Romania: Situation of Roma, including treatment by society and government authorities; state protection and support services available to Roma (2011-2015) [ROU105285.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Overview

According to Romania's most recent official census, which took place in 2011, there are 621,573 Roma in Romania (US 29 June 2015, 33; World Bank 28 Feb. 2014, 4), representing approximately 3 percent of the Romanian population (Romania 2001, 1; US 29 June 2015, 33; World Bank 28 Feb. 2014, 4). However, according to a World Bank report [1], experts estimate that the number of Roma in Romania is much higher than reported (28 Feb. 2014, 4). According to the National Agency for Roma (NAR) [2] 2011 Progress Report on the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 [3], representatives of civil society claim that the real number of Roma may be more than 2.5 million people (Romania 2011, 1). The EU Observer, a non-profit organization independent of the EU (EU Observer n.d.), similarly reports that the estimated number of Roma living in Romania is most likely around three million, but that more accurate statistics are not available because two thirds of Roma do not indicate their ethnicity due to fear of discrimination (31 Jan. 2014).

The World Bank report indicates that Roma in Romania are "poor, vulnerable and socially excluded" (28 Feb. 2014, 5). A report produced by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) that "draws on the results of the UNDP/World Bank/ European Commission regional Roma 2011 survey [4]", reports that approximately 81 percent of Roma are at risk of poverty compared to approximately 41 percent of non-Roma (EU and UN 2012, 24).

2. Treatment of Roma
2.1 Treatment by Society

The regional Roma 2011 survey indicates that 28 percent of Roma respondents aged 16 and older experienced discrimination because of their ethnicity in the past 12 months (EU and UN 2012, 26). The US Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014indicates that Roma face systemic discrimination by society, which affects them in the areas of education, housing, health and employment (US 29 June 2015, 1).

Country Reports 2014notes that stereotypes and discriminatory language regarding Roma was "widespread" (US 29 June 2015, 33). According to a report by the Open Society Foundation (OSF), a foundation that aims to protect and improve the lives of people in marginalized communities globally (OSF n.d.), "negative attitudes and stereotypes about Roma are deep-rooted, resilient and prevalent…" (OSF June 2013, 10). The same source indicates that "pervasive racism and racist violence continue to distance many Roma families and groups from the greater society" (OSF 10 Sept. 2013).

The 2012 Roma Early Childhood Inclusion report, a joint initiative report produced by the OSF, UNICEF and the Roma Education Fund, indicates that "[m]ore than 70 percent of Romanians believe that Roma do not respect the law and 56 percent do not feel comfortable living near Roma" (OSF and UNICEF 2012, 91) [5]. The same source reports that 53.3 percent of Romanians would not agree to their family member marrying a Roma and 38 percent would not agree to befriend a Roma (ibid.).

Country Reports 2014indicates that anti-Roma banners, chants, and songs were prevalent and widespread," particularly at large televised sporting events, and that discriminatory ads appeared in written publications and on the Internet (US 29 June 2015, 33). An article entitled Taking Stock of Roma Inclusion in Romaniaby Georgian Lunca, a Roma activist at the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at Hard University, notes that Roma face racist political and media campaigns, including ethnic profiling, on a daily basis (FXB Center 8 Apr. 2015).

2.2 Treatment by the State

Sources report that government officials made discriminatory statements against Roma (US 29 June 2015, 33; AI 29 Feb. 2015). According to sources, President Traian Basescu was quoted as stating the following regarding nomad Roma: "very few want to work and many of them, traditionally, live off what they steal" (ibid.; ENAR 14 Feb. 2014). The EU Observer quotes President Basescu as stating that Roma living in Romania "ask for money, food, they annoy people. They are perhaps more annoying than a banker who makes tens of billions disappear from a bank" (31 Jan. 2015). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

A report by the Council of Europe's European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) indicates that according to civil society, in 2011 a fight that occurred in the town of Racos between a Roma family and the mayor's family resulted in attacks against several Roma, including a minor (COE 3 June 2014, 41). According to the same report, "the Mayor’s Office subsequently hired a private security firm stating officially that it needed to deal with the Roma community, whose members commit criminal offences" (ibid.). Further and corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

According to the OSF, Roma face "systemic discrimination and exclusion in areas ranging from citizenship, education and employment to housing and access to justice, all of which bear significantly on the health of Roma populations" (June 2013, 8).

