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Moldova: Rights Situation Improving, But Problems Persist

Washington, 26 February 1999 (RFE/RL) -- Moldova made progress in showing respect for human rights last year, a new U.S. report says, but there were also persistent problems in some areas.

In its annual report today on the state of human rights in nearly 200 nations, the State Department said the government of Moldova generally respected the rights of its citizens in 1998.

However, the report also cited cases of police brutality, harsh prison conditions and political influence over the judiciary.

The report noted that security forces spied on political figures and used illegal electronic measures and even illegal searches. The U.S. said the national constitution has the potential to limit press freedom and that some religious groups were restricted.

The U.S. said Moldova continued to be a divided nation, with predominantly Slavic separatists controlling the Transnistrian region along the Ukrainian border.

According to the U.S., the separatist regime has entered into talks on a special status with the government, but the report says progress has been blocked by the government's preoccupation with elections, its failure to produce a coherent national policy, and the separatists' demands for statehood.