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Despite efforts to cooperate with international human rights system, minority groups in Romania continue to face discrimination
Tuesday, 29 January 2013 00:00

 

States have called on Romania to improve the situation of its minority groups, including Roma, sexual minorities, and persons with disabilities, during a review of its human rights record. The calls came as the delegation stressed the further steps it had taken to cooperate with the international human rights system.

Steps towards greater cooperation with the international human rights system

Since its first review under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Romania has ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), in compliance with recommendations it received from the international community. While many States participating in Romania’s second review on 22 January 2013, commended Romania for these actions, others repeated calls for Romania to ratify the Convention on Migrant Workers (Kuwait, Peru, Philippines, Belarus, and Chile) and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (Costa Rica, Argentina, and Kuwait).

 

 

Stressing the country’s efforts to cooperate fully with the international human rights system, Mr Bogdan Aurescu, Secretary of State, presenting Romania’s second UPR report, also noted that Romania was one of the few countries to produce a midterm update to the Human Rights Council on the progress it had made towards implementation of the recommendations it had received from the UPR.

 

Situation of minority groups

Despite the improvements to the legal framework, Romania received many recommendations relating to the situation of minority groups in the country. The most prevalent recommendation was for Romania to combat discrimination against the Roma minority. Over twenty countries, including the Republic of Korea, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Rwanda, recommended that Romania seek to better integrate the Roma minority, and to ensure their access to education, employment, and healthcare. The delegation responded that segregation has decreased significantly, and there are already measures in place aimed at bettering conditions of Roma children.

 

Recommendations were also received in relation to other minority groups, including persons with disabilities. Despite the ratification of CRPD States made recommendations that persons with disabilities have improved access to education (Austrian, Iran, Mexico, Slovakia) and to appropriate housing (Ireland).

 

The Netherlands and Belgium urged for improvements regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, including through undertaking awareness raising campaigns and ensuring discrimination is outlawed.

 

Other issues discussed

Another recurring recommendation was for Romania to enact more measures and legislation to combat trafficking. States called for stricter prosecution of the perpetrators, and more services for victims of trafficking.

 

The delegation responded that there are governmental bodies already working on eradicating the problem, there are high conviction rates, and as a result of different approaches to victim assistance, there is improved victim participation in trials.

 

Switzerland, Belarus, and France called for more investigations regarding Romania’s alleged participation in the rendition and secret detention programmes of the CIA. In his conclusion, Mr Aurescu asserted that a Parliamentary Inquiry Committee found no evidence that such prisons have ever existed in Romania or that the CIA used the country for transfer or detention of suspected terrorists.

 

Romania received a total of 157 recommendations. It did not give an immediate response to any of these recommendations, but will consider them all and provide its response to the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council, which is scheduled from 27 May to 14 June 2013.

 

Heather Collister is a Human Rights Officer and Carlen Zhang is an Intern with the International Service for Human Rights. To follow developments in the UPR and at the Human Rights Council as they happen, follow us on Twitter: @ISHRglobal.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 February 2013 12:02
 
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