Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, visits Romania

New report on the fight against racism in Romania

A new report on the fight against racism in Romania urges the country’s authorities to speed-up plans to better-integrate Roma people.

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) fourth report on Romania confirms that “stigmatising statements against Roma are common in political discourse.”

The report’s authors welcome the establishment of an advisory Council of the Churches and Religious Denominations to prevent conflicts between different religious communities.

They also support the amendment of the Criminal Code which made racist motivation an aggravating circumstance for all offences and give their backing to the country’s successful boosting of the number of police officers belonging to national/ethnic minorities.

However, the ECRI report also notes that “more funding is needed for the National Council for Combating Discrimination to be able to function adequately.

“There is still no act regulating the status of national minorities. Nor is there a single institution that systematically collects data on the breach of criminal law provisions against racism.
“In addition, information indicates that the judiciary could enforce these provisions more forcefully.

In its report, ECRI recommends that the general public should be informed about the criminal law provisions against racism and how to seek redress and assistance. A comprehensive data-collection system should be devised on the application of criminal law provisions against racism and strong impetus should be given to the ‘Strategy on the Inclusion of the Roma Minority’ and all obstacles to its implementation should be removed, with sufficient funds allocated.

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