Promo-LEX Association and Bertam Grup received the UN Human Rights Awards

Promo-LEX Association and Bertam Grup received the UN Human Rights Awards. The UN Gala was organized on 6 December 2018 in Chisinau. The event brought together over 200 representatives of national and local public authorities, development partners, civil society and the media. Organized since 2004, every year on occasion of the International Human Rights Day, the UN Human Rights Gala of Awards aims at highlighting and rewarding the most valuable, innovative, effective and participatory initiatives and actions to defend and promote human rights in Moldova.

“For 14 years now, UN family is organizing this Gala to celebrate the individual and group success in promoting human rights in Republic of Moldova. The awards are aimed at acknowledging the importance of human rights advancement activity in Republic of Moldova as well as to support and encourage human rights defenders to further act on bringing human rights to life,” said Dafina Gercheva, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in the Republic of Moldova.

“At national level, Moldova registered regressions in the field of human rights in 2018. The professionals in the field, as well as development partners of our country talk more and more about selective justice, gaps in freedom of expression, deterioration of the rule of law and of democratic standards. The year 2018 was marked by hate speech in the public space and intimidations against journalists. Given such conditions, human rights defenders find it increasingly difficult to exercise their duties. But despite this, their role in society is strengthening. Therefore, the awards given by the UN have a special value,” said the Ombudsperson Mihail Cotorobai.

The award for outstanding human rights achievement in 2018 was given to Bertam Company, for inclusive approach to employment by incorporating in its staff people coming from the most vulnerable groups, including former drug users, people living with HIV, C Hepatitis and former detainees.

“I had a personal crisis, and I went through various complicated situations. For 10 years I used to use drugs, being convicted several times. After the last detention, I decided to change my life. I got a job, although it was difficult to find it since I had no studies. A good man hired me, and I started to work as a fright mover. Later I became a leader in the wholesale trade. And that man told me I had potential and I could start my own company. Hence, in 2007 I opened my own company,” says Vladimir Gait, Bertam director.

“When one comes out of prison or stops to use drugs, he/she finds himself/herself in a difficult position: What’s next? He/she goes through the rehabilitation period and, as a rule, employers do not easily accept such workers. For this reason, I felt deep in my heart that I needed to start a company that would offer jobs to people like me,” mentioned Vladimir Gait, company’s director.

On the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a special award was given for an outstanding lifelong (time consistent) advancement of human rights, with a special impact on the lives of right holders. This award was given to “Promo-LEX” Association and its team of litigators and human rights experts. It recognizes the Association’s efforts to promote human rights, especially equality and non-discrimination, combat torture and ill-treatment, protect the right to life and personal security. The award also recognized Promo-LEX efforts to promote human rights through strategic litigation before domestic and international courts; monitor and report on human rights issues; advocate at national and international levels for human rights compliant policies; conduct human rights training for various groups of beneficiaries; raise awareness on human rights.

“By identifying cases, we try to be of use to many people. We have our priority areas and we offer free legal consultations, thus we select the cases where lawyers, human rights defenders need to do their job,” said Ion Manole, president of Promo-LEX Association.

The winners were selected following an open contest, to which 41 applications were submitted. The nominees were then examined by a Selection Committee made of representatives of the UN Country Team. The creativity, perseverance, devotion and courage while promoting the human rights, as well as the impact of these actions on people’s lives, were among the assessment criteria.

The UN Human Rights Gala also awarded the winners of a creative contest, designated by public vote. The contest was organized by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. It gathered a total of 55 participants.

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honor of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rights: www.standup4humanrights.org