3. Housing Situation

According to research conducted by the Impreuna Agency [6], a Roma rights NGO (US 29 June 2015, 33), there is a gap between Roma and non-Roma in regards to housing and infrastructure (Impreuna Agency July 2013, 3). The same source reports that twice as many Roma live in houses made with poor quality material and that Roma compared to non-Roma "have less access to gas, running water, sewerage and electricity" (ibid.). The regional Roma 2011 survey indicates that approximately 88 percent of Roma live in households without at least one of the following basic amenities: indoor kitchen, indoor toilet, indoor shower/bath and or electricity compared to 58 percent of non-Roma (EU and UN 2012, 23). A 2014 report by the Embassy of Finland in Bucharest indicates that the majority of housing for Roma "can be characterized as insecure" as Roma lack public utilities and services such as water, electricity, sewerage and garbage collection, which affects their health and their ability to work (Finland 4 July 2014, 8).

Amnesty International (AI) reports that the actions or lack of actions by local authorities have resulted in segregation of Roma on a wide scale (18 June 2013). Lunca states that "policy makers have not hesitated to enforce social exclusion by physically separating the Roma from the rest of the population" (FXB Center 8 Apr. 2015). According to a report by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) , an international public interest law organization combatting anti-Roma racism (ERRC n.d.),"Roma frequently live in isolated locations…and face difficulties accessing alternative housing including social housing" (28 Mar. 2014, 4).

Sources report that Romani communities continue to face eviction (US 29 June 2015, 33; AI 25 Feb. 2015; ERRC 28 Mar. 2014, 4). AI notes that forced evictions of Romani are "staggeringly" high in Romania (AI 2 Oct. 2013). Sources report that when evicted, Roma are moved to segregated and unhealthy locations (ERRC 28 Mar. 2014, 4; COE 3 June 2014, 38). Additional sources report that when Roma are resettled, they are moved to locations far away from schools, housing and health services (MRG July 2015, 68; FXB Center 8 Apr. 2015).

AI reports that although Romania is required to protect people against forced evictions under international law, "current domestic law does not protect people who lack formal tenure status" (AI June 2013, 4-5). AI further reports that "legislative flaws" allow authorities to relocate Romani communities to inadequate housing far away from the general population (18 June 2013).

3.1 Specific incidences of Evictions

AI reports that in August 2012, local authorities in the north-eastern city of Piatra Neamt "forcibly evicted" 500 Roma from their units on Muncii Street and relocated them to inadequate social housing in an isolated area 7 kilometres away from the city centre (AI 18 June 2013). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

Sources report that in 2012, the mayor of Baia Mare ordered the eviction of half of the people in the Craica settlement, approximately 500 Roma, who were relocated to a building belonging to a former chemical factory (AI 6 Aug. 2013; COE 3 June 2014, 39). Source report that heating was not available and that there was insufficient living space (AI 18 June 2013; COE 3 June 2014, 39).

Sources report that in June 2012, the mayor built a wall around the Craica neighbourhood (FXB Center 8 Apr. 2015; The Daily Mail28 Feb. 2013; OSF 23 Jan. 2013) sealing the Roma community from the town (ibid.; The Daily Mail28 Feb. 2013). Sources report that the mayor said that he built the 6 foot tall wall (The Daily Mail28 Feb. 2013; OSF 23 Jan. 2013) in an effort to keep Roma children safe from the main road (The Daily Mail28 Feb. 2013). The Daily Mailnotes that the settlement "has no sewerage, indoor water or power supplies, and ramshackle huts lie between heaps of rubbish" (28 Feb. 2013).

Sources report that on 2 August 2013, local police issued demolition orders to approximately 30 Roma families in Baia Mare (AI 6 Aug. 2013; COE 3 June 2014, 39) stating that their properties lacked the required authorization and that their homes would be demolished within three days (AI 6 Aug. 2013). ECRI reports that as a result, 15 homes were demolished and that home owners were not provided with alternate housing for their families (COE 3 June 2014, 39).

The ERRC reports that on 27 September 2013, authorities demolished the homes of 100 Roma in Eforie, "for lack of permits" and relocated them to an abandoned school (ERRC 11 Aug. 2015). Sources report that the families who had been relocated to the abandoned school were evicted from the school in July 2014; most were relocated to container homes, with the exception of three families (or 17 individuals) who did not receive any alternative housing (AI 25 Feb. 2015; US 29 June 2015, 33; ERRC 11 Aug. 2015).

