The UN has called on the de facto authorities [press release] of the disputed region of Transnistria [BBC backgrounder] "to address the deeply rooted problems identified in the report and to fully implement its recommendations, including the development of a plan of action for human rights." According to the UN's first human rights report [text, PDF] on the contested region of Transnistria, which was released on Thursday, the de facto authorities should undertake thorough reform of the penitentiary system, including a reduction of the number of prisoners, the abolition of inhuman disciplinary measures in prisons and training of prison staff. The report's author, Thomas Hammarberg, also noted that steps should be made to harmonize Transnistria's legislation with international human rights law and people in the region, who have limited knowledge of Transnistria's Constitution [text, in Russian] and other laws, should be granted greater access to legal documents. "Mr. Hammarberg's research in the Transnistrian region clearly demonstrates how the deployment of technical human rights experts can truly benefit people on the ground, without having a bearing on issues of political recognition or the legal status of a territory," UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] said of the report.
Transnistria is a territory located between Ukraine and Moldova. It is de jure a part of Moldova, but has had de facto independence since the early 1990s. In 1990, the region announced its intention to succeed from Moldova to become the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR). Between 1990 and 1992 at least 700 people were killed in fighting between Transnistrian separatists and Moldova. In a 2006 referendum that was not recognized by the international community [BBC report], 97 percent of the people in the region voted for independence and expressed support for a plan to eventually joining Russia.