Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape or forcible sexual assault and establishes penalties for violations ranging from three years to life in prison. The law also criminalizes spousal rape.
Rape remained a problem, and there were no specific governmental rape prevention activities. During the first 10 months of the year, prosecutors initiated 252 criminal cases of rape, a 13 percent increase from 2015. Of these, authorities dismissed 38 and forwarded 83 to the courts for trial. The rest remained under investigation or awaited an indictment.
The NGO La Strada noted that the actual number of cases of rape and sexual violence was much higher than reported, as sexual violence can be a taboo subject in society. The report Men and Gender Equality in the Republic of Moldova, found that almost 20 percent of the country’s men had sex with a woman without her consent. Almost 25 percent had sex with a woman who was too drunk to consent, and 18 percent admitted to marital rape. Approximately 5 percent admitted to participation in a gang rape.
Sexual violence was the least recognized and reported form of violence. The majority of cases did not receive police attention for a variety of reasons, including social norms by which masculinity was associated with domination and aggression and femininity with submission; victim blaming by law enforcement officials; and the stigma of rape victims being perceived as promiscuous. Police reportedly used poor investigative techniques and often mishandled rape cases, which further discouraged victim cooperation. NGOs reported that law enforcement agencies used mediation as means to dismiss rape cases, including forcing the victim to marry her rapist to ensure that the rapist avoided prosecution. The majority of victims reported extremely long delays in their cases due to lengthy evidence-collecting procedures and prosecutions, while the need for numerous interrogations and confrontations with their rapist added to the trauma experienced by victims.
The law defines domestic violence as a criminal offense, provides for the punishment of perpetrators, defines mechanisms for obtaining restraining orders against abusive individuals, and extends protection to unmarried individuals and children of unmarried individuals. The maximum punishment for family violence offenses is 15 years’ imprisonment. In the first 10 months of the year, police registered 1,354 cases of domestic violence, an 11 percent decrease from 2015. Authorities sent 901 cases to trial and dismissed 118.
The law permits excluding an abuser from lodging shared with the victim, regardless of who owns the property. The law also provides for psychiatric evaluation and counseling, forbids abusers from approaching victims either at home or at work, and restricts child visitation rights pending a criminal investigation. Courts may apply protective measures for a period of three months and extend them upon the victim’s request or following repeated acts of violence.
The law provides for cooperation between government and civil society organizations, establishes victim protection as a human rights principle, and allows third parties to file complaints on behalf of victims. Public perception of domestic violence as a private problem persisted. Authorities generally relied on civil society to raise awareness. The government supported efforts, usually undertaken with foreign assistance, to increase public awareness of domestic violence and to instruct the public and law enforcement officials on how to address the problem. Private organizations provided services for abused spouses, including a hotline for women who suffered abuse. The NGO La Strada, for example, operated a hotline to report domestic violence, offered victims psychological and legal aid, and provided victims options for follow-up assistance. Access to such assistance remained difficult for some, however.
There was progress during the year in building institutional capacity to protect women and children against domestic violence. The Ministry of Internal Affairs continued training for police officers handling domestic violence cases. According to various NGOs and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the effectiveness of protective orders depended on the attitude of authorities. Reports continued that police officers were not diligent in ensuring either the protection of victims or proper execution of protective orders. The situation improved slightly, with authorities issuing an increased number of protective orders within 24 hours as required by law. NGOs expressed concern that authorities were insufficiently proactive in combating indifferent attitudes towards domestic violence among police, prosecutors, and social workers. There were cases reported of authorities not issuing protective orders until a month after the alleged mistreatment. NGOs also maintained that authorities relied excessively on them to publicize remedies that were available and to assist victims in requesting protection.
In July parliament amended domestic violence legislation after a concentrated effort led by the Antiviolence Coalition. While new law improved the ability of police to respond to domestic violence by introducing emergency protection orders that may be issued by the responding police officer at the scene, it also decriminalizes abuse that results in “nonsignificant body harm” (e.g., slapping, hair pulling, pushes) that does not leave marks or result in work being missed. Under the law, abuse involving “nonsignificant” harm is punished administratively.
In 2015-16, more than 200 judges and prosecutors received training on preventing and combating domestic violence. While courts increased the number of protective orders they issued, police did not always implement such orders effectively. Observers stated that the police approach to domestic violence improved slightly, but judges and prosecutors often failed to take the crimes seriously. Authorities classified violations of protection orders as administrative infractions, which meant they could not open criminal proceedings against offenders unless they violated the order on multiple occasions.
