On the 3rd of July, the Moldavian Parliament voted the new Ombudsperson for Children in Moldova. Ecaterina Burlacu has been put in office by 70 favorable votes out of a total of 75 expressed votes, being assigned a seven years mandate to protect and to monitor the rights of all children from Moldova.
The national child-focused coalition, APSCF, repeatedly expressed its concerns regarding the election criteria since the election process was known to be hardly transparent and not quite beyond political favouritism. In order to make the election procedure more democratic, APSCF directed its advocacy efforts to addressing the following suggestions to the President of the Parliament, to the Members of the Electing Commission: the general public should be informed about the open competition; all the candidates should be timely informed about the exact time and place of the interview; all candidates should have equal chances; a unique list of questions should be asked during the interview; civil society representatives should be present during the interview having the possibility to address questions to the candidates.
APSCF was pleased to find out that some of its demands were considered by the Moldavian authorities (like the list of questions and the equal treatment of all candidates) while wishing that in the future, civil society representatives are allowed to actively participate to the interviews organized for the Ombudsperson’s position contest. The inputs and the recommendations of the civil society should be better valued since the Ombudsperson is meant to represent civil society in dialogue with the state institutions.
According to ENOC (European Network of Ombudsperson for Children), the role and the mandate of children’s ombudspersons in Europe consist in safeguarding and promoting children’s rights and ensuring that children’s views are taken seriously.