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TITLE:  ROMANIA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE:  FEBRUARY 1995









                           ROMANIA


Romania is a constitutional republic with a multiparty
parliamentary system and a directly elected president as chief
of state.  In the 1992 presidential election, Ion Iliescu was
reelected President with 61 percent of the popular vote.  A
minority Government led by Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu and
supported by the Party of Social Democracy of Romania (PDSR) has
held power since the 1992 parliamentary elections, despite the
fact that the PDSR holds only 34 percent of the parliamentary
seats.  After the Government withstood a vote of no confidence
on June 30 by a narrow margin, the Prime Minister in August
brought the nationalistic Party of Romanian National Unity
(PUNR) into the Government, giving it two Cabinet seats. On
September 12, the sitting Minister of Justice declared that he
had joined the PUNR, bringing its total of Cabinet seats to
three.  On December 23, the Government more comfortably
withstood another no-confidence vote.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs supervises the operations of
the police.  While there were fewer reports in 1994 of police
misconduct or failure to enforce the law, the military
prosecutor's office, which has legal responsibility in such
cases, was lax in prosecuting instances of police abuse.
Political and religious activists continued to assert credibly
that unknown agents subjected them to surveillance and
harassment.

Romania has a mixed economy, with industrial production based on
metal and mineral products, textiles, and electric machinery,
and a rich agriculture.  The Government continued to struggle
with the painful transition to a market economy.  Economic
growth resumed in 1993 and continued at a slow pace in 1994.
Progress on structural economic reform has been mixed, although
observers expect it to accelerate following parliamentary
approval of the Government's mass privatization bill.  About one-
third of gross domestic product now originates in the private
sector.  A tough International Monetary Fund-backed economic
stabilization plan cut inflation from 10 percent to 1.5 percent
per month and helped stabilize the currency.  The phasing out of
all consumer subsidies (except those on bread and milk) and
strict government austerity allowed the national budget to run a
small surplus by mid-1994.  The unemployment rate, a little over
10.5 percent, is expected to rise as the state-owned industrial
sector is privatized.

The Government generally respected most internationally
recognized human rights, although the police continued to abuse
detainees physically, and the Government often failed to try and
punish those responsible appropriately.  Discrimination and
violence against Roma continued, generally with impunity for
those responsible.  At year's end, 14 people charged with
offenses in the May outbreak of violence against the Roma
community in Racsa were still awaiting trial, now set for
January 1995.  The Government's Council for National Minorities,
widely hailed in 1993, appeared largely ineffective in 1994.
Societal discrimination and violence against women remained a
problem, frequently unrecognized by the Government.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports of political or other extrajudicial
killings.  A railway police officer charged in 1993 with abusive
treatment leading to the death of a beggar was still awaiting
trial in Timisoara at the end of 1994.  In the 1993 case of an
arrestee in Dorohoi who died, ostensibly of heart failure, after
a week in police custody, the military prosecutor dropped
charges against the police because of a lack of evidence.  In
May a Bucharest military court sentenced two police officers
charged with torture and murder in a 1992 case to 15 years'
imprisonment.  Upon judicial review, this sentence was upheld in
November.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of disappearance.

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

The Constitution prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading
punishment or treatment, and these prohibitions were generally
respected in practice.  However, police continue to use
excessive force during arrest and to beat detainees.  The
military prosecutor's office is charged with legal oversight of
the police, a situation that human rights organizations allege
inhibits aggressive prosecution or discipline of police
misconduct.

Meanwhile, there was a credible report from the Romanian
Helsinki Committee of a prisoner kept in solitary confinement
with handcuffs on, as well as credible reports of regular
handcuffing to beds as a form of extra restraint.

Several human rights organizations reported, credibly, that
abuses persisted in overcrowded prisons, which continued to use
the "cell boss" system in which some prisoners are designated to
be in semiofficial charge of other prisoners.  Prisoners also
suffered from lack of medical care.  Only the Jilava
penitentiary has its own infirmary, and prisoners from around
the country requiring medical care are sent there.  But even at
Jilava medical standards are low.  One 14-year-old prisoner,
sentenced in 1992 to the sole facility for minors in Gaiesti,
contracted tuberculosis there.  In August 1993, he was
transferred to Jilava and in April 1994 was finally moved to a
civilian hospital.  It took 3 months to effect his transfer to
the civilian hospital from Jilava after the medical
determination to do so had been made.  A few days later, at age
16, he died.  Apparently recognizing the dearth of adequate
medical care, Jilava in 1994 released at least one pretrial
detainee from custody for medical reasons, pending trial.

