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TITLE:  ROMANIA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                            
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


Romania is a constitutional republic with a multiparty 
parliamentary system.  In the 1992 presidential election, Ion 
Iliescu was reelected President with 61 percent of the popular 
vote.  In November 1992, President Iliescu's designee for Prime 
Minister, economist Nicolae Vacaroiu, won a vote of confidence 
with a government composed of technocrats and members of the 
Party of Social Democracy of Romania (PDSR), formerly the 
Democratic National Salvation Front.  

Romania continued to struggle in 1993 with the political, 
economic, and social pressures produced by its transition from 
a totalitarian state with a centralized economy to a democratic 
system of government with a free market economy.  These 
pressures contributed to ethnic tensions, social unrest 
resulting from rising unemployment and inflation, and an 
increase in crime. 

The Ministry of Internal Affairs supervises the police, who are 
charged with maintaining law and order.  There were credible 
reports of police abuse of detainees and prisoners in 1993 (see 
Sections 1.a and 1.c).  The 1992 law governing the Romanian 
Intelligence Service (SRI) establishes oversight through a 
parliamentary joint committee, created in June 1993.  The law 
allows the SRI to justify otherwise prohibited actions on 
broadly defined national security grounds.  There were no 
substantiated reports of human rights abuses by the SRI in 
1993, and allegations of surveillance or harassment of 
political activists decreased in 1993.  

The transition to a market economy continued to be painful and 
slow.  However, after 4 years of continuing economic decline, 
there were signs that the rate of decline had slowed.  The 
process of privatizing small and medium-size state enterprises 
continued on a modest scale.  According to government 
estimates, the private sector now contributes between 15 and 25 
percent of the gross domestic product and more than 40 percent 
of retail sales.  Some 80 percent of arable land is now in the 
hands of private farmers, although the plots average only 3.9 
acres, and clear titles have been issued to less than a fifth 
of successful claimants.  Unemployment hovers near 10 percent, 
with inflation in the range of 300 percent by year's end.

Romania continued efforts to move from its authoritarian past 
to a democratic system.  In a significant move to deal with 
minority issues and problems, the Government established a 
consultative Council for National Minorities to serve as a 
forum for the discussion of minority issues and problems and to 
make recommendations to the Government.  Headed by the 
Secretary General of the Government, the Council is composed of 
representatives from all 16 officially recognized minorities 
and 12 government ministries.  It made several recommendations 
on the resolution of specific issues, which remain before the 
Government for final approval.  However, on August 31, the 
Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) withdrew its 
representatives from the Council on the grounds that it had yet 
to achieve concrete results.

Discrimination against Roma (Gypsies) continued, and there were 
complaints of discrimination against ethnic Hungarians.  One 
instance of mob violence against Roma resulted in the deaths of 
three Roma.  The Government quickly condemned the violence and 
took disciplinary actions against police for their passivity.  
Government money allocated to assist the victims had not yet 
been disbursed at year's end.  Societal discrimination and 
violence against women remain a problem.  Press and radio 
continued to operate free of political pressure, but there was 
concern about the independence of state-owned television, the 
primary broadcast medium.  


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reported political or other extrajudicial 
killings in 1993.  There were credible accounts of police 
brutality contributing to the death of at least two detainees.  
A police officer was arrested for abusive treatment following 
the death of a beggar who had been beaten.  The General 
Prosecutor was investigating the death of an arrestee in 
Dorohoi who died, ostensibly of heart failure, after a week in 
police custody.  

     b.  Disappearance

No instances of disappearance were reported in 1993.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

The Constitution prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading 
punishment or treatment.  However, Helsinki Watch reported in 
January 1993 that the beating of detainees during arrest or 
when first taken to police stations was widespread.  Romanian 
human rights organizations corroborated these reports.  The 
office of the military prosecutor, responsible for legal 
oversight of the police, has investigated a number of these 
cases, usually without result.  A human rights organization was 
told by the prosecutor's office that nearly 20 police officers 
are awaiting trial for violent treatment of detainees.  

Several human rights organizations reported abuses in Romanian 
prisons, including overcrowding and reliance on a cell boss 
system, which one group termed "inherently abusive."  The use 
of leg irons seems to have continued in some prisons, despite a 
1992 government order banning their use on pretrial detainees. 

There were credible reports that in several instances police 
beat detainees charged with committing homosexual acts, illegal 
under Article 200 of the Romanian Penal Code, to force them to 
confess to this crime.  Allegedly fearful of retaliation, such 
detainees have not filed charges against police.  The Foreign 
Ministry Office of Human Rights contends that allegations of 
abusive investigations have proved baseless.

The number of instances in which policemen were fined or 
imprisoned for misconduct was minimal in 1993, in part due to 
the failure of military prosecutors to conduct thorough 
investigations (see Section 1.d.).

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Romanian law forbids the detention of anyone by police for more 
than 24 hours without an arrest order from a prosecutor, who 
may order detention for 30 days.  Detainees have the right to 
apply for bail and may ask for a hearing before a judge.  The 
case must be heard within 24 hours of such a request.  (In the 
absence of a request, however, a person may be held for up to 
65 days without a court order, and it is clear that many 
citizens are not adequately informed of their rights in this 
regard.)  The Government is liable for damages to persons held 
in violation of these provisions. 

