Annual Report: Romania 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Romania 2010

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Head of state Traian B?sescu
Head of government Emil Boc
Death penalty abolitionist for all crimes
Population 21.3 million
Life expectancy 72.5 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 20/15 per 1,000
Adult literacy 97.6 per cent

The results of the Senate's investigation into Romania's alleged involvement in the US-led renditions (unlawful transfers of terrorist suspects between countries) and secret detention programme remained classified. Government surveys demonstrated widespread discrimination against Roma by the majority population. Several cases of forced evictions of Roma were reported.

Background

A political crisis was triggered by an attempt to reform the pension system as one of the conditions of an International Monetary Fund loan, and Emil Boc's government was forced to resign in October. After the presidential elections, the president reappointed Emil Boc as the Prime Minister, and his new government was approved by the parliament in December. The Romanian Academic Society reported in November that the country's health system might be close to collapse in 2010.

A new Civil Code and Criminal Code were adopted in June. The Criminal Code introduced "aggravating circumstances" in cases of crimes perpetrated with discriminatory intent, and punished incitement to hatred or discrimination. However, these codes were not in force at the end of the year, as new procedural codes had not been adopted.

There was strong opposition by local NGOs to the content of the codes. The Association for the Defence of Human Rights in Romania - the Helsinki Committee (APADOR-CH) criticized, among other things, an Article in the procedural codes that seemed to allow the use of information gained through torture as evidence in criminal proceedings.

Counter-terror and security

The New York Times newspaper reported in August that a secret US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) prison had been constructed in Bucharest. The government denied this and emphasized that it cooperated with all the international commissions set up to investigate the allegations of the existence of CIA detention centres on their territory. The European Commission reacted with a repeated call for full, independent and impartial investigations to establish the truth.

In a response to a request by the APADOR-CH, the government confirmed that some CIA-operated aircraft took off and landed on Romanian territory, as had previously been identified by a Council of Europe report.

The report of the Senate commission of inquiry, which had investigated allegations in 2006 and 2007 regarding the existence of CIA detention centres in Romania and was adopted in 2008, remained classified.

Discrimination - Roma

There was widespread prejudice against Romani people among the majority population. Roma continued to experience discrimination in access to education, health care and housing, including lack of secure tenure. According to the government sponsored Inter-ethnic Barometer 2009, 55 per cent of the respondents believed that Roma should not be allowed to travel abroad as they damaged the reputation of the country and over 43 per cent agreed that they would not hire Roma because they regarded them as "lazy and thieving". The newspaper Jurnalul Na?ional called for a popular legislative initiative to enforce the term "?igan" instead of Roma. Romani and human rights NGOs expressed concerns about the negative connotations of the term "?igan". Cases of violence against Romani communities, including the destruction of properties, were reported.