According to NGOs, in most cases abusers continued their mistreatment undeterred. After release from detention, abusers commonly returned to their homes and continued to abuse. Fines often had the effect of reducing overall household income, further harming the spouses and children of abusers. Victims of domestic violence were frequently reluctant to come forward because of economic dependence on their abusers, particularly if the family had children.
Domestic violence investigations remained problematic when police officers themselves were the offenders. In such cases, law enforcement officers tended to side with the offender. While victims could appeal through the ECHR, the process was lengthy, and authorities did not protect victims from their abusers during the proceedings.
NGOs reported cases in which authorities issued conflicting protective orders, providing both the abuser and the victim with protection against the other and resulting in confusion in the courts.
In May participants in a press conference promoting the rights of victims of domestic violence acknowledged that there was an acute shortage of specialized services for victims in the country. They noted that there were 2,000 cases of domestic violence in 2015 and that 34 women and three children died as the result. A limited number of centers provided a full range of social, psychological, and legal assistance, including shelter for victims. NGOs that offered shelter for victims often depended on international donations and lacked regular funding, while the government reduced public funding for such centers.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment remained a common problem. The law provides criminal penalties for sexual harassment ranging from a fine to a maximum of two years’ imprisonment. The law prohibits sexual advances that affect a person’s dignity or create an unpleasant, hostile, degrading, or humiliating environment in a workplace or educational institution. According to NGOs, law enforcement agencies steadily improved their handling of sexual harassment cases, addressing harassment of students by university professors and several instances of workplace harassment.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children; manage their reproductive health; and have the information and means to do so, free from discrimination, coercion, and violence. Women in psychiatric institutions and social care homes, however, lacked access to contraceptives. These institutions also registered isolated cases of forced abortions.
Discrimination: Women enjoy the same legal status as men under family, labor, property, nationality, and inheritance law and in the judicial system. The law requires equal pay for equal work, which authorities generally respected during the year. In May a new law on gender equality in the public service and politics, which amended 15 existing laws, entered into force. The law requires that women fill a minimum of 40 percent of decision-making positions in government and political offices; bans publicity that promotes discriminatory messages or stereotypes; prohibits sexist and discriminatory language and images in the media and advertising; spells out the employers’ responsibilities in ensuring a workplace free of discrimination and sexual harassment; and introduces two-week state-paid paternity leave. The National Bureau of Statistics reported an almost equal proportion of men and women employed, with 51 percent and 49 percent, respectively. An assessment of the National Action Plan on Gender Equality for 2010-15 reported a reduction in the wage gap between men and women, from 28 percent in 2010 to 12.4 percent in 2015. In 2014 a woman received 87.6 percent of a man’s wage. While the ratio of women in decision-making positions did not change during the year, the number of women in law enforcement and the army increased. During the year 23 percent of persons serving in the army were women.
Birth Registration: Persons may acquire citizenship through birth in the country, their parents, adoption, recovery, naturalization, or under certain international agreements. Registration of birth is free of charge for all citizens. The lack of registration certificates for a number of children, especially in rural areas and in Romani families, remained a problem. Observers estimated that more than 1,000 children lacked identification documents.
Education: Primary education was free and compulsory until the ninth grade. Education of Romani children remained a problem during the year, with only half of the children in Romani communities attending school. For example, in the secondary school in Vulcanesti village, Nisporeni Region, only 15 of the 180 Romani students enrolled attended school and only one in five children attended preschool institutions. According to Romani representatives, absenteeism and school dropout in Romani communities was due to poverty and fear of discrimination. Romani girls were vulnerable to low educational attainment due to the roles expected of them in their families, seasonal work and migration, discriminatory attitudes in schools, and in some cases early marriage. Nearly half of Romani women have not received formal schooling, and only 52 percent of Romani girls were in primary education in 2013, compared to 84 percent of non-Romani girls and 55 percent of Romani boys, with smaller proportions of girls attending secondary school and university.
Child Abuse: Although the law prohibits child neglect and specific forms of abuse, such as forced begging, child abuse remained a problem. A special unit for minors and human rights in the Prosecutor’s Office was responsible for ensuring that particular attention and expertise was devoted to child abuse victims and child offenders. According to UNICEF, the unit faced organizational difficulties, since its work often overlapped with that of other sections, thus creating conflicting competencies.