     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, the authorities may hold a person for up
to 65 days without a court order, and they do not adequately
inform many citizens of their rights.

The law requires the authorities 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.

Both court-appointed counsel and privately hired lawyers,
however, were reportedly negligent in some instances in
defending their client's rights.  One prison commandant noted
that lawyers had visited his several hundred prisoners only
seven times in 1 month.  This is significant because prisons
house not only prisoners serving sentences but also most
detainees awaiting trial.

Exile was not used as a means of punishment.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

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

Cases involving military personnel and the police (who are still
subordinated to the military prosecutor) and criminal acts
against the State (including treason and espionage cases) are
tried in a three-tier military court system.  Local and
international human rights groups criticize this system,
especially 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 (see Section l.c.).

Under the terms of the 1992 law, the courts are supposed to be
independent of the executive branch, but in fact the Minister of
Justice controls the selection and promotion of judges.  In some
cases, court decisions supported private individuals and groups
against government institutions in matters such as the
restitution of property and injunctions against government
action.  Some labor unions alleged, however, that the courts
side with the Government when they rule on the legality of
strikes and other labor actions.  They charged further that no
Romanian court has ever ruled in favor of the workers in a labor
action against a governmental entity.  To date, the judicial
system has yet to demonstrate that it is fully independent and
free of executive branch interference.

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
are respected.  While it is probable that some confessions are
still extracted through police brutality, every accused person
has the right, and is afforded the opportunity, to withdraw such
confessions in court, telling the judge that he or she was
beaten, threatened, or otherwise forced to provide the
confession under duress.  There is evidence, moreover, that
progress is being made in the legal scrutiny of police activity.
The Romanian human rights organization SIRDO has reported that
the military prosecutor in Suceava district has aggressively
investigated even old cases involving allegations of confessions
obtained through torture, including reopening convictions from
1989 and 1990.

There were no reports of political prisoners.

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

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 1992
National Security Law 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.
Security officials may enter residences without proper
authorization from a prosecutor if they deem a threat to
national security "imminent."

The Constitution further states that the privacy of legal means
of communication is inviolable; thus, the Romanian Intelligence
Service (SRI) is legally prohibited from engaging in political
acts (e.g., monitoring the communications of a political party).
However, the laws on national security allow it to engage in
such monitoring on national security grounds.  Similarly,
although the law requires the SRI 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 1994 arbitrary interference with individual citizens' rights
to privacy was infrequent; however, some nongovernmental
organizations (NGO's) and Protestant church groups alleged that
current or former government intelligence services opened their
mail and tapped their telephones.  The tenor of official
responses to such complaints was always that the SRI itself was
not involved, but that unreconstructed agents of the Securitate,
the Communist-era internal intelligence service, or independent
individuals were involved.  In addition, both Romanian citizens
and foreign diplomats credibly reported opened mail, personal
surveillance, and harassment.

The Government took some measures to investigate reports of such
continuing abuses.  In September the prosecutor's office brought
to trial the former head of the SRI in Maramures county, accused
of illegally tapping wires for the PUNR in the 1992 local
elections.  The SRI had dismissed the accused immediately
following the alleged incident, but his trial attracted
increased public attention after the appointment of the new
Minister of Telecommunications, who is a member of the PUNR and
was head of the telecommunications service in Maramures at the
time of the alleged infraction.  However, the court dismissed
the case in October on procedural grounds before trying it.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Although the Constitution provides for freedom of expression and
prohibits censorship, the same provision qualifies freedom of
expression by prohibiting "defamation of the country."
Moreover, Romania's current Penal Code punishes acts of
"defamation" and "outrage" with several years in prison.  Thus,
while the independent media generally criticize political and
governmental leaders freely and openly, several journalists were
tried and sentenced to fines or prison terms for slander.  The
police detained a journalist from Craiova, Nicolae Andrei, for 5
days in March for writing two satirical articles on President
Iliescu; neither his case nor the suit he subsequently filed
against the police had been tried by year's end.

Until November, it appeared that the government monopoly of
printing and of newsprint supplies was eroding; several private
printing houses were in operation, and some publishers had found
private sources of paper as well as other supplies.  However,
the nationwide newsprint shortage in November, accompanied by
the prohibitively high import tax on newsprint, forced some
papers to curtail their circulation temporarily and emphasized
the dependence of the Romanian press on the single, government-
controlled domestic source of newsprint.  The state distributor
remains the only organization generally capable of delivering
newspapers and magazines nationwide, although at least one
Bucharest daily has undertaken its own distribution to distant
parts of Romania.

