Press Release

Advancing cooperation in combating hate speech, sexism, and other forms of gender-based violence ahead of presidential election

30 April 2024

  • A round-table organised by the Council of Europe and European Union in partnership with the Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Moldova and UN Women gathered over 50 participants representing political parties, media, national and local authorities, civil society, as well as individual citizens. 
Photo: © UN Women Moldova

The aim was to jointly address measures needed to tackle hate speech, gender-based intolerance and sexism during the election period, building on lessons learned in the context of the local general elections in autumn 2023.

"Any manifestations of hatred or intolerance directly contradict with the core values of the European Union - respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and the respect for human rights. In collaboration with partners such as UN Women, the Council of Europe, the Audio Visual Council, and the Central Election Commission, the EU remains steadfast in its commitment to combat hate crimes, sexism, and gender-based violence. This commitment extends to the forthcoming Presidential Elections campaign in the Republic of Moldova and beyond", mentioned Jānis Mažeiks, EU Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova.

At the opening of the event, Falk Lange, the Head of the Council of Europe Office in Chisinau, highlighted that: “the Council of Europe’s commitment to democratic values forms the departure point for our support to create an electoral environment free from discrimination and harmful rhetoric, in particular in the context of electoral campaigns. In this sense, through this event we aim to increase the level of understanding for the issues of hate speech, sexist speech and other forms of gender-based violence and to combat these phenomena in the upcoming electoral campaign for presidential elections.”

"The results of our efforts to combat this phenomenon are already visible. Women's involvement in politics and public life is increasing. Slowly but surely, more and more women are choosing to get involved in solving problems in their communities. We are pleased for these results, and they strengthen our confidence in our efforts to ensure and promote women's rights", stressed Angelica Caraman, President of the Central Electoral

"In 2021, the Secretary-General of the United Nations mentioned, in his report, and thus confirmed that violence against women in politics is an international act of violation of political rights. I have been in the Republic of Moldova for 4 years and during my conversations with the candidates in the local elections, they reported that they lived countless negative experiences during the elections: sexism, sexist speech and various forms of violence against them as women and even against their families. It is a fact against which we must fight together", mentioned Dominika Stojanoska, UN Women Moldova Country Representative.

Liliana Vițu, Chairperson of the Audiovisual Council highlighted that "the role of state institutions in combating these phenomena is crucial. We must invest in increasing professional capacities, provide specialised assistance to our colleagues in institutions dealing with combating various forms of violence against women. I hope that all this effort of ours will bring about changes in society, so that women are not discredited and intimidate, but to be encouraged to run for a high position in state".

The discussions focused on the results of monitoring sexist behaviour and hate speech in audiovisual media during the 2023 local elections, on the forms of gender-based legal liability and tools and best practices to combat this phenomenon during the electoral period.

As an outcome of the event, participants agreed upon the importance of continuing cooperation and joining efforts in order to counter discrimination, hate speech, sexism and ensuring equal rights for all. The participants also agreed to safeguard the human dignity of those targeted by hate speech, and for ensuring that they are not excluded from the public debate, especially in the context of the upcoming autumn Presidential election and the constitutional referendum on the EU future of the Republic of Moldova.

This event is organized by the Council of Europe and UN Women Moldova, in cooperation with the Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Moldova. The roundtable is part of a joint initiative of the CoE project Improving electoral practices in the Republic of Moldova, Phase III, EU/CoE project Combating discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes in the Republic of Moldova (part of the joint European Union and Council of Europe programme Partnership for Good Governance), CoE Congress project Reinforcing the culture of dialogue and ethical open local governance in the Republic of Moldova, CoE project Enhancing diversity and equality in the Republic of Moldova.


Olesea Simion

UN Women
Communication Officer

UN entities involved in this initiative

UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

Goals we are supporting through this initiative