The authorities are required to inform an arrestee of the 
charges.  He or she also has the right to have an attorney 
present at all stages of the legal process, and police must 
notify the defendant of this right, in a language the defendant 
understands, before obtaining any statement from the arrestee.  
However, the prosecutor's office may delay action on a request 
for a lawyer for up to 5 days from the date of arrest.  The 
local bar association provides attorneys to indigents and is 
compensated by the Ministry of Justice.  The Government 
acknowledges that the police sometimes failed to inform 
arrestees of their right to counsel in a timely manner.

Exile was not used as a means of punishment in 1993.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The 1992 law on the reorganization of the judiciary, which 
officially took effect on July 1, 1993, provides for the 
establishment of a four-tiered legal system, including the 
reestablishment of appellate courts, which ceased to exist 
under Communist rule in 1952.  The final recourse is to the 
Supreme Court or, for constitutional matters, to the 
Constitutional Court, established in 1992.  

The provisions concerning the reestablishment of appellate 
courts were not implemented in 1993 because of insufficient 
personnel and material resources, according to government 
officials.  The shortage of lawyers willing to work for the 
Justice Ministry and to fill positions in the new courts 
mandated by the law was exacerbated by the fact that private 
practice is much more lucrative.  

Cases involving military personnel, criminal acts against the 
State (including treason and espionage cases), and acts 
committed by police (considered to be military personnel) are 
tried in a three-tiered military court system.  This system 
draws criticism from local and international human rights 
groups, especially regarding investigations conducted by the 
military prosecutor's office against police personnel accused 
of abuses.  They claim these investigations are unnecessarily 
lengthy and often purposefully inconclusive.

Under the Constitution, the Ministry of Justice controls the 
selection and promotion of judges.  The Constitution and the 
1992 law authorize life tenure for judges, who are appointed by 
the President upon recommendation from a panel of judges and 
prosecutors selected by Parliament.  The panel, comprised of 10 
judges and 5 prosecutors, together with the Justice Minister, 
has broad disciplinary authority over judges.  

The Constitutional Court, six of whose members are chosen by 
Parliament and three by the President, has judicial 
responsibility for constitutional issues, but its decisions on 
the constitutionality of laws may be overridden by a two-thirds 
vote of both chambers of Parliament.  

Under the terms of the 1992 law, the courts are independent of 
the executive branch.  On July 14, however, 2 weeks after the 
provisions on accountability went into effect, the Minister of 
Justice relieved the president of the Bucharest municipal 
court, Corneliu Turianu, of his duties, allegedly for 
"politicizing the judiciary."  Although the terms of the law 
did not apply to Turianu, since he had not been appointed by 
the President, the media and human rights groups criticized 
this action as politically motivated.  Some labor unions 
alleged that the courts tend to side with the Government when 
they rule on the legality of strikes and other labor actions.

The Prosecutor General is appointed by the President and is 
responsible for the administration of the law, as well as for 
criminal prosecutions.  The Prosecutor General, who reports to 
the Minister of Justice, appoints local prosecutors throughout 
the country.  A civilian was named to the post of Prosecutor 
General in May following a recommendation from the Council of 
Europe that members of the armed forces not hold this office.  

Defendants benefit from a presumption of innocence.  The 
Criminal Code requires that, if a defendant cannot afford legal 
representation or is otherwise unable to select counsel, an 
attorney will be appointed for him.  Either plaintiff or 
defendant may appeal.  In practice, these provisions of the law 
were respected.

There were no known political prisoners in 1993.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

The Constitution provides for legal protection against the 
search of a residence without a warrant, but this protection is 
subordinate to "national security or public order."  The 
National Security Law of July 29, 1992, defines national 
security very broadly and lists as threats to national security 
not only crimes such as terrorism, treason, espionage, 
assassination, and armed insurrection but also totalitarian, 
racist, and anti-Semitic actions or attempts to change the 
existing national borders.  Entry into residences without prior 
authorization from a prosecutor is possible if a threat to 
national security is "imminent."

The Constitution states that the privacy of legal means of 
communication is inviolable.  While the SRI is legally 
prohibited from engaging in political acts, e.g., monitoring 
the communications of a political party, the laws on national 
security allow it to engage in such monitoring on national 
security grounds.  Similarly, although the SRI is required to 
obtain a warrant from a prosecutor to carry out intelligence 
activities involving "threats to national security," it may 
engage in a wide variety of operations, including "technical 
operations," in order to determine if a situation meets the 
legal definition of a "threat to national security."

In 1993 there appeared to be little arbitrary interference with 
individual citizens' rights to privacy; however, a few 
nongovernmental organizations (NGO's) claimed to have had their 
mail opened or their phones tapped.  They attributed these 
alleged actions to current or former employees of Romanian 
intelligence services.

The Government took some measures to investigate reports of 
continuing abuses.  In the summer of 1993, for example, the 
Prosecutor General's office began an investigation of the 
Hunedoara branch of the SRI for illegal wiretapping.  In early 
1993, the mass circulation, sensationalist daily Evenimentul 
Zilei, claimed it had detected the presence of bugging devices 
in its offices, as well as in the offices of several prominent 
organizations and political parties.  Police examined the 
premises and found no such devices.  