The independent electronic media continued their rapid growth,
although most operate under circumstances that limit their
audience.  Romanian State Television (RTV) and Radio Romania
remained the only national broadcasters.  Parliament passed a
long-awaited administrative law in 1994 which established boards
of directors, to be appointed by Parliament, for both RTV and
Radio Romania in an attempt to assure their editorial
independence.  The effect of this law in practice remains to be
seen.

Private broadcasters expanded greatly.  As of December, 25
independent television stations and 65 radio stations were
broadcasting.  Romanians have extensive and growing access to
foreign broadcasts due to the proliferation of cable television
throughout the country.

Foreign news publications may be imported freely and
distributed, but their high cost limits their circulation.
Academic freedom both inside and outside the classroom is
respected.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for freedom of assembly.  The law on
public assembly provides for the right to assemble peacefully
while unarmed but states that meetings must not interfere with
other economic or social activities and 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.  The law prohibits
the organization of, or participation in, a counterdemonstration
held at the same time as a scheduled public gathering.

The law forbids public gatherings to espouse Communist, racist,
or Fascist ideologies or to commit actions contrary to public
order or national security.  It punishes unauthorized
demonstrations or other violations by imprisonment and fines.
Constitutional provisions and laws on free assembly were
generally respected in 1994.

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 generally impede the observance of religious
belief.  However, several small Protestant denominations have
occasionally made credible allegations that low-level government
officials harassed them and impeded their efforts at
proselytism, worship, and construction of church buildings.

A 1948 decree officially recognizes 15 religions whose clergy
may receive state financial support.  The State Secretariat for
Religious Affairs has licensed another 120 faiths and
denominations 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, to
which approximately 86 percent of the population at least
nominally adhere, is predominant.  Approval of new applications
for official registration is very slow due to bureaucratic
problems.

     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 citizens who wish to change their places of
work or residence face any official barriers.  The law
stipulates that citizens have the right to travel abroad freely,
to emigrate, and to return.  In practice, Romanian citizens
freely exercise these rights.

In 1992 Germany and Romania agreed that 60,000 Romanian citizens
(40 percent of them ethnic Roma according to German government
statistics), whose requests for refugee status in Germany had
been rejected, be repatriated to Romania.  This return began in
1992, and while substantial numbers have been repatriated during
the ensuing period, by the end of 1994 a significant portion
still remained in Germany.  Those that have returned have
received little or no resettlement assistance, and 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.  Of some 60,000 to 80,000 illegal migrants believed
to reside in Romania, less than 2,000 were registered as asylum
seekers in 1994, and even for them government assistance beyond
legal entitlements to basic education and medical assistance is
minimal.  Such migrants are overwhelmingly single males who
regard Romania primarily as a way station to other destinations.

Meanwhile, the Government repatriated to their home countries
approximately 150 illegal migrants.  In February the Government
repatriated or forcibly returned 102 Tamils to Sri Lanka,
despite the stated concern of the U.N. High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) that these people had a legitimate fear of
persecution in their home country.  However, the UNHCR has
monitored the condition of the returnees in Sri Lanka and is
satisfied that they have not been persecuted since their return.
Currently, there are slightly over 100 recognized refugees in
Romania.

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

Citizens have the right to change their government.

The Constitution and electoral legislation grant each recognized
ethnic minority one representative in Parliament's Chamber of
Deputies, provided tTITLE:  ROMANIA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE:  FEBRUARY 1995









                           ROMANIA


Romania is a constitutional republic with a multiparty
parliamentary system and a directly elected president as chief
of state.  In the 1992 presidential election, Ion Iliescu was
reelected President with 61 percent of the popular vote.  A
minority Government led by Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu and
supported by the Party of Social Democracy of Romania (PDSR) has
held power since the 1992 parliamentary elections, despite the
fact that the PDSR holds only 34 percent of the parliamentary
seats.  After the Government withstood a vote of no confidence
on June 30 by a narrow margin, the Prime Minister in August
brought the nationalistic Party of Romanian National Unity
(PUNR) into the Government, giving it two Cabinet seats. On
September 12, the sitting Minister of Justice declared that he
had joined the PUNR, bringing its total of Cabinet seats to
three.  On December 23, the Government more comfortably
withstood another no-confidence vote.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs supervises the operations of
the police.  While there were fewer reports in 1994 of police
misconduct or failure to enforce the law, the military
prosecutor's office, which has legal responsibility in such
cases, was lax in prosecuting instances of police abuse.
Political and religious activists continued to assert credibly
that unknown agents subjected them to surveillance and
harassment.

