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Application of Legislation, Criminal Cases, Court Rulings

Application of Legislation, Criminal Cases, Court Rulings

Romania officially adopted the major European and international rules and regulations that prohibit any kind of discrimination. EU anti-discrimination policy has not been fully implemented (2000/43/EU and 2000/78/EU of 29.06.2000 27.11.2000) in 2012, and only after the pressure of the EU in March 2013 the stalled process started to move.

The main bodies responsible for dealing with national minorities are the Department for Interethnic Relations and the Government Council for National Minorities. The National Agency for Roma, founded in 2004, coordinates the implementation of the state policy in respect to that part of the population. The strategy of state policy towards Roma focuses on six areas: education, employment, health, housing and small infrastructure, culture and social infrastructure. Particular attention is paid to such urgent problems as the fight against segregation of Roma children in schools and ensuring social housing for Roma. In Romania, the institute of “school mediators”, which has proved its usefulness as a tool to monitor the situation and to avoid cases of dropping out, as well as ensuring school attendance among Roma pupils. In 2012, 437 such intermediaries worked at county school inspectorates, the local government and county councils. In 2013, the number of intermediaries began to decline due to funding limitations of the program. The experimental program “Social housing for Roma communities”, which is held by the National Housing Agency, includes a plan to build 300 units of social housing in 11 cities with the most convenient way for Roma to access education, health care and social services.

The National Agency for Roma Affairs in cooperation with other ministries and representatives of civil society have developed a new national strategy for Roma for 2011-2020 in order to improve the level of education and skills of Roma, including expansion in employment, poverty reduction, prevention of social exclusion and discrimination against Roma in society, as well as improving their health and living conditions.

Regional offices of the Department of International Relations operate in the counties of Cluj, Constanta, Kharga, Mehedintsi, Suceava, Timis. In the recent years, 30 000 Roma people have received identification documents. Registration of children on birth has been streamlined. On the other hand, many Roma still lack the necessary documents.

In 2006, the National Council for Combating Discrimination was established. NCCD is an independent public body under parliamentary control, which works in the field of anti-discrimination and is the guarantor of the observance and application of the principle of non-discrimination in accordance with national laws and international treaties to which Romania is a member. Discrimination is also combated by National Council for Mass Media (Consiliul Naţional. Audiovizualului - NSS), which has the right to apply sanctions against the media in the case of violation of rules and regulations. In 2012 NSS introduced a system of sanctions in case of nationalist, anti-Semitic and racist statements in television and radio shows. NCCD consists of representatives of Hungarian and Roma communities.

The struggle against discrimination is an important area of work for the Public Defender (the Ombudsman).

A specific problem is the compliance of section 7 of Article 32 of the Romanian Constitution, which states: “The State shall ensure freedom of religious education in respect to specific requirements of each cult. In public schools, religious education is organized and guaranteed by law”.

In accordance with the Constitution, 18 recognized religions have the right to conduct the lesson of religion in public schools. The law entitles students to attend religion classes in school in accordance with their beliefs, regardless of their number. In 2007, Romania established an Advisory Council of Churches and Religious Confessions to handle potential conflicts between religions.

In 2013, an Interdepartmental Committee was established to monitor and support the implementation of the new legislation on restitution of property. Unfortunately, such legislation is rarely enforced in practice.

In 2011, as part of its obligations under the “Framework of the EU for national Roma integration strategies up to 2020” Romania has developed a National Strategy for Roma Inclusion. However, as noted in the report of Amnesty International, published in February 2013, all these commitments “do not pass the region-specific actions”.

For these purposes, the National Agency for Roma is constantly criticized by human rights organizations. In the context of the difficult socio-economic situation in the country in conjunction with the clumsy and uncoordinated interaction of the Institute with other government agencies they realized a very limited number of projects that, according to the NGOs questioned the decision of the Roma issue in the short term. Many programs have been cut due to the transfer of the relevant authority in the course of administrative “downward” reform, as the local authorities are not very keen to develop programs unpopular with conservative voters.

Minor improvements have been made to provide sufficient funding for the National Council for Combating Discrimination.

No steps were taken to the real implementation of the existing 2005 “Code of Ethics and Conduct for police officers” in the fight against xenophobia and discrimination. At the moment there is no independent structure that investigates hate crime committed by police officers.

In addition, Romanian government is not conducting any statistical monitoring on hate crime.

In 2013, the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration initiated the study “Analysis of informal settlements in Romania - an analysis of the current situation in order to justify new rules and tools for intervention”. Implementation of several programs for Roma integration continued: a program on work of school mediators and medical intermediaries who use the Roma medical services program to vaccinate children, the program adaptation of Roma in the labor market (job fairs, retraining courses and subsidies for employers who hire Roma over 45 years of age). Authorities are carrying out a campaign to recruit members of ethnic minorities in the police, reserving space for them in various police academies. In 2012-2013 the police had taken 369 113 Hungarians and Roma.

