Annual Report: Romania 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Romania 2013

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REPUBLIC OF ROMANIA

Head of state Traian Băsescu

Head of government Victor Ponta (replaced Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu)

Police were alleged to have used arbitrary and disproportionate force during anti-austerity and anti-government demonstrations. Local authorities in the towns of Baia Mare and Piatra Neamț carried out large-scale forced evictions of Roma. The European Parliament called on Romanian authorities to open a new investigation into their involvement in the CIA-led rendition and secret detention programmes.

Background

The government fell twice in 2012. Following weeks of protests against austerity measures, the cabinet of Emil Boc (Democratic Liberal Party) resigned in February. In April, after another wave of protests, the cabinet of the Prime Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu lost a vote of no-confidence. The President appointed an interim Prime Minister, Victor Ponta (Social Democratic Party), whose party then won the majority of the seats in the December parliamentary elections.

In a vote on impeachment, the Romanian parliament suspended the President in July. The vote followed allegations made by the government that the President had breached the Constitution. The subsequent referendum on the suspension was invalid due to a low turnout and the President remained in office.

In July, the European Commission expressed serious concerns over respect for the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Romania.

Excessive use of force

Incidents of violence between demonstrators and the police during the anti-government protests in January gave rise to allegations of excessive use of force by police officers. Media reports and video footage showed police using excessive force against seemingly peaceful demonstrators who were not offering any resistance. The NGO APADOR-Helsinki Committee documented several cases of abuses by the police during the demonstrations. It concluded that some of the law enforcement officers' actions had been arbitrary and disproportionate. In February, the Ministry of Administration and Interior stated that four criminal complaints relating to the behaviour of police officers during the demonstrations were being investigated. No charges had been brought by the end of the year.

Discrimination – Roma

Right to education

In October, the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe stated that Roma children were still being placed in schools for children with disabilities, in separate schools or in separate classrooms.

Housing rights

Local authorities continued to forcibly evict and relocate Roma to inadequate and segregated housing.