The legacy of abuses carried out by the Communist-era internal 
intelligence service, the Securitate, heightens sensitivity to 
potential misconduct by the security services .  The 1992 law 
governing the SRI addresses some past abuses.  It provides for 
the establishment of a parliamentary joint committee to oversee 
the SRI, which came into being through legislative action on 
June 17.  The committee has the power to approve the 
appointment and tenure of the SRI director, as well as to 
dismiss him; however, it does not have full budgetary control 
over the SRI.  In October the committee approved the formal 
appointment of current SRI director Virgil Magureanu.  
Parliament in joint session debated the annual SRI report.  The 
SRI law prohibits the SRI from hiring most former Securitate 
officers.  Parliament turned over the old Securitate files to 
the SRI to be kept within its own archives for 40 years, after 
which they will become public.  The SRI director controls 
access to them.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Article 30 of the Constitution provides for freedom of 
expression and prohibits censorship.  Romanians generally are 
free to express any opinions they wish.  However, the same 
article qualifies freedom of expression by prohibiting 
"defamation of the country."  While this provision could be 
construed to restrict criticism of the Government, in practice 
this did not occur in 1993.

In 1993 the press was free of state censorship or interference 
and published a wide variety of opinions, although some 
publishers accused the Government of manipulating the price and 
supply of newsprint to the detriment of opposition newspapers.  
Libel law is vague and potentially subject to abuse, 
particularly if the full Parliament should approve a Senate 
measure that would provide criminal penalties, including jail 
terms of from 3 months to 3 years, for published or broadcast 
"insult and calumny."

The League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADO), a Romanian 
human rights organization, reported that Lucia Hossu-Longin, 
director of a powerful television documentary series called 
"The Memorial of Pain," received death threats from unknown 
sources.  Her work focuses on the abuses of communism, 
especially on political prisoners and forced collectivization.  
Critics have called for legal action against Hossu-Longin for 
"inciting national hatred."  However, no such action was taken.

Doina Cornea, an internationally known Romanian human rights 
monitor, received a summons to report to the Prosecutor 
General's office in Bucharest on February 8 to answer 
allegations that she had attempted to undermine the State when 
she called on the people to take action against the Government 
during the September 1991 miners' incursion into Bucharest.  
The President and Government publicly deplored the issuance of 
the summons.  The Prosecutor General's office represented the 
incident as a mistake, withdrew the summons, and sent a junior 
prosecutor to interview her at her home in Cluj.  This visit 
ended the affair, and no charges were brought against her.  
However, Cornea and others described the original issuance of 
the summons as a warning to all dissidents and as an attempt to 
intimidate Cornea in particular.

Mihaela Germina Nicolae was accused of shouting obscene slogans 
at President Iliescu when he visited the city of Cluj in June 
1992.  Charged under Law 61 of 1991, which makes it an offense 
to use vulgar or insulting language when referring to public 
personalities, and also charged with holding an illegal 
counterdemonstration, she was acquitted on both counts.  

Romanian State Television (RTV) remained the only domestic 
television broadcaster with nationwide facilities.  Although 
the Government does not directly control RTV, its director, 
appointed by the President, has been accused of using the 
facility to support the Government and its program.  The 
director resigned under pressure on January 10, 1994.  The 
National Union of Theater Professionals protested the 
director's decision to prohibit a television production on the 
grounds that it cast unfavorable light on Romania's image 
abroad.  RTV's first channel reaches the entire country, while 
its second extends to about 30 percent of the population.  
Unlike the press or radio, Channel 1 was subject to both subtle 
and overt political pressures, which at times resulted in 
unbalanced news programs and occasional instances of censorship 
and harassment of reporters.  Channel 2 transmits in full each 
evening the nightly news broadcasts of Moldovan television and 
two Western European networks (in their original languages).  
Channel 2 also carries approximately 60 hours of programming 
weekly by the independent Romanian SOTI station.

Private broadcasting was in a state of flux, following passage 
of an audiovisual law in 1992.  The law created an 11-person 
National Audiovisual Council (NAC), which began issuing 
licenses to private television and radio broadcasters in 
November of that year.  The official criteria for allocating 
licenses include programming quality and diversity and 
political and cultural pluralism, as well as technical and 
financial standards.  The Council was accused of ignoring its 
own criteria in several early decisions (for example, favoring 
a station that now broadcasts 20 hours of CNN daily over those 
with a more local focus).  By September 1993, the NAC had 
issued more than 40 television licenses, and 14 stations were 
already broadcasting.  However, the Ministry of 
Telecommunications limited private television stations to low 
power and a restricted broadcast range.  Most of these use 
state-owned transmitters during the off-hours when the public 
network is not broadcasting.  The NAC has also granted licenses 
to about 200 cable companies.  An estimated 200,000 private 
satellite dishes capable of picking up foreign broadcasts had 
been installed by 1993.  

State-owned radio operates three nationwide programs which are 
considered to be the country's most reputable information 
media.  By September 1993, the NAC had issued 82 licenses to 
independent radio stations, of which 29 were already 
broadcasting.  The new stations featured mostly popular music, 
but several also carried foreign news bulletins in Romanian.

