Rape and Domestic Violence: Societal views on rape remained a concern. A November European Commission report based on a June poll noted a high number of respondents suggested certain situations may justify nonconsensual sex. Rape, including spousal rape, is illegal. The law provides for three to 10 years’ imprisonment for rape and two to seven years’ imprisonment for sexual assault. The sentence for rape increases to five to 12 years if there are aggravating circumstances and to seven to 18 years if it led to death. For sexual assault, the sentence increases to three to 10 years if there are aggravating circumstances and to seven to 15 years if it led to death. If there are no aggravating circumstances and the attack did not lead to death, police and prosecutors may not pursue a case on their own, but they require a victim’s complaint, even if there is independent physical evidence. As a consequence, the perpetrator of a sexual assault could avoid punishment if the victim withdrew the complaint.
The criminal code classifies family violence as a separate offense and stipulates that when murder, battery, or other serious violence is committed against a family member, the penalty is increased by one-quarter of what it would have been otherwise. The code also states that if the parties reconcile, criminal liability is removed.
Violence against women, including spousal abuse, continued to be a serious problem that the government did not effectively address. The law provides for the issuance of restraining orders by a court for a maximum of six months upon the victim’s request or at the request of a prosecutor, the state representative in charge of protecting victims of family violence, or, if the victim agrees, a social service provider. Violation of a restraining order is punishable by imprisonment for one month to one year. If the parties reconcile, criminal liability is removed. The law requires that the court must decide on the issuance of the order within a three-day period. The court may also order the abuser to pay some of the victim’s expenses, such as the cost of the victim’s accommodation in a shelter or domicile apart from the abuser. The court may also order the abuser to undergo psychological counselling. Restraining orders, shelters, and other services are not available to victims of violence who may be in relationships but do not cohabit with alleged abusers.
While the law imposes stronger sanctions for violent offenses committed against family members than for similar offenses committed against others, the courts prosecuted very few cases of domestic abuse. According to official statistics, only 2 percent of complaints become criminal cases. Many cases were resolved before or during trial when the alleged victims dropped their charges or reconciled with the alleged abuser.
Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment, which it defines as repeatedly asking for sexual favors in a work or similar relationship. A victim complaint is necessary to initiate a criminal investigation. Penalties range from fines to imprisonment of three months to one year. Although sexual harassment was a problem, public awareness of it remained low, and the crime continued to be severely underreported. No effective programs existed to educate the public about sexual harassment, and schools did not educate students on sexual harassment, gender violence, and gender equality.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals had the right to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children; manage their reproductive health; and have access to the information and means to do so, free from discrimination, coercion, or violence. There were, nevertheless, barriers to couples’ and individuals’ ability to maintain their reproductive health, including a lack of age-appropriate sex education for adolescents, a lack of funds allocated to contraception programs, and lack of a national strategy regarding sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Some women, especially Roma, had difficulty accessing reproductive health services for reasons that included lack of access to information, ethnic discrimination, lack of health insurance, and poverty.
Discrimination: Under the law, women and men enjoy equal rights. Women experienced discrimination in marriage, divorce, child custody, employment, credit, pay, owning or managing businesses or property, education, the judicial process, and housing. The law requires equal pay for equal work, but there was a 7.1 percent gender pay gap, according to EU data. Segregation by profession exists, with women over represented in lower-paying jobs such as education, health care, and social work. Authorities did not devote significant attention or resources to challenges facing women. There were reports of discrimination in employment.
Birth Registration: Children derive citizenship by birth from at least one citizen parent. Although birth registration is mandatory by law, it was not universal, and authorities denied some children public services as a result. The most common reason for failure to register children at birth was the parents not declaring the child’s birth to authorities, sometimes because the parents lacked identity documents or residence papers or because the birth took place abroad in countries where parents were present illegally. Most such children had access to schools, and authorities assisted in obtaining birth documents for unregistered children, but the education of unregistered children depended on the decision of school authorities. Undocumented children also faced difficulties gaining access to health care. This was a particular problem among the Romani population, but it also occurred in other communities. In July parliament amended the law to simplify birth registration for children whose mothers do not have proper documentation to register their children.
Child Abuse: Child abuse and neglect continued to be serious problems, and public awareness of it remained poor. Media reported several severe cases of abuse or neglect in family homes, foster care, and child welfare institutions. The government has not established a mechanism to identify and treat abused and neglected children and their families. According to a national survey conducted by Save the Children Romania in 2013, 63 percent of children surveyed reported their parents spanked them, while 18 percent say they were hit with a stick, and 13 percent with a belt. Some 38 percent of parents admitted to spanking their children, while an additional 18 percent said they used more severe forms of punishment.
According to official data, during the first quarter of the year, there were 3,933 cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of children recorded by child protection services throughout the country. Law enforcement authorities initiated a criminal investigation in only 189 of the cases.