Sources indicate that in December 2013 the court in Cluj, Napoca ruled that the 2010 eviction of between 270 and 300 Roma from Cluj to Pata Rat, near a garbage dump, was illegal (US 29 June 2015, 34; AI 25 Feb. 2015; ERRC 28 Mar. 2014, 4). Country Reports 2014indicates that the court "ruled that each of the evicted Roma should receive 2,000 Euros [approximately C$3,009.55] as compensation" (US 29 June 2015, 34). According to other sources, the provision of adequate housing for evictees was ordered by the court, but the decision is being appealed by the city authorities and nothing has changed for the affected families (AI 25 Feb. 2015; ERRC 28 Mar. 2014, 4).

4. Employment Situation

Sources report that Roma experience disproportionate unemployment compared to the rest of society (US 29 June 2015, 33; OSF 23 Jan. 2013; World Bank 28 Feb. 2014, 7). The Embassy of Finland reports that Roma generally have a low level of formal employment, low wages and mostly non-permanent jobs (4 July 2014, 6).The OSF notes that only 17 percent of Roma have paid jobs (June 2013, 8-9). According to the regional Roma 2011 survey, approximately 31 percent of household members aged 20 to 64 have paid employment compared to approximately 45 percent of non-Roma (EU and UN 2012, 16).

Without providing detail, the Embassy of Finland report states that, according to surveys, Roma face discrimination when applying for jobs (Finland 4 July 2014, 7). The same source reported that according to a recent study conducted by the CNCD [The National Council for Combating Discrimination], "50 [percent] think that Roma are discriminated at work and 48 [percent] do not want Roma as colleagues" (Finland 4 July 2014, 7). According to a 2014 report by the European Commission (EC) entitled Report on the Implementation of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies,39 percent of Roma have experienced discrimination in the past 5 years while looking for employment (EU 2 Apr. 2014). According to the Impreuna Agency, the percentage of unemployed Roma is very close to the percentage of unemployed non-Roma: 49 percent versus 47.7 percent; however, more than 50 percent of Roma are employed in the informal sector in comparison to 9.3 percent of non-Roma who are employed in the informal sector (July 2013, 4).

The World Bank report indicates that "Roma currently do not have the opportunities to improve their own welfare and gain access to the labor market, despite clear and actionable policy entry points" (28 Feb. 2014, 9).

5. Education Situation

Sources report that there is systemic segregation of Roma children in the area of education (ERRC 16 Feb. 2012; WHO 2013, 2). The European Commission indicates that 26 percent of Roma encountered segregation in mainstream schools (EU 2 Apr. 2014, 3). Country Reports 2014indicates that "in some communities authorities placed Romani students in separate classrooms or even separate schools"; and that "[d]espite an order by the Ministry of Education forbidding segregation of Romani students, there were anecdotal reports of school officials placing Romani children in the back of classrooms, teachers ignoring Romani students, and unimpeded bullying" (US 29 June 2015, 33). The ECRI report indicates that based on surveys conducted by civil society, the number of Roma students that are segregated is "very high" but that exact statistics are not available (COE 3 June 2014, 34). The ECRI report further indicates that, according to a study conducted by an NGO with UNICEF, 31 out of 100 educational establishments were found to segregate Roma pupils (ibid.).

A 2013 case study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) entitled Roma Health Mediation in Romania[7] indicates that Roma have a lower enrolment rate in schools than non-Roma (2013, 2). However, according to the Impreuna Agency, between 1998 and 2012, the participation of Roma children in pre-school has increased from 17.2 percent to 52.8 percent; but more than half of the Roma "are still under the minimum required, compulsory level of education" (July 2013, 5). The World Bank reports that 32 percent of Roma children (ages between 3 and 6 years) are enrolled in preschool or kindergarden, compared to 77 percent of non-Roma children of the same age (28 Feb. 2014. 7). The regional Roma 2011 survey reports that approximately 22 percent of Roma children aged 7 to 15 are not in school as compared to 13 percent of non-Roma children of the same age range that are not in school (EU and UN 2012, 14).

Sources report that Romani children have a high dropout rate from school (EU Observer 31 Jan. 2014; US 29 June 2015, 33; WHO 2013, 2). The regional Roma 2011 survey indicates that approximately 9 percent of Roma households with members aged 20 to 24 have completed general or vocational upper-secondary school compared to approximately 64 percent of non-Roma (EU and UN 2012, 15).

