The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has been present in the Republic of Moldova since February 1997, and since 1998 has been cooperating with the CDA, which is the only legal partner of the UNHCR in the Republic of Moldova.
The partnership agreement signed between CDA and UNHCR provides for cooperation on legal assistance during the procedure for determining refugee status, the procedure for determining stateless status, the integration process; monitoring in the field of protection, border crossing points and detention facilities; support for lawyers, judges, policy makers and other professionals.
For over 20 years, the UN Refugee Agency has also been the main donor of CDA projects in the fields of asylum, migration, statelessness, and the integration of foreigners.
In 2017, with the financial support of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), CDA participated in the development of the Quality Standards and Tools for External Monitoring of the Quality of State Guaranteed Legal Aid by Lawyers in Asylum Cases, the Guidelines for Lawyers Providing State Guaranteed Legal Aid in Asylum Cases, and the Curriculum for Continuing Legal Education of Lawyers Providing State Guaranteed Legal Aid in Asylum Cases.
UNHCR also financially supports the activities of the CDA and during the refugee crisis in 2022, such as monitoring the observance of refugee rights at border crossings, providing advice and legal assistance in refugee accommodation centers, providing primary legal assistance and information to telephone counseling hot lines, through online communication platforms and through the distribution of printed information materials
On 18 January 2023, the UN Refugee Agency Representative in the Republic of Moldova, Francesca Bonelli, and the Executive Director of CDA, Oleg Palii, signed the 25th cooperation agreement between UNHCR Moldova and CDA.
UNHCR-Moldova and the Law Centre of Advocates will develop cooperation in providing legal support and protection to refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, foreign nationals, displaced and undocumented persons.
The project “Decentralized support for Ukrainian refugees”, funded by the international humanitarian organization Oxfam, was implemented by CDA in the period 01.04.2022 – 31.03.2023, targeting displaced persons from Ukraine living in host communities in 10 districts of the country, representatives of local public authorities and members of local communities.
Through the establishment of decentralized offices, mobile teams, CDA employees facilitated access of displaced persons from Ukraine to legal aid services. They organized events for social cohesion and integration of beneficiaries into local communities. CDA lawyers also trained social workers on national and international legislation on refugee rights, national asylum procedures, temporary protection; the legal situation of children coming from Ukraine to Moldova.
The CDA supported the implementation of local projects in the host community, such as the procurement of lifts adapted to the needs of people with disabilities for the Stefan-Vodă Culture House and the District Library of Causeni; the procurement of a laptop and shelves for the Causeni District Library; the donation of goods and supplies needed by youth centres, creative centres, district councils, schools and other institutions in local communities.
Within the framework of the Project were carried out:
– 72 information sessions;
– 35 social cohesion events;
– 14 trainings for social workers;
– the Campaign – Road Education Week “A pedestrian of grade 10” was carried out;
– an essay competition;
– 26885 individual counsellors were provided.
CDA implements a new training project on the protection rights and legal support of migrants, refugees, and stateless persons.
The project is funded by the International Organization of the Francophonie, will be carried out by the end of March 2023, and will be for training of the representatives of four categories of asylum professionals.
At least 190 lawyers and representatives of guardianship authorities/child protection social services; non-legal NGOs; representatives of the Bureau for Migration and Asylum will benefit of 12 training sessions on the rights, protection and legal support of migrants, refugees, and stateless persons.
The aim of the project is to strengthen the capacities of human rights and asylum professionals to enhance legal assistance, protection and support to foreigners, asylum seekers, refugees, and stateless persons in the Republic of Moldova.
Soros-Moldova Foundation provided financial support for the implementation by CDA of the project “Emergency legal assistance for refugees from Ukraine”, implemented for six months, from 1 March to 31 August 2022.
Soros Foundation Moldova provided CDA, through an emergency mechanism, with a grant in the amount of 100, 000 USD, aimed at providing free primary, informational legal assistance to refugees at the Call Center of the Migration and Asylum Bureau.
In the framework of this project, CDA, with the support of SOROS Moldova Foundation, hired 5 operators, who worked at the Call Center of the Migration and Asylum Bureau – Green Line. Every day they received hundreds of calls and answered the most diverse questions, such as the procedure for crossing the border, obtaining a residence permit, financial aid, employment etc.
During this period, CDA operators, together with colleagues from the BMA, took more than 41 000 calls, of which more than 29 000 – from refugees from Ukraine.
In line with the given Project, CDA provided expertise and support to the team of the Migration and Asylum Office.
CDA cooperated with Farmacéuticos Mundi in the project “Advice and legal assistance for migrants from Ukraine”, financially supported through its donors.
The memorandum signed in this regard between CDA and Farmacéuticos Mundi provided legal counseling and assistance for refugees from Ukraine in refugee centers or housed in families on the territory of the Republic of Moldova.
With the support of Farmaceuticos Mundi, CDA hired 6 legal to provide legal assistance and counseling in 4 accommodation centers for refugees in Chisinau, Cojusna and Slobozia Dusca.
According to the project, CDA supported important local initiatives, contributed to the organization of various events with the participation of members of the host community and refugees, thus promoting the socio-economic empowerment and their integration.
CDA became a member of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) în November 2022.
The European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) is a pan-European alliance of 106 NGO-s in 39 countries protecting and advancing the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons.
Working together with its members and partners to inform and persuade European authorities and the public, ECRE monitors and denounces human rights violations while proposing and promoting fair and effective durable solutions.
The mission of ECRE is to promote the establishment of fair and humane European asylum policies and practices in accordance with international human rights law.
ECRE strives for a Europe that protects refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons with dignity and respect
CDA is an associate member of the European Statelessness Network. CDA collaborated with it to research and compile comparative information on statelessness in Moldova and contributed to the development of the Statelessness Index in Moldova (Moldova | Statelessness Index ENS_Country_briefing-Moldova-
The Statelessness Index is a comparative online tool that assesses European countries’ legislation, policies, and practices on the protection of stateless persons, the prevention and reduction of statelessness in comparison with international rules and good practice.
The Law Center of Advocates (CDA), the European Network on Statelessness (ENS) and the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (ISI) made în 2021 a joint submission to the 3 rd Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), on the right to a nationality and human rights challenges pertaining to statelessness in Moldova.
The European Network on Statelessness (ENS) is a civil society alliance of over 170 organizations and individual experts from 41 countries working to end statelessness and ensure that stateless people in Europe can access their rights.