Whether an anti-discrimination ordinance passed in September 2000, if so, whether it took effect; whether the ordinance prohibits the state from bringing charges pursuant to article 200 of the Penal Code or whether it only allows a person to bring civil charges against non-state actors who discriminate against others; whether the ordinance has any impact on those who have been charged and/or convicted under article 200; whether the general public, the media and/or lawyers have access to information pertaining to cases involving conviction under article 200 (August 2000 to August 2001) [ROM37660.E]

The following information is in addition to that already provided in ROM36223.E of 16 January 2001.

While one source states that the Ordinance on Preventing and Punishing All Forms of Discrimination was adopted by the Romanian government in September 2000, several others state that it was passed on 31 August 2000 (HRW 2001; Mediafax 1 Sept. 2000; Off Our Backs Nov. 2000). This legislation specifically banned discrimination based on sexual orientation (ibid.; ILGA 1 Mar. 2001). In an International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) news article, ACCEPT, a Romanian-based association for gay and lesbian rights, stated that the inclusion of sexual orientation, as one of the discrimination grounds, was necessary prior to the abrogation of article 200 [of the Penal Code] (ibid.). Human Rights Watch World Report 2001 stated that the ordinance would "take effect within sixty days of publication" [in the Romanian Official Gazette] (2001). It is reported in an article written by Romanita Elena Iordache, a staff attorney with the Romanian Helsinki Committee, that the ordinance "theoretically came into force" on 2 November 2000 and was adopted as law by the Romanian parliament in February [2001] (Public Interest Law Initiative 24 Apr. 2001).

In its 2000 annual report, the Romanian Helsinki Committee reported the following on the Ordinance on Preventing and Sanctioning All Forms of Discrimination (OG 137/200) with regard to its goals, sanctions, and the ability of civil society organizations to launch civil suits against discriminatory actions:

The Ordinance on preventing and sanctioning all forms of discrimination aims at eliminating the discrimination by ensuring equal chance for all the persons belonging to national minorities, the protection of disfavoured groups such as institutionalised children, women, disabled persons, sexual minorities, sanctioning the discriminatory behaviour. Although there are special laws on some rights of the national minorities, as well as norms on the protection of children, women and disabled persons, they only regulate the provision and exercise of the rights of the persons from such categories. The special laws in force do not aim at eliminating all forms of discrimination applied to such persons.
The Ordinance provides for sanctions for petty offences for any difference, exclusion, restriction, or preference aiming to or resulting in the restriction or prevention of equal recognition, use or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms, in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life, provided that the difference, exclusion, restriction, or preference is grounded on their belonging to a race, nationality, ethnic background, religion, social class, or based on their convictions, gender or sexual orientation, and respectively due to the appurtenance to a disfavoured category.
The Ordinance also enables the human rights non-governmental organisations to become parties in court cases, in order to ensure the representation in court of discriminated communities or groups of persons, in case that the discriminatory action affects the community or the group in general. Such an organisation will also be able to become a party in a court case if the discrimination touches an individual, if that person mandates the respective organisation to this purpose. The application of such provisions will result in an increased role of the civil society in Romania's transition towards democracy and will ensure the more active involvement of the non-governmental organisations in the overall public life and especially the human right protection (28 Feb. 2001).

The ordinance makes provisions for the establishment of the National Council for the Elimination of Discrimination, which was adopted by the government in December 2000 (ibid.).The council will be a government-run specialized agency that will apply the punishments against the discriminatory actions stipulated within the scope of the ordinance (ibid.). On the council's effectiveness, Romanita Elena Iordache wrote, however, that:

...the text [the ordinance] is still unclear in relation to the agency's status within the government, its actual powers, its procedural rules, and the legal value of its findings/decisions. CNCD [National Council against Discrimination] is intended to be independent and autonomous, though it will be established by a decision of the government and not by a law adopted by the Parliament. The law also fails to provide for any procedures for access to the agency. Furthermore, there are no procedural guarantees that provide for the fairness and impartiality of its procedures. There are also questions about the selection of the agency's members, which should include representatives from the relevant target groups. Furthermore, the CNCD should also provide assistance to independent victims of discrimination in pursuing their complaints, conduct independent surveys and publish reports, and make recommendations on any issue related to discrimination.
Until the CNCD is created, the provisions of the law remain on paper only (Public Interest Law Initiative 24 Apr. 2001).

The text of the Ordinance on Preventing and Punishing all Forms of Discrimination is silent on the issue of article 200 (n.d.).

No information on the impact the ordinance may have on those who have been charged and/or convicted under article 200, or on whether the general public, the media and/or lawyers have access to information pertaining to cases involving conviction under article 200 could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. No replies were received by the Romanian Helsinki Committee and ACCEPT within the time constraints of this Response.

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 to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Human Rights Watch. 2001. Human Rights Watch World Report 2001. http://www.hrw.org/wr2k1/europe/romania.html [Accessed 14 Aug. 2001]

The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA). 1 March 2001. "Incredible Law on Non-Discrimination Approved in Romania." http://www.ilga.org/Information/Legal_survey/europe/supporting%20files/incredible_law_on_non.htm [Accessed 14 Aug. 2001]

Mediafax [Bucharest, in English]. 1 September 2000. "Romanian Government Establishes Fines to Penalize Discrimination." (FBIS-EEU-2000-0901 1 Sept. 2000/WNC)

Off Our Backs. November 2000. "Romania: Discrimination vs. Lesbians, Gays Banned." (NEXIS)

Public Interest Law Initiative. 24 April 2001. Romanita Elena Iordache. " Behind the Velvet Curtain: On the Anti-Discrimination Law in Romania." http://www.pili.org/features/romaniadisc/ [Accessed 14 Aug. 2001]

Romania. No date. Ordinance On Preventing and Punishing All Forms of Discrimination.http://www.riga.lv/minelres/NationalLegislation/Romania/Romania_antidiscrim_English.htm [Accessed 14 Aug. 2001]

Romanian Helsinki Committee. 28 February 2001. Human Rights Developments in Romania: The Activities of the Romanian Helsinki Committee (APADOR-CH) 2000 Report. http://www.apador.org/rapoarte/anuale/rf2000e.htm [Accessed 14 Aug. 2001]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases


World News Connection

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

Gay Law Net

Gay News

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Immigration and Nationality Directorate, UK

Minority Related National Legislation (MINELRES)

Romanian Helsinki Committee

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