The Prosecutor General’s Office and regional prosecutors investigated 513 cases of violations of children’s rights in 2015, issued recommendations in 269 cases, and initiated 38 criminal cases. Prosecutors sent 355 cases to court. The cases included divorce litigations, illegally taking the children out of the country, violations committed by the teaching staff, and parental abuse. Prosecutors reported 698 cases of children fleeing home because of abuse in 2015.
A UNICEF study published in 2014 revealed that 76 percent of children under the age of 14 were subjected to violence at least once during their lives. In 45 percent of the cases, children reported physical violence; 69 percent reported psychological abuse. Romani girls faced an increased vulnerability to violence. The Prosecutor’s Office reported an increase in sexual abuse and domestic violence cases against children, and initiated 332 cases in this regard in 2015.
According to the Ministry of Labor, Social Protection, and Family, inadequate victim services, a lack of reliable methods to track cases, and insufficient legal mechanisms to prevent abuse or to provide special protection to victims hampered efforts to protect children. The ministry noted that more than 25 percent of minors reported that their parents had beaten them and 15 percent stated they lacked food and care. Approximately 10 percent of parents admitted abusing their children emotionally or physically.
Early and Forced Marriage: The legal minimum age for marriage is 16 for women and 18 for men. There were no official statistics regarding child marriages.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The Prosecutor General’s Office is responsible for investigating and prosecuting child sexual abuse cases. Authorities punished commercial sex with minors as statutory rape. The minimum age for consensual sex is 16. The law prohibits the production, distribution, broadcasting, import, export, sale, exchange, use, or possession of child pornography, and violators face one to three years’ imprisonment.
Observers reported cases of prostitution of children and child sex tourism during the year. In April prosecutors searched the homes of five men and found over 1,000 photo and video files with child pornography. The files included pornographic images of children between the ages of four and 12. According to prosecutors, the suspects distributed the photo and video files over the previous two years. The suspects face imprisonment of up to three years.
Institutionalized Children: The deinstitutionalization of children continued during the year. Authorities closed more than 20 boarding schools since 2007, resulting in a 40 percent decrease in the number of institutionalized children. NGOs estimated that 25 percent of the children in orphanages had one or two living parents who abandoned them when they left the country in search of employment. Children in residential institutions were subject to a greater risk of unemployment, sexual exploitation, trafficking, and suicide compared with their peers raised in families. During the year there were 3,000 institutionalized children in the country. In February the Ministry of Labor, Social Protection and Family, the Ministry of Health, and UNICEF signed a memorandum with NGOs to launch a project to support vulnerable families.
UNICEF estimated that 50 percent of institutionalized children had disabilities. The Ministry of Labor, Social Protection, and Family maintained boarding schools for children with disabilities and institutions providing temporary (up to one year) shelter, counseling, and other assistance for children from socially vulnerable families.
In September the NGO La Strada and the Antiviolence Coalition of NGOs issued a statement concerning the lack of government action in dealing with the problem of street children after a television report uncovered over 20 minors living in the ruins of an abandoned Chisinau hotel. The minors survived by begging, stealing, and pickpocketing.
NGOs stated that law enforcement authorities and child protection services were negligent and unprofessional in their handling of street children. La Strada’s psychologists discovered numerous suicide attempts by children at the government-funded facility for temporary placement of children due to mistreatment. La Strada also issued statements throughout the year accusing law enforcement and justice officials of mishandling cases. The majority of violations involved corruption, victim blaming, and procedural irregularities by police officers, prosecutors, and judges. The NGO cited numerous cases of authorities revictimizing minors by forcing them to confront their abusers and releasing alleged abusers from pretrial detention, which allowed them access to their victims.
International Child Abductions: The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.
The Jewish community numbered between 15,000 and 25,000 persons, including 2,000 living in Transnistria. The Jewish community reported four acts of vandalism during the year. In March members of the synagogue in Orhei found their Torah scroll thrown to the floor and other religious objects desecrated. In another case, unknown individuals desecrated approximately 10 tombs in the Jewish cemetery in Soroca. An investigation of the incident was in progress at year’s end.
Property restitution continued to be a problem for the Jewish community, and Moldovan legislation does not yet exist to address it.