The Impreuna Agency notes that 82.4 percent of Roma children attend the compulsory school system, 6.9 percent had their education interrupted during the time that data was collected, and 8.9 percent never enrolled due to a lack of resources, including clothing and shoes, having to participate in "income generating activities" or having to care for their younger siblings (Impreuna Agency July 2013, 6). The report by the Embassy of Finland notes that, according to surveys and unofficial data, the education of Roma in Romania is "significantly below average at all levels" and one of the challenges facing Roma families is that some live in "faraway settlements," and do not have the means to send their children to school (4 July 2014, 4-5). The Impreuna Agency similarly reports that Roma living in rural areas have lower levels of education (Impreuna Agency July 2013, 7).

Country Reports 2014states that NGOs and the media reported that discrimination towards Roma students by both teachers and students "was a disincentive for Romani children to complete their studies" (US 29 June 2015, 33).

The European Commission notes that Romania has a positive action programme, which provides dedicated places for the admission of Roma to public universities (EU 2 Apr. 2014, 4). During the 2010-2011 academic year, 555 places were granted and during the 2012-2013 year, 546 places were granted (ibid.).

6. Health Care Situation

Country Reports 2014indicates that Roma face inadequate health care and have a lower life expectancy than non-Roma (US 29 June 2015, 1, 33). Sources report an eight year difference in life expectancy between Roma (64 years) and non-Roma (74 years) (Impreuna Agency July 2013, 7; OSF and UNICEF 2012, 92). ERRC reports that, according to their research done in partnership with Gallup Romania in 2013, 11 percent of Roma reported that in the last year they required health care, but did not receive it, in comparison to 5 percent of the general population (28 Mar. 2014, 5). The ERRC also reports that 4 times more Romani children have not been vaccinated as compared to the majority of children (28 Mar. 2014, 2). The report by the Embassy of Finland indicates that one in four Roma children had not received any vaccinations although the immunization program in Romania is free (Finland 4 July 2014, 8).

The ERRC reports that according to research published in 2014, "Roma are more than three times more likely not to have health insurance (49.3 [percent] vs. 14.7 [percent] for Non-Roma)" (28 Mar. 2014, 6). According to the regional Roma 2011 survey, 52 percent of Roma respondents aged 18 and older reported having medical insurance, compared to 81 percent of non-Roma (EU and UN 2012, 20). According to the European Commission report, 47 percent of Roma women indicated that they do not have medical insurance compared to 22 percent of non-Roma women (EU 2 Apr. 2014, 7). According to the report by the Embassy of Finland, Romanian citizens are afforded "universal health coverage"," and additional contribution to medical costs are low or free of charge for social groups such as the unemployed; however, some citizens are excluded from these benefits because they fail to register for the insurance scheme (Finland 4 July 2014, 8). Further and corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

Sources report that access to health care services for Romani communities is limited due to an absence of identity documents (OSF June 2013, 8; WHO 2013, 3; Finland 4 July 2014, 7).

According to sources, access to health services is limited due to discrimination within the health care domain (World Bank 28 Feb. 2014, 11; WHO 2013, 3). A 2013 report by the OSF notes that although there are frameworks promoting the health and human rights of Roma in Romania, Roma report "a shocking assortment of human rights abuses and violations in health care settings, including outright denial of health care services, provision of substandard medical care, abusive treatment, and segregation" (OSF June 2013, 10). Furthermore, the OSF reports that "there is a growing body of evidence of racial segregation in Romania's public hospitals" (June 2013, 13).

The WHO indicates that the Roma Center for Social Intervention and Studies (Romani CRISS), a Romani NGO defending and promoting the rights of Roma in Romania (Romani CRISS n.d.), initiated a pilot program on health mediation in 1996 and in 2001 health mediation was included on the agenda (WHO 2012, 6-7). The same source notes that in 2001, the Ministry of Health, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Romani CRISS signed an agreement of cooperation for implementation of the strategy (WHO 2013, 7). The health mediation program aims to improve the health situation of Roma in Romania by: involving local communities in the implementation of the program, facilitating communication between Roma communities and local medical providers, facilitating access to health care services, increasing knowledge in regards to health among Roma and empowering Roma women (WHO 2013, 8-9).