Foreign publications are freely imported and distributed, 
although their high cost limits their circulation.  Academic 
liberty, in terms of freedom of expression both within and 
outside the classroom, is respected.  

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for freedom of assembly.  In 
addition, the law on public assembly provides for the right of 
Romanians to assemble peacefully while unarmed and states that 
meetings must not interfere with other economic or social 
activities.  Meetings also may not be held near locations such 
as hospitals, airports, or military installations.

Organizers of demonstrations must inform local authorities and 
police before the event.  The authorities may forbid a public 
gathering by notifying the organizers in writing within 48 
hours of receipt of the request to hold it.  The law prohibits 
the organization of or participation in a counterdemonstration 
held at the same time as a scheduled public gathering.  Sorin 
Eduard Titei was sentenced to 333 days in jail by a local court 
for violating this prohibition, but due to legal irregularities 
Titei filed an extraordinary appeal, and all charges were 
subsequently dropped.  

Public gatherings to espouse Communist, racist, or Fascist 
ideologies or to commit actions contrary to public order or 
national security are forbidden.  Unauthorized demonstrations 
or other violations of this law are punishable by imprisonment 
and fines.  Constitutional provisions and laws on free assembly 
were generally respected in 1993.  

Romanians participated in numerous rallies in support of a 
broad spectrum of organizations, including trade unions, 
opposition parties, and minority groups, in 1993.  Romanians 
may form associations, including political parties, and may 
obtain legal status for them by proving membership of at least 
251 persons.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The Constitution provides for religious freedom, and the 
Government does not impede the observance of religious belief.

There are 15 religions, officially recognized under a 1948 
decree, whose clergy may receive state financial support.  
Another 120 faiths and denominations have received licenses 
from the State Secretariat for Religious Affairs under a 1930's 
law on clubs and associations, entitling them to juridical 
status as well as to exemptions from income and customs taxes.  
The Romanian Orthodox Church, of which approximately 86 percent 
of the population are at least nominal members, is 
predominant.  Approval of new applications for official 
registration is very slow due to bureaucratic problems.  An 
application by the Mormon church was approved in 1993.  At 
year's end, Parliament was still considering draft legislation 
on religion which was first introduced in 1990.

The dispute between the Byzantine-rite Catholic (or Uniate) 
Church, dissolved by the Government in 1948 and restored in 
1990, and the Romanian Orthodox Church over restitution of the 
physical assets of the former remained unresolved in 1993.  The 
Uniates claimed the State favored the Orthodox Church on the 
property issues in dispute.  

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The Government places no restrictions on travel within Romania, 
except in the case of certain small areas used for military 
purposes, nor do Romanian citizens who wish to change their 
places of work or residence face any official barriers.  
Romanian law stipulates that Romanian citizens have the right 
to travel freely abroad, to emigrate, and to return to 
Romania.  In practice, Romanian citizens travel freely both 
within and outside the country, and the right to emigrate and 
to return is respected.

In 1993 approximately 30,000 Romanian citizens whose requests 
for refugee status had been rejected were returned from Germany 
under the terms of a 1992 bilateral agreement.  According to 
German government statistics, 40 percent of those returned are 
ethnic Roma.  They received little or no resettlement 
assistance.  Reintegration is complicated by various types of 
discrimination against Roma (see Section 5). 

In 1991 Romania signed the 1951 Convention Relating to the 
Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol but still does not 
have legislation or an effective program to implement the 
Convention.  In 1993 the Government was extremely backlogged in 
its procedures for ensuring asylum applicants even temporary 
legal status until their cases could be processed.  
Approximately 10 percent of the 1,172 registered asylum 
applicants were housed in camps under inadequate conditions, 
while others were left to fend for themselves, as they all 
awaited decisions from the Romanian Commission for Migration.  
The wait has been over a year in many cases.  It appears that 
Romanian officials are just beginning to establish a standard 
procedure for refugee processing.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Citizens have the right to change their government.  Despite 
some allegations of fraud and various procedural irregularities,
most international observer groups considered that the 1992 
parliamentary and presidential elections met international 
standards of freedom and fairness.  Opposition groups currently 
have 47 percent of the seats in Parliament.

The Constitution and electoral legislation grant each 
recognized ethnic minority political party one representative 
in Parliament's Chamber of Deputies, provided that the party 
obtain at least 5 percent of the average number of valid votes 
needed to elect a deputy outright (only some 1,100 votes in the 
September elections).  Parties representing 13 minority groups 
elected deputies under this provision in 1992.  The Hungarians, 
represented by the UDMR, obtained 27 seats in the Chamber 
through the normal electoral process.  Roma (Gypsies) are 
underrepresented in Parliament, partly due to their low turnout 
and to divisions within the Roma community which work against 
the consolidation of votes for one candidate.  

