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2023 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Romania, released

The US Department of State's report on human rights shows that Romania's hospitals, police and customs are still plagued by corruption and abuse.

Photo: pixabay.com
Photo: pixabay.com

, 24.04.2024, 13:50

The US Department of State has published its Report on Human Rights Practices in Romania in 2023. Among the problems identified were, among others, credible reports of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by or on behalf of the government and serious government corruption. The government took steps to identify and punish officials who may have committed human rights abuses, but in some cases actions were insufficient and impunity was a problem.

 

On the other hand, inefficiency and lack of accountability in judicial oversight sometimes undermined the independence and impartiality of the judiciary. The document refers to a judge with the Cluj Court of Appeal (in the north-west), who, in November 2023, denounced the relatives of the mayor of Baia Mare, Cătălin Cherecheș, for attempting to bribe her with 50,000 euros in exchange for acquitting Mayor Chereches of corruption charges. Despite being the one to denounce Cherecheș, she remained part of the panel of judges who ultimately convicted the mayor for corruption, after claiming she would be able to remain impartial.

 

The report also mentions the case of journalist Emilia Șercan who signaled she was the target of threats and blackmail after, in 2022, she had published an investigation regarding the alleged plagiarism committed by Nicolae Ciucă, Prime Minister of Romania at the time of publication. Șercan stated that she was the victim of a well-documented “campaign of defamation orchestrated by the government”, but in October, the Prosecutor’s Office of the Bucharest Court of Appeal closed the investigation.

 

Another problem pointed out by Washington refers to frequent bribery in the public sector, especially in the healthcare system. Corruption and misuse of public funds was widespread, the report says, citing information from Transparency International, which noted high levels of corruption at the customs and within police units. At the same time, the media reported that, in 2023, the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) investigated more than 50 cases related to corruption in the healthcare system.

 

There are also labor law issues, according to the document. In recent years, companies have often created separate legal entities to transfer employees, thus avoiding representation thresholds. It is basically an anti-union movement. Last but not least, the authors of the report also signal cases where the authorities did not effectively apply the law on domestic violence. Among the causes mentioned would be the lack of procedures for the effective application of restraining orders. In addition, the courts have handled very few cases of domestic violence.

 

The document also refers to an example related to ethnic discrimination, the one at the hospital in Urziceni (south), where employees refused to provide emergency medical assistance to a pregnant Roma woman, who gave birth on the sidewalk. (EE)

 

 

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