COMMITTEE ON THE
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS
SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
262. At its 1096th
meeting, held on 16 March 1995, the Committee adopted the following concluding
263. The Committee
welcomes the report of the State party, which was drafted in general accordance
with the Committee's guidelines for the presentation of State party reports,
and the additional material and oral information provided by the delegation.
264. The Committee
expresses regret, however, that some additional answers provided did not
fully address many of the questions posed by the Committee during the consideration
of the report. In particular, the information given only orally on the agreement
between Romania and Germany on the transfer of Sinti and Roma is insufficient.
In this regard, the Committee invites the Government to submit in its next
report information on the points raised in the present concluding observations
and on any remaining questions posed during the consideration of the present
report. Given the short time remaining until the next report is due in October
1995, the Committee considers that that report should be a brief but complete
update of the situation surrounding the rights protected in the Convention
and that the following report, to be submitted in October 1997, should comprehensively
address the situation regarding all of the articles contained therein.
265. The Committee
expresses appreciation for the invitation extended by the delegation to
visit Romania and to undertake direct consultations on the human rights
situation with the competent authorities.
and difficulties impeding the application of the Convention
266. With Romania's
history of authoritarian rule, which has severely impeded the enjoyment
of many human rights in the State party, it is understood that the establishment
and practical application of a new democratic and non-discriminatory political,
economic and social framework is a difficult and time-consuming process.
267. Romania has
also made progress in dismantling or revising the legal framework established
during the period of authoritarian rule, particularly the Penal Code; it
encourages democracy and openness in Romanian society and brings the legal
codes closer in line with international human rights instruments, including
the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The establishment of national human rights institutions is also noted, including
the Council for National Minorities, the Centre for European Studies of
Ethnic Problems, the Romanian Human Rights Institute, and the office of
an Ombudsman to be exclusively concerned with the defence of human rights
and freedoms. It is noted that these actions conform with General Recommendation
XVII on the establishment of national human rights institutions.
the Government's new policy directions regarding minorities, note is taken
of the Government's intention to preserve the ethnic, linguistic, cultural
and religious identity of minorities and to protect them against attempts
at forced assimilation, exclusion or segregation, as expressed in the Declaration
on National Minorities of 20 November 1991. The increasing political participation
of minority groups in Romania, both at the national and local levels, is
is expressed with the Government's efforts to raise awareness of international
human rights standards through civic instruction in the schools and through
human rights training programmes initiated in cooperation with international
human rights organizations, including the United Nations Centre for Human
Rights. The legal provisions that prohibit speech which encourages racism
or incites violence are also believed to be constructive.
subjects of concern
270. Concern is
expressed as to the continued prevalence of xenophobic attitudes and traditional
prejudices in Romanian society against certain minorities, manifested in
the appearance of extremist political parties and increasing acts of violence.
271. Concern is
also expressed about the concept of the nation-State since it may result
in weakening the policy of protecting minorities and could aggravate the
relations between communities.
272. While it is
noted that Romania's new legal framework prohibits manifestations of racism,
including acts of violence, the propagation of racist speech, and discriminatory
employment practices, the extent to which measures are being taken by the
Government to translate the legal prohibition of such acts into effective
prohibition is unclear. Once such acts occur, it is not evident what remedies
are available to victims and whether and how it is ensured that the guilty
parties are prosecuted in an adequate and timely manner. It is noted in
this connection that with regard to the violence on 20 September 1993 which
resulted in the death of three members of the Roma and the destruction of
the homes of 170 others, victims have yet to receive compensation or have
their homes reconstructed.
273. Concern is
expressed at the continuing reports of racism among police forces, which
have been said to occasionally use excessive force against members of certain
groups or, alternatively, are said not to take action when acts of violence
against certain groups are committed in their presence.
274. The Committee
recommends that the Government include in its next report information regarding
the legal force of the Convention in Romania, especially enforcement of
article 4, whether it may be directly invoked by victims of racism, and
whether any such cases have been tried before the courts (and if so, what
was the outcome of those cases). If codification into Romanian law is required
before the Convention may be directly invoked, information is requested
regarding the status of codification of the Convention. Information on the
legal force of the Declaration on National Minorities of 20 November 1991
is also requested.
275. The Committee
recommends that further information on the Law on Minorities be provided
in the next report. It should contain the legal definition of "minorities",
information on each of the ethnic groups listed in the present report (para.
16), and whether any special programmes are being implemented or are envisioned
to improve the situation of the minorities identified, particularly the
most vulnerable groups. The Committee further recommends that the Government
systematically collect data on foreigners residing in Romania and take steps
to ensure that they are not subjected to harassment or other acts of racism
276. The Committee
invites the Government to provide in its next report information regarding
the agreement signed with Germany on the repatriation of Sinti and Roma,
specifically as to how many persons are affected, which ethnic groups they
belong to, and what measures are being taken to facilitate their reintegration
into the repatriated country.
277. The Committee
recommends that the Government engage in a public campaign, conducted through
the media, the schools and other means at the disposal of the Government,
to familiarize the public with the Convention, to attempt to change traditional
prejudices against minorities, and to convey messages of tolerance. In this
regard, the Government should continue to provide instruction on international
human rights standards and norms in the schools and organize periodic training
programmes for persons engaged in the administration of justice, including
judges, police officers and lawyers.
278. The Committee
recommends that the Government review and improve the training of law enforcement
officials in the light of the Committee's general recommendation XIII.