The following information is based on the Amnesty International Report 2021/22. This report documented the human rights situation in 149 countries in 2021, as well as providing global and regional analysis. It presents Amnesty International’s concerns and calls for action to governments and others. 


A statute of limitations on torture, among other crimes, was removed. NGOs raised concerns around the exercise of the rights to freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression. Healthcare workers demanded increased protection against Covid-19. The media exposed violent pushbacks of refugees and migrants at borders. Roma and LGBTI people continued to face systemic discrimination. An investigation into the unlawful CIA rendition and torture of Abd al-Rahim Al-Nashiri was closed.


In May, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) ruled that Romania must abide by pre-EU accession pledges to tackle corruption and meet EU benchmarks to ensure a fair legal system, including safeguards against political interference. In June, the European Commission (EC) reported a positive trend in relation to judicial reforms and the fight against corruption.

Freedom of expression, association and assembly

In June, dozens of civil society organizations wrote to the Minister of Justice expressing their wish to be fully involved in a government review of the regulatory framework for associations and foundations. They called for simplified procedures to be balanced with adequate safeguards against discretionary decisions that could threaten NGOs.

In August, Bucharest Pride’s organizers were fined after more than the permitted 500 people joined the march. The NGO Accept contested the fine arguing that Covid-19 restrictions on attendance were disproportionate. In July, NGOs had raised concerns that pandemic-related restrictions on protests were not similarly applied to sport, cultural, religious or family events.

Reporters investigating alleged irregularities and corruption in the use of public funds were questioned by the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism in May, after a mayor lodged a criminal complaint accusing them of organizing a criminal group and blackmail – both crimes punishable by up to five years in prison. NGOs warned that a dangerous precedent had been set, which could undermine the right to freedom of expression. Prosecutors closed the complaint against the reporters in June.

A draft law on the protection of whistle-blowers in the public interest – excluding whistle-blowers in private sector – remained pending in Parliament. The Ministry of Justice was criticized for overlooking several amendments proposed by NGOs, including on legal aid provision and the ability of whistle-blowers to report directly to the press.

Right to health

The Covid-19 pandemic put immense pressure on an already underfunded and overstretched health system. In March 2021, healthcare workers held demonstrations calling for an increased health budget, better protection from Covid-19, increased wages and lower retirement ages.

By end of the year, 40% of the population had been fully vaccinated and vaccine uptake had plateaued. Romania registered the highest rate of mortality due to Covid-19 in the region and one of the highest in the world.

Refugees’ and migrants’ rights

In October, an investigation by Lighthouse Reports exposed how authorities in Romania – as well as in other EU countries – had violently rounded up migrants and asylum seekers and summarily returned them to countries outside the EU.


Roma rights

In January, a new law criminalizing hate crimes against Roma came into force. Roma continued to experience harassment, in both online and public spheres, and to face discrimination, including segregation, in education, housing and employment.

LGBTI people’s rights

LGBTI people continued to face systemic discrimination. In January, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that Romania violated the rights of two transgender people by refusing to recognize their identities, on the basis that they had not undergone gender reassignment surgery. It considered that the legal framework was not clear and consistent in this area.

In June, the ECtHR ruled that authorities had failed in their duty to protect individuals from far-right militants who stormed an LGBTI film screening in October 2013 shouting threats and homophobic abuse.

In July, NGOs raised concerns that politicians intended to propose anti-LGBTI legislation. Same-sex marriage and partnership remained unrecognized. In September, the European Parliament asked the EC to address Romania’s failure to comply with a 2018 CJEU decision on the need to harmonize national legislation to guarantee freedom of movement and residence for same-sex couples.

Torture and other ill-treatment

In March, authorities closed an investigation into Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri’s unlawful rendition, secret detention and torture at a CIA black site in Romania. In 2018, the ECtHR had found that Romania hosted the secret facility and was complicit in Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri’s torture and enforced disappearance. Authorities continued in their refusal to acknowledge complicity or recognize the ECtHR judgment. Abd al-Rahim Al-Nashiri remained detained in Guantánamo Bay without trial and at risk of facing the death penalty.

Romania Newsroom

April 16, 2020 • Report

Mass protests in Europe provide hope as rights and judicial independence eroded

People’s rights are being violated by governments in Europe and Central Asia, who are cracking down on protests and seeking to erode the independence of the judiciary to avoid accountability, …

February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 25, 2015 • Report

State of the World 2014/2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

May 23, 2013 • Report

Annual Report: Romania 2013

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 …

June 23, 2011 • Report

Romania legal system condemning Roma to poor housing

The right to adequate housing is a human right that everyone is entitled to without discrimination. However, in Romania, the right to housing is not effectively recognized or protected by national legislation. This often leaves people without access to justice for the human rights violations that they experience. In this document Amnesty International calls on the Romanian government to amend the Housing Law to bring it in line with international and European human rights standards. Local authorities are urged to stop all forced evictions.

March 26, 2011 • Report

Europe: Open Secret: Mounting Evidence of Europe’s Complicity in Rendition and Secret Detention

Europe: Open Secret: Mounting Evidence of Europe’s Complicity in Rendition and Secret Detention Available in PDF only.

March 19, 2011 • Report

Annual Report: Romania 2010

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 …

September 14, 2018 • Press Release

Romania: Rights groups submit legal challenge against ‘homophobic’ referendum

A planned referendum to change the definition of family in Romania’s constitution could lead to a breach of international human rights standards and increase homophobic discrimination in the country, said Amnesty International as it …

June 28, 2016 • Press Release

CIA rendition victims challenge Romania and Lithuania at Europe’s human rights court

Hearings being held today at the European Court of Human Rights in two crucial cases against Romania and Lithuania for complicity in the CIA-led rendition and secret detention programs represent a milestone in accountability, said Amnesty International.

February 22, 2016 • Press Release

Amnesty International’s Annual State of the World Report Slams Governments, Including the U.S., for Global Assault on Freedoms

On the launch of its 2015 State of the World report, Amnesty International USA urged President Obama to use his last year in office to bring U.S. laws and policies in line with international human rights standards.