Romania has a mixed economy, with industrial production based on
metal and mineral products, textiles, and electric machinery,
and a rich agriculture.  The Government continued to struggle
with the painful transition to a market economy.  Economic
growth resumed in 1993 and continued at a slow pace in 1994.
Progress on structural economic reform has been mixed, although
observers expect it to accelerate following parliamentary
approval of the Government's mass privatization bill.  About one-
third of gross domestic product now originates in the private
sector.  A tough International Monetary Fund-backed economic
stabilization plan cut inflation from 10 percent to 1.5 percent
per month and helped stabilize the currency.  The phasing out of
all consumer subsidies (except those on bread and milk) and
strict government austerity allowed the national budget to run a
small surplus by mid-1994.  The unemployment rate, a little over
10.5 percent, is expected to rise as the state-owned industrial
sector is privatized.

The Government generally respected most internationally
recognized human rights, although the police continued to abuse
detainees physically, and the Government often failed to try and
punish those responsible appropriately.  Discrimination and
violence against Roma continued, generally with impunity for
those responsible.  At year's end, 14 people charged with
offenses in the May outbreak of violence against the Roma
community in Racsa were still awaiting trial, now set for
January 1995.  The Government's Council for National Minorities,
widely hailed in 1993, appeared largely ineffective in 1994.
Societal discrimination and violence against women remained a
problem, frequently unrecognized by the Government.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports of political or other extrajudicial
killings.  A railway police officer charged in 1993 with abusive
treatment leading to the death of a beggar was still awaiting
trial in Timisoara at the end of 1994.  In the 1993 case of an
arrestee in Dorohoi who died, ostensibly of heart failure, after
a week in police custody, the military prosecutor dropped
charges against the police because of a lack of evidence.  In
May a Bucharest military court sentenced two police officers
charged with torture and murder in a 1992 case to 15 years'
imprisonment.  Upon judicial review, this sentence was upheld in
November.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of disappearance.

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

The Constitution prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading
punishment or treatment, and these prohibitions were generally
respected in practice.  However, police continue to use
excessive force during arrest and to beat detainees.  The
military prosecutor's office is charged with legal oversight of
the police, a situation that human rights organizations allege
inhibits aggressive prosecution or discipline of police
misconduct.

Meanwhile, there was a credible report from the Romanian
Helsinki Committee of a prisoner kept in solitary confinement
with handcuffs on, as well as credible reports of regular
handcuffing to beds as a form of extra restraint.

Several human rights organizations reported, credibly, that
abuses persisted in overcrowded prisons, which continued to use
the "cell boss" system in which some prisoners are designated to
be in semiofficial charge of other prisoners.  Prisoners also
suffered from lack of medical care.  Only the Jilava
penitentiary has its own infirmary, and prisoners from around
the country requiring medical care are sent there.  But even at
Jilava medical standards are low.  One 14-year-old prisoner,
sentenced in 1992 to the sole facility for minors in Gaiesti,
contracted tuberculosis there.  In August 1993, he was
transferred to Jilava and in April 1994 was finally moved to a
civilian hospital.  It took 3 months to effect his transfer to
the civilian hospital from Jilava after the medical
determination to do so had been made.  A few days later, at age
16, he died.  Apparently recognizing the dearth of adequate
medical care, Jilava in 1994 released at least one pretrial
detainee from custody for medical reasons, pending trial.

     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, the authorities may hold a person for up
to 65 days without a court order, and they do not adequately
inform many citizens of their rights.

The law requires the authorities 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.

Both court-appointed counsel and privately hired lawyers,
however, were reportedly negligent in some instances in
defending their client's rights.  One prison commandant noted
that lawyers had visited his several hundred prisoners only
seven times in 1 month.  This is significant because prisons
house not only prisoners serving sentences but also most
detainees awaiting trial.

Exile was not used as a means of punishment.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

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

Cases involving military personnel and the police (who are still
subordinated to the military prosecutor) and criminal acts
against the State (including treason and espionage cases) are
tried in a three-tier military court system.  Local and
international human rights groups criticize this system,
especially 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 (see Section l.c.).