There are no legal restrictions on the participation of women 
in government or politics.  However, there are only a few women 
in Parliament and none in the current Cabinet, a situation that 
reflects prevailing social attitudes.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Domestic human rights monitoring groups that were formed after 
December 1989 include the League for the Defense of Human 
Rights (LADO), the Pro-Democracy Association, local chapters of 
Helsinki Watch and the Helsinki Committee, the Independent 
Romanian Society for Human Rights, the Romanian Institute for 
Human Rights, and the Association of Former Political 
Prisoners.  Other groups, including political parties and trade 
unions, also have human rights sections that monitor human 
rights observance.

These groups and international human rights organizations were 
able to function freely without government interference.  
International groups were free to meet with Romanian human 
rights organizations and were able to meet with detained and 
arrested persons and to visit prisons.

The Constitution mandates an Office of the People's Advocate, 
an ombudsman with responsibility to "defend the rights and 
liberties" of Romanians.  The People's Advocate has no legal 
authority to redress grievances but, in reports to Parliament, 
may provide recommendations regarding legislation or other 
measures for the protection of the rights and liberties of 
citizens.  Legislation implementing this position was not 
completed by the end of 1993.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

The Constitution forbids any discrimination on account of race, 
nationality, ethnic origin, language, religion, sex, opinion 
and political allegiance, wealth, or social background.  It 
also states that citizens are equal before the law and public 
authorities.  The Government has frequently stated that its 
policy is to guarantee and protect the rights of all citizens, 
regardless of ethnic, cultural, or religious background.  In 
practice, however, Roma and other minorities are subject to 
various forms of extralegal discrimination.  There are 
approximately 22 ethnic minority groups in Romania, 
representing 10 to 12 percent of the population.


Legally, women are accorded the same rights and privileges as 
men in all areas, including education, access to employment, 
and wages.  However, in a difficult economic climate and in a 
society where traditionally the economic role of women has been 
considered less important than that of men, women are often the 
first to be dismissed from employment.  There are few women in 
positions of importance in government or industry.  Women's 
issues receive little attention or resources from the 

A few cases of on-the-job sexual harassment were reported in 
the press.  In most of these cases, male superiors extorted 
sexual favors from women as a condition of continued employment 
or with the promise of career advancement.  One renowned 
allegation led to the resignation of the Minister of Culture 
after a Senate committee concluded from its investigation that 
his "confused behavior" during the night in question harmed the 
interests of the Ministry, although the committee did not make 
a determination on the charge of sexual harassment.  There is 
currently no specific law to cover sexual harassment, nor is 
there any organization that defends women's rights in this 

There is little official initiative on issues affecting women, 
including family planning, crimes against women, and domestic 
violence.  Violent crimes against women were reported with 
increasing frequency during the year.  According to Ministry of 
Interior statistics, 1,065 rapes were committed in Romania in 
1992, and 670 in the first 6 months of 1993.  For the most 
part, women do not report rape.  The rape victim receives 
little sympathy from the community.  Bringing a case of rape to 
trial is very difficult.  The woman's claim that she was raped 
is not sufficient evidence, even if she is able to identify the 
perpetrator.  Witnesses are required.  

There are no statistics available on the incidence of domestic 
violence, although the director of LADO reported that over 60 
percent of their cases were brought by women who wanted to 
document beatings for their divorce hearing.  


The Government has increased its attention to the problem of 
children, including by establishing a new program for street 
children and by improving conditions for children in 
institutions.  The manpower and resources for these projects 
continue to flow mainly from international agencies and 
nongovernmental organizations.  Domestic resources for these 
children remain few.  Orphanage conditions, grossly neglected 
under the Ceausescu regime, have improved.  A Council of Europe 
commission, assigned to evaluate the conditions in Romania's 
orphanages, found that conditions in the majority were in line 
with average Romanian living standards and that 15 percent were 
substandard.  The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) held 
several seminars during the year to sensitize Romanians to the 
issue of children's rights, using the United Nations charter on 
children's rights as a standard.

A new law on the abandonment of children, adopted on July 8, 
requires orphanage directors to notify child welfare 
authorities or the local court if an institutionalized child's 
parents demonstrate an "obvious lack of interest" (not 
precisely defined) in the child for a period of more than 6 
months.  The court then makes a determination as to whether or 
not the child has been abandoned.  If the court finds that the 
child has indeed been abandoned, the child's name is given to 
the Romanian adoption committee as a candidate for adoption.  
Family members have the right to appeal the court's decision 
until the child is adopted.  

There was no apparent pattern of societal abuse against 
children in 1993.  Nevertheless, there were numbers of 
impoverished and apparently homeless street children in the 
larger cities.  No statistics concerning this problem are 
currently available.  A new department of the Ministry of Youth 
and Sports was set up to assist NGO's already working on this 
problem, but resources are limited.  Romanian youth 
organizations remained concerned about the impact of 
deteriorating economic conditions, which contributed to the 
rise in juvenile delinquency and vandalism.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities:

The Government created a consultative Council for National 
Minorities in April.  Its purpose is to provide a forum for 
dialog between the Government and all official minorities and 
to make recommendations to the Government regarding minority 
issues.  Headed by the Secretary General to the Government, the 
Council is comprised of 60 delegates:  48 representing the 16 
officially recognized minorities and 12 representing various 
ministries.  These 12 ministries together are entitled to only 
1 vote, while each minority also has 1 vote.  Decisions require 
a two-thirds majority and may be vetoed by the government 
representatives or by the representatives of any minority 
directly affected.  If veto power is not exercised, Council 
decisions are referred to the Government for approval or 

