Information on the treatment and education of orphans from 1971 to 1989, and on whether they were obliged to have a career in the military [ROM22296.E]

In a telephone interview on 14 November 1995, the vice-president of the Romanian Helsinki Committee in Bucharest provided the following information. In 1990, Romanian and foreign television crews revealed to the public for the first time the "terrible conditions" that existed in orphanages in Romania; the living conditions were cramped and unsanitary, and there was a shortage of trained supervision.

The vice-president added that press reports in 1990 mentioned rumours that orphans during the Ceausescu era were taken to training centres in order to become special anti-terrorist personnel.

According to the Agence France Presse attachment of 20 November 1994:
UNICEF spokeswoman Marie Heuze did not comment on the allegations of maltreatment but said the fact that the orphans were apparently being put out when they reached adolescence was 'not an isolated case' in Romania. Prior to the fall of communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989 the orphans were kept in the 'casa de copii' homes until they did their military service, but Heuze said this was no longer the case.

For further information on the situation of orphans, including information on the orphanage system, please consult the News from Helsinki Watch attachment. This attachment provides information on the situation of orphans as witnessed by the Helsinki Watch mission to Romania in mid-August 1990; there are references to the situation of orphans in the Ceausescu era, but it is unclear whether these references apply from 1971 to 1989.

Information on the education of orphans from 1971 to 1989 and on whether they were obliged to have a military career could not be found among the sources consulted by the DIRB.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Agence France Presse. 20 November 1994. "Romanian Orphanage Slammed for Mistreating Children." (NEXIS)

Romanian Helsinki Committee, Bucharest. 14 November 1995. Telephone interview with vice-president.


Agence France Presse. 20 November 1994. "Romanian Orphanage Slammed for Mistreating Children." (NEXIS)

News from Helsinki Watch [New York]. December 1990. "Romania's Orphans: A Legacy of Repression," pp. 1-13.

Other Sources Consulted

DIRB country file on Romania.

Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Reports. Daily.

On-line search of media sources.

Open Media Research Institute (OMRI), Prague. Transition. Bi-Monthly.

Other oral sources.

RFE/RL Research Reports [Munich]. Weekly.

Uncaptive Minds [New York]. Quarterly.