Romanian deputies exclude rights of communities from anti-discrimination legislation

On October 4, 2001, the Chamber of Deputies of Romania approved Government Ordinance No. 137/2000, also know as the Romanian Government Ordinance on Preventing and Punishing All Forms of Discrimination. The Chamber, however, eliminated from the original text of the ordinance the elements from Paragraph 2 of Article 2 that dealt with the recognition of discrimination against a "community", limiting protection to individual persons. The adopted ordinance also excludes sanctioning discrimination based on sexual orientation, which had been present in the initial text. The Chamber of Deputies adopted the modified version of the law months after the Romanian Senate had approved the initial form, which included the rights of communities and sexual minorities, on March 1, 2001. Many members of the international community had praised the Romanian government after it adopted the ordinance by decree in August 2000. As of the date of the publication on December 4, 2001, the text of the law was pending before the Mediation Committee, a body consisting of equal numbers of deputies and senators, with the task of reconciling the two texts into a final version. Once this is complete, the text will once more be voted on by both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. Due to the particularities of the Romanian legal system, the ordinance has legal force until such a time as the Romanian legislature may decide otherwise. Local non-governmental organisations attempting to bring lawsuits under the ordinance have reported that in the past courts have refused to apply the law on grounds that an anti-discrimination body slated for establishment at the national level has not yet been formed by the government.

(ERRC, Romani CRISS)

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