In the area of Romanian-Hungarian ethnic relations, the Council 
on August 18 adopted a recommendation to require the use of 
bilingual or multilingual signs in localities where a minority 
represented more than 10 percent of the population.  (The 
Government was given the option of altering the percentage in 
question to 20 or 30.)  The Council also adopted a proposal to 
allow schoolchildren in grades one through four to receive 
instruction in history and geography, in addition to all other 
subjects, in their mother tongue, and agreed to provide 300 
places for ethnic Hungarian-teaching students at Babes-Bolyai 
University in Cluj.  The Minister of Education had implemented 
the third proposal, but as of October the Government had not 
yet acted on the first two, due in part to vociferous public 
objections (including the threatened introduction of a no 
confidence motion in Parliament) by the nationalist parties.  
On August 31, the delegates of the Hungarian Democratic Union 
of Romania (UDMR) withdrew from the Council, claiming that it 
had failed to make any substantive progress and characterizing 
it as a "sterile club."  

Roma (Gypsies), estimates of whose numbers in Romania range 
from 427,000 (according to the 1992 census) to 3 million 
(according to some Roma representatives), continued to suffer 
many forms of discrimination which the Government is often 
unable to prevent or unwilling to redress.  The Ministry of 
Education has instituted a pilot program to train Roma teachers 
to provide mother-tongue instruction to Roma children in an 
effort to keep such children in school.  

Since the revolution of December 1989, a number of incidents 
have sparked "vigilante-style" attacks against Roma 
communities.  One such incident in 1993 occurred in the village 
of Hadareni, Mures county, on September 20.  An argument broke 
out in the street between a Roma and an ethnic Romanian, 
culminating in the fatal stabbing of the Romanian.  The Roma 
and his brother fled for refuge to a Roma home.  An angry crowd 
of villagers forced the two men out of the house and beat them 
fatally.  Other Roma houses were set afire, and one other Roma 
died in the flames.  Police officers and the fire department 
intervened late and ineffectively.

In reaction to this incident, the Government for the first time 
issued a strong statement condemning all such "antisocial" acts 
and warning that vigilantism was intolerable.  The Government 
pledged to punish the guilty, irrespective of ethnicity.  It 
acknowledged that Roma faced special problems, promised to 
develop adequate social integration programs, and pledged to 
use government funds to rebuild the destroyed homes and care 
for the displaced children in the meantime.  Investigations 
were begun immediately by the police and prosecutor's office.  
The commander of the county police was dismissed, and three 
noncommissioned officers were transferred and punished.

A government decision in November allocated 25 million lei 
(Romanian currency) were allocated toward rebuilding homes, and 
an emergency medical center was established in a nearby 
village.  However, according to Gypsy and human rights 
organizations, no other relief measures have yet been taken, 
nor has rebuilding begun.  Roma organizations have protested in 
a press conference and several demonstrations against the 
Government's lack of responsiveness.  

Several pre-1993 incidents of vigilante violence against the 
Roma remained unresolved.  Investigations by the Ministry of 
Defense and the military prosecutor's office of a July 1992 
attack on Roma in a Bucharest city market, allegedly committed 
by a group of masked military policemen, have yet to be 
completed.  The ethnic Federation of Roma reported that the 
military prosecutor's office is using the excuse that the Roma 
victims were unable to identify their assailants as a motive 
for not concluding the investigation.  The rebuilding of 
approximately 20 Roma homes burned by Romanian villagers in a 
1991 vigilante attack in Valeni Lapusului remains incomplete.  
Houses in the Roma community in Mihail Kogalniceanu near 
Constanta have now been rebuilt following 1990 mob violence.

Roma continued to face discrimination in workplaces and 
schools.  For example, a 1991 International Labor Organization 
(ILO) commission found that Roma suffered both direct and 
indirect discrimination in the workplace and were relegated to 
low-paying, low-status jobs.  It also reported that Roma were 
excluded from educational and work opportunities that might 
lead to higher paying or skilled jobs, and such discrimination 
perpetuated their low status in society.  In 1993 the 
Government initiated some job training programs for Roma and 
began experimental classes in the Roma language for Roma 
children.  A June 1993 ILO report concluded that the situation 
had improved somewhat and praised the Government's general 
responsiveness to the problem.  Some Roma leaders charged that 
the government television station was unwilling to broadcast 
any Roma-oriented educational programs.  

Hungarians, the largest ethnic minority, number 1.6 million, 
according to the 1992 census, or more than 2.2 million, 
according to Hungarian estimates.  They are concentrated in 
Transylvania.  Instruction in the Hungarian language is 
available in primary and secondary schools when there are at 
least 7 elementary students or 15 secondary students to form a 
Hungarian-language class.  Some university courses are taught 
in Hungarian in Cluj and Tirgu Mures.  Ethnic Hungarians, who 
were unhappy with the constitutional text declaring Romania a 
"unitary state," fear a gradual process of cultural 
assimilation and seek additional Hungarian-language 
postsecondary instruction and use of Hungarian (rather than 
Romanian with interpretation, as is currently provided by law) 
in the courts.

