Romania reports before the UN its “great achievements” on human rights

25.06.2013

Romania reports before the UN its “great achievements” on human rights

Bucharest, 25.06.2013

Within the 23rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, Romania reported on situations of human rights breaches in a manner which transmits the lack of any preoccupation of the Romanian state for the idea of effective protection of human rights coupled with an unacceptable lack of understanding of the topic. 

Romania’s delegation to Geneva, within the mechanism of the Universal Periodic Review of Romania[1] replied to criticisms brought by the Centre for Legal Resources.[2] The criticisms regarded the forced evictions of the most vulnerable Roma communities and their relocation by municipalities from Romania to areas which are dangerous from a health and environment perspective. The criticisms also regarded the statements of the then Minister of Foreign Affairs Baconschi who only received a recommendation from the National Council for Combating Discrimination (NCCD) for a press statement from 2010 when he associated Roma with criminality for physiological, natural reasons.[3]

To these criticisms, the Romanian state, wanting to demonstrate that Romania had an adequate reaction to these breaches of human rights, explained how municipalities which evacuated Roma to areas inadequate for human habitation received administrative fines (which they later on contested in court and many times won) and how the National Agency for Roma monitors the situations and gets involved in ever intended inclusion projects. On the idea to give the Minister of Foreign Affairs for statements worthy of the Nazi era only a recommendation, the Romanian state explained how, the NCCD, not being able to identify purpose, an element considered necessary to sanction, the recommendation to abstain from such statements in the future was considered enough.

That Romanian politicians in general, and the ones populating the local administrations in particular, consider that it is OK to move the Roma around anytime and anywhere as they see fit, and then to also contest the meagre fines they sometimes receive from the NCCD, we knew. That Romanian courts too many times back these authorities we also knew. That the National Agency for the Roma is useless in defending the Roma from abuses has become evident a long time ago. That Romanian politicians irresponsibly play the racist card before Romanians, in their majority vulnerable to racist propaganda, is, again, something we knew. We now also learnt that Romanian diplomacy believes, just like during communism (with the difference that back then things fell into a certain logic of the world order at that time) that this measure of the Romanian (ab)normality can be exposed, nonchalantly and pretending to have acted adequately, also abroad. Of course, diplomats do nothing else but transmit the position of the Romanian state.

Furthermore, the fact that Romania’s delegation declares before the UN Human Rights Council that, in order to sanction discrimination one needs purpose, shows that the Romanian state, through the NCCD, lacks not only a minimal understanding of what discrimination means but also a minimal historic culture to tell them that Hitler too was not aware that he was discriminating, quite to the contrary, he actually considered that what he was doing was the normal thing to do. We are left with only one question: the Romanian delegation gave such a reply, which has nothing to do with the seriousness of the deeds signalled, out of ignorance or acting based on ill faith? The former would be without purpose.

Contact persons: Delia Niţă, Anti-discrimination Programme Manager, Centre foe Legal Resources, +40729120383

Oana Mihalache, Coordinator of the Human Rights Department, Romani CRISS, +40755056622.

Note: More information on the participation and reactions of Romani CRISS and CLR at the UN Human Rights Council can be found at: http://www.crj.ro/EN/News/Briefing-The-Participation-of-Romani-CRISS-and-the-Centre-for-Legal-Resources-to-the-Human-Rights-Council-at-the-UN/


[1] Opening Remarks,HE. Ms. Maria Ciobanu, Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations, 24th Meeting, Item 6, Universal Periodic Review, Consideration of the outcome of Romania, available at:https://extranet.ohchr.org/sites/hrc/HRCSessions/RegularSessions/23rdSession/OralStatements/Romania_RO_24.pdf(anyone can register on the HRC Extranet website at:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/HRCRegistration.aspx) şi Webcast recording, Romania, UPR Report Consideration – 24th meeting, 23rd Regular Session of Human Rights Council, 6th Jun, 2013, Reports on the UPR of Romania A/HRC/23/5, A/HRC/23/5/Add 1 available at: http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/human-rights-council/watch/romania-upr-report-condsideration-24th-meeting-23rd-regular-session-of-human-rights-council/2437472944001 All links have been accessed at: 25.06.2013.

[2] Centre for Legal Resources, Press statement. The participation of the Centre for Legal Resources to the Universal Periodic Review of Romania at the UN, 01.02.2013, available at: http://www.crj.ro/en/the-participation-of-the-centre-for-legal-resources-to-the-universal-periodic-review-upr-of-romania-at-the-un/

[3] Press release, Diplomatic speech with racist content – Anti-discrimination organizations ask the minister Baconschi to resign, 16.02.2010, available at: http://www.crj.ro/en/diplomatic-speech-with-racist-content-antidiscrimination-organizations-ask-the-minister-baconschi-to-resign/

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