“The SCA acknowledges that the OPA was able to increase the number of positions in the institution from 65 to 72, following amendments to the Regulation on the organizations and operation of the OPA made in February 2023. The SCA notes that the OPA reported that only 48 positions out of 72 were filled. 

Furthermore, the OPA informed the SCA that the remuneration of staff of the OPA is lower than the average salary in the public sector. The OPA informed that it has taken steps to improve the situation of remuneration of staff, including by lodging a claim before the Constitutional Court of Moldova regarding the unconstitutionality of the law regulating the remuneration of the OPA staff. 

The OPA also reports that one of the main challenges for the OPA was the conditions of its premises. The SCA acknowledges that the OPA reported progress towards securing the OPA headquarters. 

The SCA emphasizes that, to function effectively, an NHRI must be provided with an appropriate level of funding in order to guarantee its ability to freely determine its priorities and activities. In particular, adequate funding should, to a reasonable degree, ensure the gradual and progressive realization of improvement in the NHRI’s operations and the fulfilment of its mandate. 

While the provision of “adequate funding” is determined in part by the national financial climate, States have the duty to protect the most vulnerable members of society, who are often the victims of human rights violations, even in times of severe resource constraints. As such, the SCA believes that it is nevertheless possible to identify certain aspects of this Paris Principles requirement that must be taken into account in any particular context. Among others, they include the following: 

– Accessibility to the public – This is particularly important for the most vulnerable sections of society, who would otherwise have particular difficulty bringing attention to any violation of their human rights. 

– NHRI staff – NHRIs should be resourced in such a manner as to permit the employment and retention of staff with the requisite qualifications and experience to fulfil the NHRI’s mandate. Salaries and benefits awarded to NHRI staff should be comparable to those of civil servants performing similar tasks in other independent institutions of the State. 

– Allocation for activities – NHRIs should receive adequate public funding to perform their mandated activities. An insufficient budget can render an NHRI ineffective or limit it from reaching its full effectiveness. Where the NHRI has been designated with additional responsibilities by the State additional financial resources should be provided to enable it to discharge these functions. 

The national institution shall have an infrastructure which is suited to the smooth conduct of its activities, in particular adequate funding. The purpose of this funding should be to enable it to have its own staff and premises, in order to be independent of the Government and not be subject to financial control which might affect its independence. 

The SCA therefore recommends that the OPA continue to advocate for an appropriate level of funding to effectively fulfill its mandate, to permit the employment and retention of staff with the requisite qualifications and experience, and to ensure the allocation of funds for premises which are accessible to the wider community. 

The SCA refers to Paris Principle B.2 and to its General Observation 1.10 on ‘Adequate funding.’ and General Observation 2.4 on ‘Recruitment and Retention of NHRI Staff’”