NAR indicates that according to a 2011 study conducted by the Roma Centre for Health Policies, 85 percent of Roma belonging to communities with health mediators declared that they have health insurance, while only 75 percent of Roma living in communities without health mediators declared the same (Romania 2011, 19). The Impreuna Agency reports that 11.8 percent of respondents have heard of the program, but only 1 percent have "benefitted from it" (July 2013, 8). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

ERRC reports that in 2008, there were over 600 Roma health mediators and by 2011 the number was reported to be 380 Roma health mediators (28 Mar. 2014, 6). The NAR reports that as of 2011, there were approximately 250 health mediators (Romania 2011, 20). The WHO notes that challenges affecting the implementation of the program include "insufficient training, wages and working conditions of the mediators and the decentralization of the medical assistance services" (WHO 2013, 16). The World Bank states that although Roma mediators have positively impacted the area of health, the lack of implementation arrangements and resources has hindered the success of the program (28 Feb. 2014, 11).

7. Access to Documents and Services

Country Reports 2014notes that Roma experience "poor access to government services" and that a lack of identity documents resulted in the exclusion of "many" Roma from "participating in elections, receiving social benefits, accessing health insurance, securing property documents, and participating in the labour market" (US 29 June 2015, 33). However, according to NAR, a 2011 study conducted by the Roma Centre for Health Policies noted that most Roma have a birth certificate and identity card (Romania 2011, 19).

8. State Protection
8.1 Legislation

Arc International indicates that Article 317 of Romania's Penal Code prohibits discrimination, defined as "any incitement to hatred" on grounds including race and ethnic origin and prescribes a punishment of imprisonment between 6 months and 3 years or by fine (15 May 2008).

Romania's Ordinance on Preventing and Punishing All Forms of Discrimination No.137/2000 states that all persons are entitled to participate in economic activity, access to legal, administrative and health public services, as well as other services, goods and facilities, access to education, freedom of movement, choice of residence and access to public places, and the right to personal dignity (Romania 2000, Art. 1(2)). Chapter 1, Article 2 of the Ordinance describes discrimination as:

any difference, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, nationality, ethnic appurtenance, language, religion, social status, beliefs, sex or sexual orientation, appurtenance to a disfavored category or any other criterion, aiming to or resulting in a restriction or prevention of the equal recognition, use or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social and cultural field or in any other fields or public life. Romania 2000, 2(1))

Chapter 3, Article 20 (1) of the Ordinance indicates that the fine for discriminating against one individual varies between 500,000 lei [approximately C$17] to 10,000,000 lei [approximately C$340] lei and 1,000,000 [approximately C$34] to 20,000,000 [C$680] if perpetrated against a group of people or community (Romania 2000, 20(1)). Chapter 3, Article 21 (1) further indicates that "[i]n all cases of discrimination provided by the Ordinance herein, the persons discriminated against shall be entitled to claim damages, proportionally with the prejudice" Romania 2000, 21(1)).

Country Reports 2014indicates that although the law forbids discrimination based on ethnicity, the government did not effectively enforce these prohibitions and Roma "often experienced discrimination and violence" (US 29 June 2015, 24).

8.2 Initiative for Combating Discrimination

The CNCD is a "specialized body of central public administration, with juridical personality, qualified to investigate, to ascertain and to sanction the contraventions provided by the Government Ordinance no.137/2000" (Romania n.d.b). The Finland report notes that a "large number of cases brought before it are related to Roma" and that the Council has the authority to issue warnings or fines (Finland 4 July 2014, 12). Country Reports 2014indicates that as of 1 September 2014, the CNCD had received 21 complaints of Roma experiencing discrimination (US 29 June 2015, 23). The same source further notes that the CNCD does not received adequate resources (US 29 June 2015, 24).

Country Reports 2014indicates that the National Council for Combating Discrimination (CNCD) has fined journalists and senior government officials as a result of discriminatory language (US 29 June 2015, 33). Sources report that in February 2014, President Traian Basescu was fined by the CNDC for the racist comment that he made in November 2010 regarding Nomadic Roma not wanting to work and traditionally living off of stealing (AI 25 Feb. 2015; ENAR 14 Feb. 2014). The European Network Against Racism (ENAR), "a pan-European anti-racist network" (ENAR n.d.), reports that the President was fined 130 euros [approximately C$195] (ENAR 14 Feb. 2014).