Under the terms of the 1992 law, the courts are supposed to be
independent of the executive branch, but in fact the Minister of
Justice controls the selection and promotion of judges.  In some
cases, court decisions supported private individuals and groups
against government institutions in matters such as the
restitution of property and injunctions against government
action.  Some labor unions alleged, however, that the courts
side with the Government when they rule on the legality of
strikes and other labor actions.  They charged further that no
Romanian court has ever ruled in favor of the workers in a labor
action against a governmental entity.  To date, the judicial
system has yet to demonstrate that it is fully independent and
free of executive branch interference.

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
are respected.  While it is probable that some confessions are
still extracted through police brutality, every accused person
has the right, and is afforded the opportunity, to withdraw such
confessions in court, telling the judge that he or she was
beaten, threatened, or otherwise forced to provide the
confession under duress.  There is evidence, moreover, that
progress is being made in the legal scrutiny of police activity.
The Romanian human rights organization SIRDO has reported that
the military prosecutor in Suceava district has aggressively
investigated even old cases involving allegations of confessions
obtained through torture, including reopening convictions from
1989 and 1990.

There were no reports of political prisoners.

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

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 1992
National Security Law 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.
Security officials may enter residences without proper
authorization from a prosecutor if they deem a threat to
national security "imminent."

The Constitution further states that the privacy of legal means
of communication is inviolable; thus, the Romanian Intelligence
Service (SRI) is legally prohibited from engaging in political
acts (e.g., monitoring the communications of a political party).
However, the laws on national security allow it to engage in
such monitoring on national security grounds.  Similarly,
although the law requires the SRI 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 1994 arbitrary interference with individual citizens' rights
to privacy was infrequent; however, some nongovernmental
organizations (NGO's) and Protestant church groups alleged that
current or former government intelligence services opened their
mail and tapped their telephones.  The tenor of official
responses to such complaints was always that the SRI itself was
not involved, but that unreconstructed agents of the Securitate,
the Communist-era internal intelligence service, or independent
individuals were involved.  In addition, both Romanian citizens
and foreign diplomats credibly reported opened mail, personal
surveillance, and harassment.

The Government took some measures to investigate reports of such
continuing abuses.  In September the prosecutor's office brought
to trial the former head of the SRI in Maramures county, accused
of illegally tapping wires for the PUNR in the 1992 local
elections.  The SRI had dismissed the accused immediately
following the alleged incident, but his trial attracted
increased public attention after the appointment of the new
Minister of Telecommunications, who is a member of the PUNR and
was head of the telecommunications service in Maramures at the
time of the alleged infraction.  However, the court dismissed
the case in October on procedural grounds before trying it.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Although the Constitution provides for freedom of expression and
prohibits censorship, the same provision qualifies freedom of
expression by prohibiting "defamation of the country."
Moreover, Romania's current Penal Code punishes acts of
"defamation" and "outrage" with several years in prison.  Thus,
while the independent media generally criticize political and
governmental leaders freely and openly, several journalists were
tried and sentenced to fines or prison terms for slander.  The
police detained a journalist from Craiova, Nicolae Andrei, for 5
days in March for writing two satirical articles on President
Iliescu; neither his case nor the suit he subsequently filed
against the police had been tried by year's end.

Until November, it appeared that the government monopoly of
printing and of newsprint supplies was eroding; several private
printing houses were in operation, and some publishers had found
private sources of paper as well as other supplies.  However,
the nationwide newsprint shortage in November, accompanied by
the prohibitively high import tax on newsprint, forced some
papers to curtail their circulation temporarily and emphasized
the dependence of the Romanian press on the single, government-
controlled domestic source of newsprint.  The state distributor
remains the only organization generally capable of delivering
newspapers and magazines nationwide, although at least one
Bucharest daily has undertaken its own distribution to distant
parts of Romania.

The independent electronic media continued their rapid growth,
although most operate under circumstances that limit their
audience.  Romanian State Television (RTV) and Radio Romania
remained the only national broadcasters.  Parliament passed a
long-awaited administrative law in 1994 which established boards
of directors, to be appointed by Parliament, for both RTV and
Radio Romania in an attempt to assure their editorial
independence.  The effect of this law in practice remains to be
seen.

Private broadcasters expanded greatly.  As of December, 25
independent television stations and 65 radio stations were
broadcasting.  Romanians have extensive and growing access to
foreign broadcasts due to the proliferation of cable television
throughout the country.

Foreign news publications may be imported freely and
distributed, but their high cost limits their circulation.
Academic freedom both inside and outside the classroom is
respected.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for freedom of assembly.  The law on
public assembly provides for the right to assemble peacefully
while unarmed but states that meetings must not interfere with
other economic or social activities and 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.  The law prohibits
the organization of, or participation in, a counterdemonstration
held at the same time as a scheduled public gathering.

