RFSL, the Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights and Civil Rights Defenders (CRD), urge the Moldovan authorities to investigate the threats and alleged intentional arson committed against human rights lawyer Doina Ioana Străisteanu.
According to the Moldovan LGBT organization, GENDERDOC-M Information Centre, unknown individuals set the vehicle owned by Doina Ioana Străisteanu on fire on the night between 30th and 31st of May. There is a high likelihood that the incident was yet another act of intimidation in a long line of threats and harassment, that the human rights lawyer has been facing during her 9 years of cooperation with the LGBTQ movement in Moldova.
Doina Ioana Străisteanu has committed much of her work to protecting and restoring justice for LGBTQ people, who had suffered brutal violence. Among other cases, she has been representing the LGBTQ community’s interests in high profile cases against representatives orthodox clergy inciting homo/bi/transphobic violence, as well as against the President of Moldova and Party of Socialists of Republic of Moldova, for the homo/bi/transphobic hate speech.
According to the information received from GENDERDOC-M, Doina has been receiving death threats and her car has been damaged twice before, although the cases were not properly investigated. It is indeed appalling to see, that while the Republic of Moldova has been making progress in protecting LGBTQ people (for example by adoption of the anti-discrimination legislation and provision of safety for Chisinau Pride ) violent threats against human rights defenders seem to have a low priority. This tendency, was also confirmed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Michel Forst, during his visit in Moldova in 2018, when stating ’’The Government must end its punitive attitude towards human rights defenders, and embrace a more supportive approach to civil society in spite of possible disagreements and criticism’’.
In full agreement, with the conclusions made by the Special Rapporteur, RFSL and Civil Rights Defenders urge:
The Ministry of Interior and other relevant authorities in Moldova to investigate the case of intentional arson committed against human rights lawyer Doina Ioana Străisteanu and make sure to explore the possibility of this act being an act of intimidation aimed at preventing her from performing her professional duties;
- The government of Moldova to fulfill the recommendations outlined in the end of mission report of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of the Human Rights Defenders and condemn threats and violence against human rights defenders as well as marginalized social groups that they work to protect.
We also call on the international organizations and diplomatic missions, to:
- Monitor the present case and provide GENDERDOC-M and Doina Străisteanu with relevant and necessary support;
- Continue dialogue with the government of Republic of Moldova on improving the human rights situation of LGBT people, and activists.