8.3 Police

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, László Fosztó, a social anthropologist and researcher employed by the Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities expressed the opinion that there has been a "general improvement" in the relationship between the Roma communities and the police (Fosztó 10 Sept. 2015). Without providing statistics, the same source notes that an indicator of improved relationships between Roma and the police is the decrease in ethnically motivated violence between local Roma and majority communities, violent abuse of the authorities, or police inaction from the 1990's until recently (ibid.). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

In contrast, Country Reports 2014notes that Romani groups indicated that "harassment and police brutality, including beatings, were routine" (25 June 2015, 33). The same source reports that in 2014, police and gendarme mistreated and harassed detainees, including Roma (US 29 June 2015, 1). AI reports that the Council of Europe (COE) Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern about the number of reported cases of excessive force used by police during searches of Romani homes in Reghin, Mures in 2013 (25 Feb. 2015). Country Reports 2014notes that on 4 March 2014 a Romani man who earned tips by finding empty spots for drivers in a parking lot was taken by police to their headquarters where he died the same day in police custody (US 29 June 2015, 2). Following an internal investigation a police officer was arrested for unlawful use of deadly force but was later released "under judicial supervision" (US 29 June 2015, 2). A 2015 article by the Association for the Defense of Human Rights in Romania - The Helsinki Committee (APADOR-CH), details the committee's visit to Racos on 13 May 2015 involving interviews with Roma about police violence between 2013-2015 (APADOR-CH 25 May 2014). The APADOR-CH report notes that during the last 3-4 years, police beatings of Roma in Racos "appeared to be frequent and unprovoked" and that more than 40 people have been beaten (APADOR-CH 25 May 2015). Some of the victims filed police complaints, but all of the complaints were dismissed (ibid.). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

Lunca reports that Roma face ethnic profiling by way of police registries that are based on ethnicity (FXB Center 8 Apr. 2015). Fosztó stated that recent reports by human rights organizations suggest that police abuse "can occur in circumscribed cases" such as incidents of police raids in Roma settlements or "poor neighborhoods" where the majority of residents are of Roma ethnicity (10 Sept. 2015). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

Country Reports 2014states that in order to improve the relations between police and the Romani community, police enlist Romani mediators to assist in communication between Roma and the authorities during crisis situations (US 29 June 2015, 34). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

8.4 Judiciary

Information on the judiciary in relation to the Roma population was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

Sources report that in July 2014, the Cluj-Napoca Court of Appeal found that the government had failed to implement measures promised in the wake of attacks against Roma communities in Hadareni, during the early 1990s, including community development projects aimed at improving living conditions and inter-ethnic relations (AI 25 Feb. 2015; ERRC 29 July 2014). AI indicates that in September 2013, the High Court of Cassation and Justice upheld the 2011 decision made by the CNCD that the concrete wall built in Baia Mare to separate the Roma community from the rest of the residents was deemed discriminatory (AI 25 Feb. 2015).

9. State Efforts for Roma Inclusion

The report by the Embassy of Finland notes that the National Roma Inclusion Strategy for 2012-2020 (NRIS) replaced the 2001 Strategy for Improving the Condition of the Roma (Finland 4 July 2014, 10). The same source notes that the NRIS's aim is "social and economic inclusion of Romanian citizens belonging to the Roma minority, by implementing integrated policies in the field of education, employment, health, housing, culture, and social infrastructure" (ibid.).

The ERRC notes that the strategy "has been highly criticised by NGOs, which were not consulted prior to its adoption" (28 Mar. 2014, 1). Country Reports 2014indicates that NGOs also criticized the National Strategy due to its broad scope, overlapping responsibilities with other government bodies, and its ineffectiveness (US 29 June 2015, 34).

The European Commission reports that the Romanian authorities developed a Strategy for Inclusion of the Romanian Citizens of Roma Ethnicity for 2015-2020, which came into force 21 January 2015 (12 Feb. 2015, 1). The same source notes that the Strategy is an update of Roma Strategy 2012-2012 and that it "claims to include all European recommendations for Roma inclusion" and that the goal of the Strategy is to "ensure socio-economic inclusion" of Roma to a similar level as the rest of the population by focusing mainly on access to education, employment, health and housing (ibid.).