The law forbids public gatherings to espouse Communist, racist,
or Fascist ideologies or to commit actions contrary to public
order or national security.  It punishes unauthorized
demonstrations or other violations by imprisonment and fines.
Constitutional provisions and laws on free assembly were
generally respected in 1994.

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 generally impede the observance of religious
belief.  However, several small Protestant denominations have
occasionally made credible allegations that low-level government
officials harassed them and impeded their efforts at
proselytism, worship, and construction of church buildings.

A 1948 decree officially recognizes 15 religions whose clergy
may receive state financial support.  The State Secretariat for
Religious Affairs has licensed another 120 faiths and
denominations 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, to
which approximately 86 percent of the population at least
nominally adhere, is predominant.  Approval of new applications
for official registration is very slow due to bureaucratic
problems.

     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 citizens who wish to change their places of
work or residence face any official barriers.  The law
stipulates that citizens have the right to travel abroad freely,
to emigrate, and to return.  In practice, Romanian citizens
freely exercise these rights.

In 1992 Germany and Romania agreed that 60,000 Romanian citizens
(40 percent of them ethnic Roma according to German government
statistics), whose requests for refugee status in Germany had
been rejected, be repatriated to Romania.  This return began in
1992, and while substantial numbers have been repatriated during
the ensuing period, by the end of 1994 a significant portion
still remained in Germany.  Those that have returned have
received little or no resettlement assistance, and 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.  Of some 60,000 to 80,000 illegal migrants believed
to reside in Romania, less than 2,000 were registered as asylum
seekers in 1994, and even for them government assistance beyond
legal entitlements to basic education and medical assistance is
minimal.  Such migrants are overwhelmingly single males who
regard Romania primarily as a way station to other destinations.

Meanwhile, the Government repatriated to their home countries
approximately 150 illegal migrants.  In February the Government
repatriated or forcibly returned 102 Tamils to Sri Lanka,
despite the stated concern of the U.N. High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) that these people had a legitimate fear of
persecution in their home country.  However, the UNHCR has
monitored the condition of the returnees in Sri Lanka and is
satisfied that they have not been persecuted since their return.
Currently, there are slightly over 100 recognized refugees in
Romania.

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

Citizens have the right to change their government.

The Constitution and electoral legislation grant each recognized
ethnic minority one representative in Parliament's Chamber of
Deputies, provided that the minority's political organization
obtains at least 5 percent of the average number of valid votes
needed to elect a deputy outright (only some 1,100 votes in the
1992 elections).  Organizations representing 13 minority groups
elected deputies under this provision in 1992.  The ethnic
Hungarians, represented by the Hungarian Democratic Union of
Romania (UDMR), besides receiving 1 allocated representative
under this provision, obtained 27 additional seats in the
Chamber and 12 in the Senate through the normal electoral
process.  Roma are underrepresented in Parliament, partly due to
their low turnout and their internal divisions, which work
against the consolidation of votes for one Roma candidate,
organization, or party, and they have not been able to achieve
any parliamentary representation beyond the one seat provided
through the Constitution and electoral legislation.

There are no legal restrictions on the participation of women in
government or politics, but societal attitudes constitute a
significant impediment.  There are only a few women in
Parliament and none in the current Cabinet.

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

Domestic human rights monitoring groups include the Romanian
Helsinki Committee (APADOR-CH), the Independent Romanian Society
for Human Rights (SIRDO), the League for the Defense of Human
Rights, the Romanian Institute for Human Rights, and several
issue-specific groups such as the Young Generation of Roma and
the Center for Crisis Intervention and Study, also a Roma NGO.
Other groups, such as political parties and trade unions,
continued to have sections monitoring observance of human
rights.

These groups, as well as international human rights
organizations, functioned freely without government interference
and visited prisoners and detainees.  However, the authorities
were not always cooperative.  In January RTV aired a prime-time
2-hour documentary prepared by the Helsinki Committee on police
abuses and investigations of such claims.  The Ministry of
Internal Affairs responded with a program listing the number of
police who had been disciplined and informed the Helsinki
Committee that the human rights bureau of the police directorate
was "freezing" its relations with the Committee.

Romania was accepted into the Council of Europe (COE) in October
1993, with several recommendations attached to membership and
with the provision that COE rapporteurs would visit Romania
every 6 months.  When rapporteurs published their first
assessment in March, the Government responded in a lengthy
memorandum that the report was inaccurate, and asked to be
released from the rapporteur mechanism.  The COE refused and has
not released Romania from this mechanism.  In May Parliament
ratified the European Convention on Human Rights.