Between 2006 and 2012, 936 police officers on the orders of the Ministry of Internal Affairs have been trained in the field of human rights; including preventing and combating all forms of discrimination.

Annually to finance programs and projects of minorities 16-18 million dollars are allocated. If in 2006 30 NGOs gave their support, in 2013 there were already 60.

In 2012/2013 academic year, 20 kindergartens and 12 preparatory schools had classes in Romani language.

In December 2014, it became known about the policy of the authorities of the commune of Filipestia de Tirgus on the integration of Roma through the improvement of infrastructure and the expansion of social services in their areas of residence.

The Government of Romania is a member of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research. The Government continued to implement the recommendations of the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania (Wiesel Commission) and to promote the study of the history of the Holocaust in school curricula. The history of the Holocaust has been included in the history courses in the 7th, 8th and 12th grades. The Government continued to support teacher training for history teachers on this subject in specialized training centers. In addition, the Ministry of Education has provided training materials and maintains a web site that is designed to provide guidance to teachers throughout the country. The Ministry is also the sponsor of the national and international seminars on the teaching of the history of the Holocaust.

In 2014, with the financial support of the EU, the NCCD launched the program "Enhancing anti-discriminatory measures at the national level through broad participation of specialists and civil society", designed for three years.

There are state-funded television programs in minority languages. Basically we are talking about programs in Hungarian and Romany languages, but the following also have their programs: Germans, Serbs, Turks, Ukrainians, Russian, Czechs and Slovaks, Bulgarians, Croats, Italians, Greeks, Armenians, Tatars.

A number of projects were conducted by NCCD and the Department for Interethnic Relations. So, there is a seminar on “Law and Equality” from March to December, which involved students of seven of the best schools in Romania, selected on a competitive basis. About 500 students were informed and came into contact with issues of diversity.

The project “Equality and non-discrimination” informs and educates youth on non-discrimination. The project involved students from 55 schools across the country send in their essays, drawings, stories. NCCD’s partner was the Christian “University of Dimitrie Cantemir”. The project was the conference “Ways to promote non-discrimination and equal opportunities in the Romanian society”. NCCD organized three summer schools for young professionals, teaching them about protection from discrimination. The courseswere attended by 500 people. In 147 schools “Youth debates” have been held on various issues, among them promoting tolerance and combating discrimination. In June 2013 in Bucharest a student conference “Multiculturalism and discrimination” was hosted, which was attended by 60 people. In September, a similar conference took place, which was attended by students of medical universities. In particular, it addressed the issue of respect for minorities and their right to health care.

In 2014, the project "Training in the field of combating discrimination, gender equality and the rights of persons with disabilities" was launched by the National Council for Combating Discrimination for the period May 1, 2014 - November 30, 2015. The project provides for the organization of three trainings with 600 participants.

National Institute of the Magistrate (NIM) provides training for judges in identifying racism as an aggravating circumstance.

On May 18, 2014 Romania held a grand opening of the Centre for Holocaust Studies. At the end of the reporting period, Romania has signed and ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (in 2003 an assumption was made that Romania will recognize the competence of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination only when dealing with complaints about violations of individuals rather than collective rights), the Convention on Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women, the Framework Convention for the protection of National Minorities, the European Charter of Regional Languages and Minority Languages, the Additional Protocol to the Convention on cybercrime, concerning the criminalization of acts of racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems , as well as the Protocol to paragraph 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

At the same time, Romania had not ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, as well as international and European Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and the European Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level.

On December 13th, 2013, the National Council for Audiovisuals fined the Television Society of Romania for showing anti-Semitic carols on channels TVR3 and TVR Cluj: a fine of 50 thousand ROL was imposed on carols, which insulting people of Jewish ethnicity.

On June 25th, 2013 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued a decision regarding the case of Roma Hadrian Kobzarev, who was killed by police in 2006. The Court ordered Romania to pay 30,000 euros in compensation for moral damage.

In January, 14, 2014, TVR cable network was fined for 15 thousand US dollars for broadcasting an anti-Semitic Christmas anthem.

On January 2014, National Council for Television and Radio Transmission fined B1TV for 2.2 EUR for journalist’s discriminatory statements against Moldovan citizens and Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca.

On February 8, 2014, National Council against Discrimination fined President of Romania Traian Basescu for 600 lev ($185) for his statement in 2012, where he called Roma spongers and thieves.

On June 27, 2014, Traian Basescu has lost a court action against the National Council for Combating Discrimination, which determined that his statements against the Roma were racist. As a result, the President of Romania is to pay a fine for his racist remarks.

On September 17, 2014, “Censorship Attack” was find 1000 lev. On September 24, NCCD fined Gandul newspaper 2000 lev for a false anti-Roma article.

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