On July 22, parliament endorsed the Elie Wiesel Commission’s Report on Holocaust, issuing a statement condemning the extermination and persecution of Jews by Nazi German forces and their Romanian collaborators on the present-day territory of Moldova during World War II. The declaration also condemned attempts to deny or ignore the Holocaust and paid homage to its victims and survivors.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, education, access to public facilities, health care, or the provision of other government services, but authorities rarely enforced the law. It prohibits construction companies from designing or constructing buildings without specific access for persons with disabilities and requires transportation companies to equip their vehicles to meet the needs of persons with disabilities. The law also requires that land, railroad, and air transportation authorities provide access for persons with disabilities and adapt public spaces and transportation to provide access for wheelchair users. The airport administration must provide an escort for persons with disabilities. Authorities implemented the provisions of the law only to a limited extent during the year.
A joint report released in 2015 by the Mental Disability Advocacy Center in partnership with the UN Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities found that, despite some progress in advancing the rights of persons with disabilities in the country through expanded inclusive and community-based services, there remained a number of shortcomings. The report noted that more than 1,700 children with mental or intellectual disabilities remained in segregated educational institutions, while authorities deprived an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 persons of their legal capacity and placed them under the full control of guardians (they could not marry, divorce, sign an employment contract, refuse medication, etc.). Many guardians chose to place persons with disabilities in closed institutions against their will. Observers also recorded violence and abuse, including cases of rape and forced abortion, in segregated institutions for persons with mental disabilities. While the law provides equal voting rights for all persons with disabilities, including mental disabilities, the law does not permit persons with mental disabilities who do not have legal capacity to vote. In May 2015 parliament voted to remove from the electoral code the provision that allowed persons deprived of legal capacity to vote. Of 184,000 persons with disabilities registered in the country, 13,000 were children. The law entitles children with disabilities to home schooling provided by the government, but this service was limited in rural areas. In many cases, children with disabilities declined schooling to avoid discrimination. Schools were often ill equipped to address the needs of children with disabilities. Some children with disabilities attended mainstream schools, while authorities placed others in boarding schools or they were home schooled.
In Transnistria, children with disabilities rarely attended school and lacked access to specialized resources.
Official regulations mandate access to buildings for persons with disabilities. While many newly built or reconstructed buildings were accessible, older buildings often were not. More than 70 percent of public institutions lacked access ramps for persons with disabilities. According to the Motivatie association for persons with disabilities, only 1 percent of buildings in Chisinau were accessible. Even where ramps existed, they frequently did not fit a standard wheelchair or they were too steep or slippery. Most ramps at street crossings did not provide adequate access for wheelchair users. Persons with limited mobility complained about the lack of access to public transportation and public institutions as well as the shortage of designated parking places. The Social Assistance Division in the Ministry of Labor, Social Protection, and Family and the National Labor Force Agency were responsible for protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities.
According to election observers, in the presidential elections, independent access for persons with disabilities to the polling stations was not ensured in over 60 percent of observed polling places, while in over 20 percent of polling stations, observers found that the layout was not suitable for voters with disabilities.
In 2015 the Civil Aviation Authority organized training for air operators, flight attendants, and airport handling personnel on rules for serving passengers with disabilities. The training covered such aspects as the rights of the persons with disabilities for the duration of the air travel, efficient nondiscriminatory communication, proper support for persons with mobility disabilities, and use of wheelchairs.
The range of social services available to persons with disabilities included specialized services, such as social assistance, support, and counseling to foster social inclusion. There were 114 community service centers for persons with disabilities that served approximately 4,700 beneficiaries. There were also 16 mobile support groups providing social assistance, medical, and psychological support to 481 beneficiaries. The government budgeted 9.5 million lei ($475,000) for services to persons with disabilities in 2015.
There were 7,000 persons nationwide with vision disabilities, 3,500 of whom were completely blind. During the 2015 local elections the Central Election Commission tested for the first time a pilot project to provide ballots in Braille in all polling stations for persons with vision disabilities. According to the Promo-Lex presidential election observation mission, on election day, 36 percent of polling stations were not accessible for persons with mobility impairments (lack of access ramps, polling stations located on the second floor) and 33 percent of polling stations lacked proper voting conditions for persons with vision disabilities (insufficient lighting, lack of eyeglasses or ballots in Braille).
