Editorial

Amnesty Int. on Romania´s Roma rights

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Several black marks for Romania appear in Amnesty International’s Annual Report, published today (May 23). Discrimination against the Roma community and the failure to hold a full and open inquiry into the detention and torture of prisoners in the country under the CIA’s rendition program are among Amnesty’s complaints.

The Amnesty report also reminds of allegations last year of excessive use of force by Romanian police in anti-austerity protests and questions a parliamentary proposal from September 2012 to introduce mandatory counselling for pregnant women, which could impact women’s freedom to choose abortion, according to Amnesty International.

“Roma children were still being placed in schools for children with disabilities, in separate schools or in separate classrooms,” according to Amnesty International, quoting an investigation by the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe. The segregation of Roma children and the effective denial of access to education are given as significant contributing factors to the lower levels of education found among the Roma community compared with the average among the general Romanian population.

Forced evictions of Roma families are also referred to in Amnesty’s Annual Report, with the Pata Rat community in Cluj-Napoca highlighted. Around 76 mainly Roma families continue to live in inadequate conditions next to a rubbish dump after forced evictions in 2010. “The local authorities made a commitment to start moving them from the area in 2013 as part of a project developed with the UN Development Programme. However, details of the planned relocation remained vague.”

Several other Roma relocation issues are highlighted; including the quashing by the Court of Appeal of a National Council for Combating Discrimination (NCCD) decision to fine the Baia Mare authorities for building a large concrete wall to segregate the Roma population. Amnesty also reports that in August last year the Piatra Neamț municipality relocated around 500 Roma people to “completely segregated accommodation 2km away from the closest bus stop. The housing units had no electricity and the area lacked infrastructure such as street lights or an adequate access road.”

On the presence of secret CIA prisons in Romania, Amnesty International refers to last year’s European Parliament report calling on Romania, and all countries where there was evidence that illegal detention of prisoners occurred, “to comply with their absolute legal obligation to conduct an independent, impartial, thorough and effective investigation into their involvement in the rendition and secret detention programmes.”

Romania appeared to be one of the worst offenders, with claims that not only was the country used as a staging post by the CIA when moving prisoners around the world en route to Guantanamo Bay, but also as the site of a secret prison in which inmates were detained illegally and subjected to “enhanced interrogation” techniques, generally considered as torture. The European Court of Human Rights also communicated the case of al-Nashiri vs. Romania to the Romanian authorities. It is claimed that the Saudi national was detained and tortured in Romania.

Finally, the proposal for mandatory counseling for pregnant women, put forward in the Romanian parliament last year, could result in additional costs and longer waiting periods for women who want an abortion, according to Amnesty International.

At a European level, the Amnesty Annual Report slams the EU for being “unable to guarantee basic shelter and security for refugees in all its member states, nor equal rights for its six million Roma citizens.” The report also expresses concern over attempt to weaken the European Court of Human Rights made by EU Member States. “The European Court of Human Rights, for so long the jewel in the crown of Europe’s human rights protection system continued to be undermined by the refusal of member states to implement judgments and by attempts to reduce the scope of its authority.”

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Editorial

Romanian Mayor fined for Roma discrimination speach

Romanian Mayor fined for Roma discrimination speach

The mayor of Targu Mures, Romania, Mr Dorin Florea, was fined for discrimination. The fine was 4000 RON – 950 Euros.

The National Council for Combating Discrimination took action on some statements about the Roma community.

“What worried a lot was the primitive way of some of our citizens, mostly gypsies, who took their gypsies habits elsewhere. I will also be disturbed to find a group like them in front of my house. We have to admit this; we have to discipline them here at home through clear politics”.

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Editorial

A French MEP attacks Romania and Bulgaria on Roma issues

A French MEP attacks Romania and Bulgaria on Roma issues

Mr Pierre Lellouche, Member of the UMP (opposition party of former President Nicholas Sarkozy) made a speech the other day at the National Assembly, in which he attacked Romania and Bulgaria regarding the huge funds used for the integration of Roma.
Addressing to the French Interior Minister, Mr Manuel Valls, Lellouche said that France is “disarmed” facing the free movement of Romanians and Bulgarians.
“With the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the European Union in 2007, France is experiencing an influx of Roma population which increase day by day in huge proportions. Entire families, entire villages leaving their home country come and set on French territories,” said Lellouche.
According to the deputy of the opposition, there are currently 30,000 people who migrate from one camp to another, in France. They come to steal or prostitute themselves in order to earn money. On the other hand, no checks can be done on their right to stay for three months, and minors cannot be punished. France is powerless, “said the deputy.
Answering Mr Lellouche´s concern the French Interior Minister, Mr Manuel Valls said “The Roma issues, like other cases, we have inherited from the previous management (Mr Nicolas Sarkozy) because you have not managed to solve them.
The Roma issue is dealt with pragmatism and realism, we must respect the right to move and be firm at the same time, “said Manuel Valls.
Also Mr Valls reminded the cooperation between Romanian and French police, who had “positive results”.

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