high schools contributes to the friction 
surrounding this issue.  Education officials state that Russian 
will continue to be studied at all schools and that Romanian 
instruction in Russian-language schools will be improved.  
Although there is broad acceptance for continuing minority 
language education on the grade school level, there is less 
support for maintaining Russian-language sections in all 
disciplines at the state university.  

In the Transdniester region, the separatist authorities have 
decreed that all schools must return to using the Cyrillic 
alphabet for the "Moldovan" language, which they insist is a 
different language from Romanian.  Authorities have intensified 
efforts, begun last year, to confiscate textbooks in Romanian 
and have dismissed or threatened to dismiss teachers who oppose 
this policy.  A number of students and teachers have protested, 
including by boycotting classes.

     People with Disabilities

While there is no legal discrimination against people with 
disabilities, there are no laws providing for accessibility for 
them, and there are few government resources devoted to 
training people with disabilities.  The Government does provide 
tax advantages to charitable groups that assist the disabled.  

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The 1990 Soviet law on trade unions, which was endorsed by 
Moldova's then Supreme Soviet and is still in effect, provides 
for independent trade unions.  Moldovan parliamentary decisions 
in 1989 and 1991, which give citizens the right to form all 
kinds of social organizations, also provide a legal basis for 
the formation of independent unions.  However, there have been 
no known attempts to establish alternate trade union structures 
independent of the successor to the previously existing 
official organizations which were part of the Soviet trade 
union system.

The successor organization, which at the republic level is 
called the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Moldova 
(FITU), broke with the Moscow-based General Confederation of 
Trade Unions in 1992.  The FITU's continuing role in managing 
the state insurance system and its retention of previously 
existing official union headquarters and tourist facilities 
provide an inherent advantage over any newcomers who might wish 
to form a union outside its structure.  However, its industrial 
or branch unions are developing as more independent entities, 
maintaining that their membership in the FITU is voluntary and 
that they can withdraw if they wish.  Several threatened to 
withdraw in 1992 in a successful effort to block the election 
of a former Communist party secretary to its presidency.  

The FITU has insisted on the right to have union 
representatives involved in the negotiations to set the minimum 
wage.  It has opposed government measures to raise prices 
before back salaries were paid.  In these matters, it has begun 
to leave behind its role as an accessory of the Communist party 
and to work on securing better treatment for workers.

Government workers do not have the right to strike, nor do 
those in essential services such as health care and energy.  
Other unions may strike if two-thirds of their members vote for 
a strike in a secret ballot.  There was a 1-day strike by 
trolleybus drivers in November.  The Government considered this 
strike by public workers illegal.  The strike ended after the 
Government offered a small wage increase and pledged to discuss 
working conditions.

Unions may affiliate and maintain contacts with international 
organizations.  

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Moldovan labor law, which is still based on former Soviet 
legislation, provides for collective bargaining rights, but 
collective bargaining is only just beginning.  There were no 
known collective bargaining agreements in 1993.

There were no reports of actions taken against union members 
for union activities.  The 1990 Soviet law on trade unions 
provides that union leaders may not be fired from their jobs 
while in leadership positions or for a period after they leave 
those positions.  This law has not been tested in Moldova.  
There are no export processing zones in Moldova.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced or compulsory labor is not specifically prohibited; 
there were no instances reported.


     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum age for employment under unrestricted conditions is 
18.  Employment of those aged 16 to 18 is permitted under 
special conditions, including shorter workdays, no night 
shifts, and longer vacations.  The Ministry of Labor and Social 
Protection is primarily responsible for enforcing these 
restrictions, and the Ministry of Health also has a role.  
Child labor is not used in Moldovan industry, though children 
living on farms do sometimes assist in the agricultural sector.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The minimum monthly wage, although it was more than tripled 
during the year, did not keep pace with inflation.  It does not 
provide a decent standard of living for a worker and family.  
At the end of November, the minimum monthly wage was about $3 
(10,000 rubles, or 10 Moldovan lei in the new currency 
introduced then).  The Labor Code establishes a workweek of 41 
hours, including at least 1 day off weekly.  

The State is required to set and check safety standards in the 
workplace.  The unions within the FITU also have inspection 
personnel who have a right to stop work in the factory or fine 
the enterprise if safety standards are not met.  In practice, 
however, the declining economic situation has led enterprises 
to economize on safety equipment and generally to show less 
concern for worker safety issues. 


[end of document]

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