Lunca states that Romanian politicians and bureaucrats have not followed through on their commitment to allocate funding and implement strategies to fulfill their political commitment to the EU regarding Roma inclusion (FXB Center 8 Apr. 2015). The OSF similarly reports that despite the EC's call for member states to apply more EU funds to programs aimed at integrating Roma, none including Romania have done so (OSF 23 Jan. 2013). COE reports that "significant hurdles" have challenged the implementation of the EU strategies for Roma inclusion in Romania including the fact that funds were not allocated, there is ineffective coordination between ministries, and there is a lack of accountability by local authorities as they have "often been reluctant to launch programs for the Roma" (3 June 2014, 32).

Sources report that up until September 2013, the NAR implemented six programs partly funded by the European Social Fund (Romania n.d.a; COE 3 June 2014, 33), focusing on education, training and employment (Romania n.d.a). The Embassy of Romania in Sweden indicates that 50,000 people, mostly Roma, benefitted from these programs (Romania n.d.a). ECRI states that civil society has noted that NAR's projects are "'just a drop in the ocean' and are not sufficient to have a meaningful effect" (COE 3 June 2014, 33). The Embassy of Finland reports that budget cuts resulting in layoffs have impeded NAR's ability to function, "although many observers claim that the Agency has never managed to fully claim its role as the key representative body responsible for advancing the integration of the Roma" (4 July 2014, 11).

10. Support Services

Information on support services was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response. Sources report that the following NGOs work for Roma rights in Romania: the APADOR-CH (APADOR-CH 2014), the Impreuna Agency (US 29 June 2015, 33), and Romani CRISS (Romani CRISS n.d.). According to the website of the APADOR-CH, the NGO conducts awareness campaigns and assists individuals with applications to the European Court of Human Rights (APADOR-CH n.d.). According to a report by Romani CRISS, the Impreuna Agency, among other activities, assists Roma with access to the labour market, conducts job fairs, and provides professional training programs (2006, 3). Romani CRISS indicates that they are an NGO in Romania that provides legal assistance to victims of discrimination (2005, 3).

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

Notes:

[1] The purpose of the 2014 World Bank report is to respond to a request by the Romanian Ministry of Labour in developing national policies that provide cost-effective means to integrate Roma into general society and to provide information on the living conditions and challenges that are faced by the Roma population (28 Feb. 2014, 2).

[2] "NAR is a government agency responsible for coordinating and monitoring the implementation of the NRIS [National Roma Inclusion Strategy]" and facilitating dialogue between government agencies and civil society for the purpose of improving the social and economic well-being of Roma (Finland 4 July 2014, 11).

[3] The Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 is a political commitment by European governments that aims to eliminate discrimination faced by Roma in the areas of education, employment, health and housing (Decade of Roma Inclusion n.d.).

[4] The 2011 survey conducted by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) involved 11 EU member states (EU and UN 2012, 10), with 1,857 Roma households in Romania and 850 non-Roma households in Romania (ibid. 30) interviewed on a number of issues including education, employment, health, housing, and poverty (ibid. 7).

[5] The Roma Early Childhood Inclusion report provides information, obtained through focus groups and interviews with Roma community members, on "the barriers and opportunities for improving access of Roma children to appropriate and high-quality early childhood services" (OSF and UNICEF 2012, 9).

[6] The Impreuna Agency conducted research on social inclusion indicators of the Roma population in Romania, involving a comparison between the current situation of the Roma versus non-Roma population as well as a comparison in time between data collected in 1998 and data collected in 2012. (Impreuna Agency July 2013, 3).

[7] The 2013 WHO study uses secondary data in order to "provide a critical overview of the Roma health mediation program in Romania" (2013, vii).

References

Amnesty International (AI). 25 February 2015. "Romania." Amnesty International Annual Report 2014/2015: The State of the World's Human Rights. <https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/europe-and-central-asia/romania/report-romania/> [Accessed 17 Sept. 2015]

_____. 2 October 2013. "Roma Rights." <http://www.amnesty.org.uk/roma-rights-anti-discrimination-europe-violence-eviction-education#.VehjLGfbLPR> [Accessed 3 Sept. 2015]

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Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources:European Roma Rights Centre; Open Society Foundation; Romani CRISS; Romania – National Agency for Roma; National Council for Combating Discrimination; Police Chief Superintendent of the Directorate for Criminal Records and Operational Registers of the Romanian Police; Transparency International.

Internet sites, including:Council of Europe; ecoi.net; European Network Against Racism; European Union – European Commission; Factiva; Freedom House; Human Rights Watch; International Crisis Group; Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe; UN – Refworld; University of Maryland's Center for International Development and Conflict Management's Minorities at Risk.