In the Transylvanian city of Cluj, Gheorghe Funar, elected 
mayor in February 1992 as candidate of the nationalist Party of 
Romanian National Unity (PUNR), continued his anti-Hungarian 
provocations.  He took unsuccessful steps to evict a number of 
publications from their offices, including a Hungarian-language 
newspaper.  The central Government, acting through the local 
prefect (district head), declared several of Funar's actions 
null and void, but the municipality continued to use local 
statutes and regulations to harass local Hungarians.  

In July 1992, under pressure from Romanian nationalists, the 
Stolojan government had removed the ethnic Hungarian prefects 
of Covasna and Hargita counties, the two counties where ethnic 
Hungarians constitute a clear majority.  Following 
antigovernment protests, Stolojan agreed to a compromise 
arrangement, appointing coequal prefects, one ethnic Hungarian 
and one ethnic Romanian, in each of the counties.  This 
solution proved to be unsatisfactory to representatives of both 
ethnic groups.  On March 24, 1993, the Vacaroiu Government, 
again due to pressure from Romanian nationalists, ended the 
multiethnic arrangement by appointing ethnic Romanian prefects 
in each county.  The UDMR protested this change vehemently and 
refused the Government's offer to name ethnic Hungarians as 
deputy prefects.

The UDMR condemned the Supreme Court's June 7 rejection of an 
appeal in the case of Pal Cseresznyes, an ethnic Hungarian 
serving a 10-year sentence for attempted murder as a result of 
his involvement in the Tirgu Mures incidents of March 1990.  
Cseresznyes participated in the savage beating of an ethnic 
Romanian, which an international journalist captured on film.  
The UDMR's complaint centered on the length of his sentence and 
on the fact that he was the only one of those filmed who was 
brought to trial.  The court maintained that, regardless of the 
fates of the others involved, Cseresznyes had received a fair 
trial and was guilty as charged.  Thus it found no legal reason 
to grant an appeal.  

     Religious Minorities

Physical attacks directed against Jewish persons or 
institutions are not known to have occurred in 1993, nor are 
graves or synagogues known to have been desecrated.  However, 
the extreme nationalist press continued its anti-Semitic 
harangues.  Both the President and the Prime Minister have 
publicly condemned anti-Semitism, other types of racism, and 
xenophobia.  The President attended a ceremony to commemorate 
Holocaust day at the Bucharest synagogue in April, the first 
time a Romanian Head of State has ever attended a Jewish 
religious service.  

     People with Disabilities

Postrevolutionary Romania inherited a legacy of neglect of the 
severely handicapped population, both children and adults.  To 
redress the situation, the Government set up special programs 
for the handicapped, including vocational training and special 
schools for handicapped children.  In addition, handicapped 
children are now given precedence in foreign adoption 
placements.  The law does not mandate accessibility for the 

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Labor legislation, adopted in 1991, guarantees the right of 
workers, except government employees and military and police 
personnel, to associate freely, organize and join labor unions, 
and engage in collective bargaining.  The right to strike is 
specifically guaranteed, and several major strikes or 
demonstrations occurred in 1993.  The primary exceptions are 
employees in certain critical industries involving the public 
interest, such as defense, health care, transportation, and 
telecommunications, in which there are limitations on the right 
to strike.

Most unions took a critical view of labor legislation.  They 
complained, in particular, about the legal requirement calling 
for submission of grievances to government-sponsored 
conciliation prior to initiating a strike as interference in 
their freedom of action.  Moreover, trade unions voiced 
increasing frustration with the judiciary's propensity to 
declare illegal virtually every major strike on which the 
courts have been asked to rule.  An ILO Committee of Experts 
(COE) report in 1992 also registered concern that the current 
laws fall short of ILO standards in several areas, including 
the free election of union representatives, binding 
arbitration, and financial liability of strike organizers.  
Government officials, especially in the Ministry of Labor and 
Social Protection (MOLSP), recognize these and other 
deficiencies in labor legislation, but the Government has not 
yet moved to amend the laws.  

In May the country's largest trade union confederations 
threatened to launch a nationwide general strike to protest 
rapidly rising inflation and falling standards of living for 
their members.  The unions sought steep wage hikes to 
compensate workers for continual economic dislocations 
accompanying Romania's transition to a free market economy.  
The strike was averted at the 11th hour when union and 
government negotiators agreed to a package of concessions.  
However, one confederation and several smaller labor 
organizations engaged in sporadic strike activity until they 
negotiated a separate agreement with the Government several 
days later.  

In August railway locomotive engine drivers launched a 
week-long, economically damaging strike.  Union leaders 
initially defied a Supreme Court ruling to suspend the strike 
for 80 days.  At the conclusion of the strike, the National 
Railway Company (CFR) began to fire union leaders around the 
country and filed suit against other top leaders in an effort 
to recover economic damages.  Romania's major trade union 
confederations, along with some political opposition parties 
and human rights groups, interpreted the CFR's harsh actions as 
union-busting tactics.  Tension was reduced after the 
Government fired the CFR president and 10 members of the 
company's board of directors.  The CFR then decided to 
reinstate the fired union leaders, although it has not yet done 
so, and to suspend the suit against others.  Prime Minister 
Vacaroiu pledged in December that no members would be fired 
before the courts had ruled on their appeals.  In an action, 
pending since 1992 and involving the CFR's dismissals of four 
union leaders accused of leading strikes against the company, a 
neutral commission established by the Government ruled in the 
unionists' favor.