According to a study completed in 2015, only 43 percent of persons with disabilities in the country were employed.
Persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities in residential institutions and psychiatric hospitals were the most vulnerable to abuse. Human rights NGOs noted that residential institutions posed high risks for physical abuse, involuntary confinement, forced medication, rape, and other types of abuse. Women were often subject to forced abortions and contraception. NGOs reported a high mortality rate in psychiatric institutions. Residents in psychiatric hospitals were not allowed sufficient time outdoors.
IDOM identified two cases of placement of orphans and children from disadvantaged families in psychiatric institutions for a period of four to six months. In one case, an institution placed a 15-year-old youth with mild intellectual disability in a ward for adults with significant mental disabilities and subjected him to intensive antipsychotic medication as a punishment measure for breaking a window.
Mechanisms for residents in psychiatric institutions to submit complaints were not functional during the year. Penitentiaries lacked appropriate conditions for the detention of persons with disabilities, which led to inhuman and degrading treatment. Of 7,600 inmates detained in penitentiaries during the year, 206 were persons with disabilities, including 59 with physical disabilities, 19 with hearing disabilities, and 33 with vision disabilities. A 2014 report by the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights noted that authorities continued to commit severe abuses, such as neglect, mental and physical abuse, and sexual violence, against persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities. The rapporteur also raised concerns about unsanitary and unhygienic conditions.
With UN support, the government set up a National Health Management Center within the Ministry of Health to handle complaints filed by persons with social, neurological, or intellectual disabilities. At the same time, 13 lawyers provided free legal services to residents in psychiatric institutions.
The mortality rate in mental health institutions was significantly higher than in other health-care facilities. Authorities conducted no conclusive investigations on deaths in these institutions. The level of treatment in psychiatric facilities was substandard.
Human rights observers criticized the country’s guardianship system. A person placed under guardianship loses all standing before the law and cannot engage in social and legal acts, such as marriage, voting, claiming social benefits, consenting to medication, or refusing medication.
Although the law provides for equal employment opportunities and prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities (with the exception of jobs requiring specific health standards), many employers either failed to accommodate or avoided employing such persons. The law requires that 5 percent of the workforce in companies with 20 or more employees be persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are legally entitled to two months of paid annual leave and a six-hour workday, benefits that made employers less willing to hire them.
Transnistrian legislation provides for protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in the areas of education, health care, and employment. Reliable information about the treatment of persons with disabilities in Transnistria was unavailable.
Roma continued to be one of the most vulnerable minority groups in the country and faced a higher risk of marginalization, underrepresentation in political decision-making, and high levels of illiteracy and social prejudice. Roma had lower levels of education, more limited access to health care, and higher rates of unemployment than the general population (see section 7.d.).
While the 2004 census counted 12,271 Roma in the country, independent surveys estimated a total population to be between 15,000 and 28,000. NGOs asserted that government census forms allowed persons to identify with only one ethnic group, and many Roma declined to identify themselves as such.
The literacy level of Roma was well below the national average. According to Romani families, both fellow students and teachers subjected their children to discrimination. Authorities lacked an effective mechanism to address vulnerable families whose children did not attend school.
Approximately 60 percent of Romani families lived in rural areas. Some Romani communities lacked running water, sanitation facilities, and heating. Other problems facing Roma included lack of emergency health-care services in secluded settlements, unfair or arbitrary treatment by health practitioners, a gap between Roma and non-Roma in rates of coverage by health insurance, and discrimination against Roma in the job market. The unemployment rate for Roma was 29 percent, compared with 6.7 percent for the non-Romani population. There were only three Roma elected to councils in the local public administration.
The government established local government mediators in Romani communities in 2013. These mediators acted as intermediaries between the Romani community and local public authorities, mediated disputes, and facilitated the community’s access to public services. Romani NGOs reported insufficient or nonexistent funding for community mediators and reluctance by mayors to employ Romani community mediators in many rural areas. As of September, there were 13 officially hired Roma community mediators, two of them part time. During the year the government failed to take measures to combat discrimination against Roma or to ensure the effective participation of Romani women in public life.
In June the UN special rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsak-Ndiaye, noted economic, social, and political marginalization of Roma as well as instances of discrimination and xenophobia against Romani communities. Drop-out rates for Romani students were significantly higher than the national average, Roma often did not have proper identity documents, and Romani representatives expressed their concern that Roma were largely absent from decision-making processes and in public life.