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

The Constitution forbids discrimination based on 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.  In practice, however, Roma and other minorities
are subject to various forms of extralegal discrimination (see
below).

     Women

Both the Constitution and international conventions which
Romania has signed grant women and men equal rights.  In
practice, however, the Government does not enforce these
provisions, nor does the Government focus attention or resources
on women's problems.

The rate of unemployment for women is up to three times higher
than that for men, and women occupy few influential and
decisionmaking positions in either the private sector or
government.  There is no law on sexual harassment, which appears
to be a widespread practice.  In 1994's most celebrated
instance, the deputy director of the SRI and rector of its
Higher Institute for Intelligence resigned under pressure
without public explanation.  Press reports alleged that he had
been specifically accused by one of his students of asking for
sexual favors, and that this specific accusation was a central
cause of his resignation.

Violence against women continued to rise.  In the first 9 months
of 1994, 1,833 assaults against females were reported to police
in Romania.  Of these, 868 were cases of rape or attempted rape,
7 of which resulted in the death or the suicide of the victim.
Prosecution of rape is difficult because both a medical
certificate and a witness are required to prove rape legally.
In addition, a rapist will not be punished if he marries the
victim.  Despite the evidentiary difficulties, prosecutors in
1994 obtained a significant number of convictions for rape,
which carries a penalty of between 2 and 10 years in prison.
There are no functioning crisis centers, shelters, or hot lines
for female victims of violent crime.

The Government in 1994 failed by and large to address the
problem of domestic violence, though it is widespread by many
estimates.  While some authorities and doctors acknowledged the
existence of family violence, many denied that it was a major
issue.  They invoked Romania's strong family tradition, a
safeguard belied however by traditional and widely held
attitudes that are reflected by such proverbs as "a woman
unbeaten is a woman unloved."

     Children

Infant mortality remained high, actually rising to 23.6 per
1,000, partially due to low standards and scant resources in the
health sector.  Private adoptions of abandoned or orphaned
children increased, while the number of children housed in
public institutions with poorly trained staff remained
alarmingly high.  Some physicians and Western experts attribute
the low adoption rates from public institutions to the labyrinth
of laws and bureaucracy surrounding the national Romanian
Adoption Committee, supervised by the Minister of Health.

Although there was no apparent pattern of societal abuse against
children in 1994, large numbers of impoverished and apparently
homeless but not necessarily orphaned children roamed the
streets of the larger cities.  The Government does not have
statistics showing the scope of the problem, but youth
organizations remain acutely concerned with the deteriorating
economic conditions which contribute to rises in juvenile
delinquency and vandalism.  Some NGO's cited special concern
about the number of minors detained in jail and prison and were
seeking alternative solutions, such as parole, for juveniles.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The Government created a consultative Council for National
Minorities in 1993 to provide a forum for dialog between the
Government and all official minorities and to make
recommendations to the Government regarding minority issues.
Many minorities and other observers state that the Government
seldom acts on the Council's recommendations.

Ethnic Hungarians constitute the largest and most prominent of
Romania's minorities.  The UDMR--the ethnic Hungarians'
political voice--holds 40 seats in the Parliament.  As in all
years since the 1990 Tirgu Mures riots, 1994 witnessed no
violence associated with ethnic Hungarian issues, despite
several potentially incendiary incidents, such as the
archaeological excavation in Cluj, plans to erect statues of
World War II dictator Antonescu in Transylvania, and a highly
controversial education bill.

Roma continued to be subject to acts of discrimination,
harassment, beatings, and even death, with mixed reaction on the
part of the Government.  In May angry villagers in Racsa set
fire to all 11 Roma homes in retaliation for the murder of an
ethnic Romanian shepherd by two young Roma, even though the Roma
had already been arrested.  Police arrested 14 people who are
free awaiting trial.  However, the Government has failed to
prosecute those responsible for the lynching of 3 Roma and the
burning of 13 Roma houses in Hadareni in September 1993, despite
claims by the county prosecutor's office that sufficient
evidence existed to arrest several suspects.  There were
credible accusations that the authorities had pressured the Roma
to rescind their accusations in return for having their homes
reconstructed.

Roma representatives also claim, credibly, that they are
discriminated against in the workplace as well as in the
government allotment of land to individuals.