The 1991 legislation stipulates that labor unions are 
independent bodies, free from government or political party 
control.  The Government routinely consults with unions on 
labor issues, though it frequently disregards union 
recommendations.  No worker may be forced to join or withdraw 
from a union, and union officials who resign from elected 
positions and return to the regular work force are accorded 
protection against employer retaliation.

The majority of Romania's approximately 10.8-million working 
people are members of about 18 nationwide trade union 
confederations and smaller independent trade unions.  In June 
two of the nation's largest labor confederations--the National 
Confederation of Free Trade Unions (CNSLR) and Fratia--formally 
merged into the CNSLR-Fratia.  The new formation boasts a 
membership of 3.5 million members, representing over half of 
the unionized work force.  Like most membership figures in 
Romania, however, this is probably exaggerated.  

None of the trade union organizations engaged in direct 
political activity in 1993, but in November and December 
several of the larger confederations organized demonstrations 
calling for the resignation of the Vacaroiu Government.

Labor unions have the right to affiliate internationally, and 
representatives of foreign and international organizations 
freely visit and advise Romanian trade unionists.  Alfa Cartel 
and Fratia are affiliated with the World Confederation of Labor 
(WCL) and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions 
(ICFTU), respectively.  CNSLR was accepted as an ICFTU member 
in December as a result of its merger with Fratia.

In June the ILO conference noted the steps Romania had begun to 
take to implement the recommendations of an earlier Commission 
of Inquiry, particularly the establishment of a Council for 
National Minorities, and urged further measures in law and 
practice to eliminate discrimination based on political 
opinion, religion, race, sex, national extraction, and social 
origin.  The workers' member representing Romania alleged at 
the ILO Conference that in some enterprises managed by 
technocrats of the old regime collective agreements were 
implemented in a discriminatory way by the directors, who 
favored house unions over independent ones and who dismissed 
members of independent trade unions and women before all 

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The 1991 legislation permits workers to bargain collectively.  
The lack of any procedure to define which unions are recognized 
by management as negotiating partners did not cause major 
problems in 1993, unions and management generally finding 
pragmatic accommodations.  There were sporadic allegations that 
union leaders are often the first to be laid off.  Workers who 
are illegally dismissed have recourse to the courts, which have 
ordered the reinstatement of such employees, including in the 
CFR case.

Continued state control over most industrial resources and the 
absence of independent management representatives complicated 
collective bargaining efforts.  In addition to basic wage 
scales established through collective bargaining, most workers 
as well as pensioners receive thrice-yearly increases indexed 
to prospective price increases.  In 1993 workers received 
additional compensation to cushion the economic blows caused by 
the lifting of official subsidies for basic consumer items in 
May and the introduction of a national value-added tax in 

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The Constitution prohibits forced or compulsory labor.  The 
MOLSP effectively enforces this prohibition, and no instances 
of such practices were recorded in 1993.  

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum age for employment is 16, although children as 
young as 14 or 15 may work with the consent of their parents or 
guardians but only "according to their physical development, 
aptitude, and knowledge."  Working children under 16 have the 
right to continue their education, and employers are obliged to 
assist in this regard.  The MOLSP has the authority to impose 
fines and close sections of factories to enforce compliance 
with the law.  No violations of this policy were documented in 
1993, and child labor does not appear to be a problem.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Most wage rates are established through collective bargaining 
at the enterprise level but are based on minimum wages for 
given economic sectors and categories of workers set by the 
Government after negotiations with industry representatives and 
the labor confederations.  Minimum wage rates are generally 
observed and enforced.  In 1993 the minimum monthly wage 
(nominally about $45 in December) did not keep pace with 
inflation, and it was criticized for not providing a decent 
standard of living for a worker and family, although basic 
necessities like housing and medical care still are partly 
subsidized by the Government.  

The Labor Code provides for a standard workweek of 40 hours or 
5 days, with overtime to be paid for weekend or holiday work or 
work in excess of 40 hours.  The Labor Code does not 
specifically include a requirement for a 24-hour rest period, 
although this is implied in the provision for a standard 
workweek of 5 days.  Paid holidays range from 15 to 24 days 
annually, depending mainly on the employee's length of 
service.  Employers are required by law to pay additional 
benefits and allowances to workers engaged in particularly 
dangerous or difficult occupations.  

Some labor organizations pressed for healthier, safer working 
conditions on behalf of their members.  The MOLSP established 
safety standards for most industries and is responsible for 
enforcing them.  However, it lacks sufficient trained personnel 
for inspection and enforcement, and employers generally ignore 
its recommendations.  Though they have the right to refuse 
dangerous work assignments, in practice workers seldom invoke 
it, appearing to value increased pay over a safe and healthful 
work environment.  Neither the Government nor industry, still 
mostly state owned, has the resources necessary to improve 
significantly health and safety conditions in the workplace.

[end of document]


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