In Transnistria, authorities continued to intimidate parents, students, and the administration of schools that used Latin script. The region’s authorities requested a power of attorney from both parents in order to allow their children to cross checkpoints at the administrative border. Parents and school administration considered this an abuse of the free movement and an obstacle for children who wanted to study in their native language.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The law prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. Societal discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity continued during the year.
During the year the NGO Genderdoc-M reported 47 cases of discrimination, incidents, and crimes based on sexual orientation. It also reported that courts examined nine cases of violations of the rights of LGBTI persons, including homophobic bias, hate crimes, discrimination, and on the issuance of identity documents for transgender persons.
Gay men were often victims of discrimination, but verbal and physical abuse against lesbians was also reported. In most cases, police officers were reluctant to open cases against the perpetrators.
In June 2015, a man beat his lesbian neighbor. The perpetrator allegedly stated that persons like her did not deserve to live and claimed that, even if he beat her, authorities would not hold him accountable. The victim filed a complaint with law enforcement officials, who refused to accept it. According to Genderdoc-M, the intervention of the victim’s lawyer compelled police to accept the complaint. When the victim returned home, the neighbor assaulted her again. Police responded and detained the perpetrator. The court ordered the perpetrator to pay a fine of 8,000 lei ($400) and moral damages amounting to 5,200 lei ($260).
Genderdoc-M reported multiple cases of verbal and physical assaults against LGBTI individuals during the year. On March 7, unknown individuals attacked a gay man with an air gun in his apartment. The victim survived what he claimed was an attempted murder and alerted police, who launched an investigation.
Genderdoc-M reported that eight cases of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity were under examination at the ECHR during the year. In most cases, LGBTI individuals complained of hate speech perpetrated by religious and political leaders.
Civil society organizations reported that transgender individuals were unable to change identity documents during or following gender reassignment and that they experienced employment discrimination (see section 7.d.).
On May 22, more than 300 individuals attended the fourth officially sanctioned march for the rights of LGBTI persons in central Chisinau. The march, held under the slogan “No Fear,” gathered both LGBTI and non-LGBTI attendees, who marched five blocks. Law enforcement officials shortened the initial route due to a counterdemonstration organized by Orthodox groups. Counterdemonstrators tried to break the police cordon and threw eggs at the marchers. Police were able to prevent clashes and serious incidents.
While authorities allowed individuals to change their names (e.g., from a male to a female name), the government did not allow persons to change the gender listed on their identity cards or passports. During the year the courts examined two cases involving requests to change identification documents filed by transgender individuals.
In Transnistria, consensual same-sex activity is illegal, and LGBTI persons were subjected to official as well as societal discrimination. A high school student from Bender was forced to leave school following harassment from peers and teachers based on his sexual orientation. Following the incident, the student’s parents tried to place him in a psychiatric hospital. The student was subsequently able to flee the Transnistrian region and moved to Chisinau.
In October a photographer from Tiraspol attempted to display a photo exhibit on the LGBTI community. The local security service (the “KGB”) visited the photographer, threatened her, and banned her from showing the exhibit.
HIV and AIDS Social Stigma
Persons living with HIV continued to face societal and official discrimination. In the most recent demographic and health survey for the country (2005), 89 percent of women and 90.3 percent of men reported discriminatory attitudes towards persons living with HIV/AIDS. A study on equality perceptions and attitudes in the country conducted in 2015 by the Council to Prevent and Combat Discrimination and Ensure Equality and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that persons living with HIV/AIDS represented the second most stigmatized group in the country after members of the LGBTI community. According to the study, persons with HIV were mostly perceived negatively, labeled as “leading a disordered sexual life,” and frequently associated with drug users.
The law prohibits hospitals and other health institutions from denying admission or access to health care services or requesting additional fees from persons with HIV or suspected of being HIV-positive. The Moldovan Institute for Human Rights and UN human rights advisor representatives reported instances where health care institutions refused to provide appropriate medical treatment and discriminated against HIV-positive patients because of their status.
Hospitals disclosed HIV status without consent to persons not entitled to have such information.
During the year there were reports of several cases of HIV-positive children forced to leave school after medical professionals violated patient confidentiality laws and divulged their HIV status to their educational institution.