     Religious Minorities

There were no reports in 1994 of physical attacks directed
against Jewish persons or institutions or of the desecration of
graves or synagogues.  However, the extreme nationalist press
continued its anti-Semitic harangues, which caused discomfort to
the remainder of a once-large Jewish population, now numbering
less than 10,000.  Both the President and Prime Minister have
publicly condemned anti-Semitism, other types of racism, and
xenophobia.  In April President Iliescu repeated his historic
attendance of the year before at a ceremony to commemorate
Holocaust Day at a Bucharest synagogue.  He also issued a
message condemning efforts to rehabilitate Marshal Antonescu,
Romania's World War II dictator, as well as all other
manifestations of anti-Semitism.

     People with Disabilities

Difficult economic conditions and serious budgetary constraints
contributed to very poor living conditions for people with
physical or mental disabilities.  Many disabled people cannot
use government-provided transportation discounts because public
means of transportation have no facilitated access.
Accessibility, including handicapped parking, is not mandated by
law.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

All workers except public employees, police, and military
personnel, have the right to associate freely, to engage in
collective bargaining, and to form and join labor unions without
previous authorization.  There are legal limitations on the
right to strike only in industries such as defense, health care,
transportation, and telecommunications which the Government
considers critical to the public interest.  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 protected against employer retaliation.   The majority
of Romanian workers are members of about 18 nationwide trade
union confederations and smaller independent trade unions.

Union members complain that unions must submit grievances to
government-sponsored conciliation before initiating a strike and
are frustrated with the courts' propensity to declare illegal
the major strikes on which they were asked to rule (also see
Section 1.e.).  Past studies have indicated that the 1991 labor
legislation falls short of International Labor Organization
(ILO) standards in several areas, including the free election of
union representatives, binding arbitration, and financial
liability of strike organizers.  Although the 1991 legislation
is supportive of collective bargaining as an institution, the
contracts that result are not enforceable in a consistent
manner.  However, in 1994, the Government moved to promote a new
tripartite collective bargaining relationship among government,
labor, and employers.  Unions representing divergent sectors of
the economy carried out strikes, or threatened to strike,
throughout 1994.

The 1991 legislation stipulates that labor unions should be free
from government or political party control, and the Government
has observed that in practice.  Unions are free, however, to
engage in political activity and have done so.

Labor unions may freely form or join federations and affiliate
with international bodies.  The Alfa Cartel and CNSLR-Fratia are
affiliated with the World Confederation of Labor and the
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, respectively.
Representatives of foreign and international organizations
freely visit and advise Romanian trade unionists.

The ILO Committee of Experts at the 1994 ILO conference noted
that the Government, which asserted there was no discrimination
against Roma, had reported that some 22 percent of Roma men and
71 percent of Roma women were unemployed.  Referring to the
Government's establishment in 1993 of the Council for National
Minorities, the Committee requested information about steps
being taken to provide education, training, and employment for
the minority population.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Workers have the right to bargain collectively under the 1991
legislation, but collective bargaining efforts are complicated
by continued state control over most industrial enterprises and
the absence of independent management representatives.  Basic
wage scales for employees of state-owned enterprises are
established through collective bargaining with the State (see
Section 6.e.).  In addition, most workers and pensioners receive
thrice-yearly increases indexed to prospective price increases.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The Constitution prohibits forced or compulsory labor.  The
Ministry of Labor and Social Protection (MOLSP) effectively
enforces this prohibition.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum age for employment is 16, but children as young as
14 or 15 may work with the consent of their parents or
guardians, although only "according to their physical
development, aptitude, and knowledge."  Working children under
16 have the right to continue their education, and the law
obliges employers to assist in this regard.  The MOLSP has the
authority to impose fines and close sections of factories to
enforce compliance with the law, which it enforces effectively.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Most wage rates are established through collective bargaining at
the enterprise level.  However, they are based on minimum wages
for given economic sectors and categories of workers which the
Government sets after negotiations with industry representatives
and the labor confederations.  Minimum wage rates are generally
observed and enforced.  In 1994 the minimum monthly wage
(nominally about $35 in December) did not keep pace with
inflation and did not provide a decent standard of living for a
worker and family.  However, the Government still partly
subsidizes basic necessities such as housing and medical care.

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.
The law requires employers to pay additional benefits and
allowances to workers engaged in particularly dangerous or
difficult occupations.

Some labor organizations press for healthier, safer working
conditions on behalf of their members.  The MOLSP has
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.  Although they have the
right to refuse dangerous work assignments, workers seldom
invoke it in practice, 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 health and safety conditions in the workplace
significantly.


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[end of document]

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