Early and Forced Marriage: The legal age of marriage is officially 18 for both men and women, but the law permits minors as young as 16 to marry under certain circumstances. Illegal child marriage was reportedly common in certain social groups, particularly among some Romani communities. Media occasionally reported individual cases. Child protection authorities did not intervene in such cases. There were no public policies to prevent child marriage.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law provides one- to 10-year prison sentences for persons convicted of sexual acts with minors, depending on the circumstances and the child’s age. Sexual intercourse with a minor who is 13 to 15 years of age is punishable by a one- to five-year prison sentence. Sexual intercourse with a minor under 13 years of age is punishable by a two- to seven‑year prison sentence and deprivation of some rights. In neither case is the act punishable if the age difference between the perpetrator and the victim is less than three years. Sexual intercourse committed by an adult with a minor who is 15 to 18 years of age is punishable by a two- to seven-year prison sentence and the deprivation of some rights if the adult abused his or her authority or influence over the victim; the child was a family member; the abuse endangered the life of the minor; or the abuse was done with the purposes of producing pornographic material. If the child is younger than 15 and the same aggravating circumstances existed, the act is punishable by a three- to 10-year prison sentence and deprivation of some rights. The law also criminalizes sexual corruption of minors (which includes subjecting minors to sexual acts other than intercourse or forcing minors to perform such acts), luring minors for sexual purposes or child prostitution, and trafficking in minors. Pimping and pandering that involves minors incur sentences that are increased by one-half.
Child pornography is a separate offense and carries a sentence, depending on the circumstances, of up to seven years’ imprisonment, which may be increased by one-third if the perpetrator was a family member or someone in whose care the child was trusted or if the life of the child victim was endangered.
During the year the ECHR issued two rulings against the country for inadequately handling cases of child rape. In one decision, M.G.C v. Romania, the ECHR reviewed the case of an 11-year-old girl who was repeatedly raped in 2008 and 2009 by a 52-year-old man and several younger men. The girl became pregnant and had an abortion. The prosecution proposed and courts upheld fines for the younger men and sentenced the older man to three years’ imprisonment for sexual intercourse with a minor, instead of charging him with rape. The prosecution relied mainly on the statements of the perpetrators, who said the girl had acted provocatively and initiated the sex, as well as the fact that the girl did not tell her parents about it, discounting a police report that the girl’s age precluded the existence of valid consent and a forensic psychiatric report pointing to post-traumatic stress. An appellate court later changed the conviction to rape, but on further appeal, the Supreme Court reinstated the initial ruling. In the case, the ECHR also analyzed a large number of Romanian court decisions involving the rape of minors and found a failure to adopt a child-sensitive approach when judging such cases. The ECHR observed that “authorities’ failure to investigate sufficiently the surrounding circumstances was the result of their having attached little or no weight at all to the particular vulnerability of young persons and the special psychological factors involved in cases concerning the rape of minors.” It concluded that the courts had not developed a settled and consistent practice to differentiate clearly between the crimes of rape and sexual intercourse with a minor.
Institutionalized Children: During the year there were several media reports of abuses in placement centers for institutionalized children. Prosecutors started investigations of placement centers in Bucharest and Brasov for alleged abusive medication of children with psychiatric drugs and for neglect. In the specific centers under investigation, more than 50 percent of the institutionalized children received such medication. The ombudsperson opened an investigation in a placement center in Barlad for alleged sexual abuse of children, in particular a child with a disability.
In June prosecutors indicted members of an organized crime network who were recruiting female victims from orphanages in Iasi for sexual exploitation. Child neglect was a common problem in placement centers due to insufficient and unqualified staffing. Adequate psychological support was also lacking. The absence of monitoring of these centers, a tendency to address abuse administratively rather than through criminal investigations and sanctioning, and the absence of an effective complaint mechanism for children were other systemic problems.
By law unaccompanied migrant children are housed in placement centers, where they have access to education and other benefits other children receive. The NGO Jesuit Refugee Service Romania filed a complaint with Giurgiu child protection authorities following complaints from an Iraqi refugee minor in a residential facility for children. The child reported mental, emotional, and physical abuse against children. The Giurgiu child protection authority began an investigation, fired one employee, and sanctioned another with a 5 percent salary reduction. NGOs also reported that authorities placed irregular migrant children in administrative detention with their families if they crossed the border illegally and authorities determined their parents should be placed in detention until their situation was resolved.
Children with disabilities in state care were particularly vulnerable to abuse (see Persons with Disabilities).
International Child Abductions: The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.
According to the 2011 census, the Jewish population numbered 3,271. Acts of anti-Semitism occurred during the year.
The law prohibits public denial of the Holocaust and fascist, racist, and xenophobic language and symbols, including organizations and symbols associated with the indigenous Legionnaire interwar fascist movement. The oppression of Roma as well as Jews is included in the definition of the Holocaust. In the first half of the year, out of 12 cases pertaining to this law, prosecutors dismissed 11 and waived criminal prosecution in the remaining case.
Streets, organizations, and even schools or libraries continued to be named after persons convicted for war crimes or crimes against humanity, according to the Elie Wiesel Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania. Authorities allowed demonstrations that promoted the Legionnaire movement. The memorial exhibition “Ion Gavrila Ogoranu–Present!” was displayed in May in the central University Square of Bucharest and in the Alba Iulia National Museum. Ogoranu was a leader of anticommunist resistance in the first years of communism, but prior to that he was a member of the Legionnaire movement. The exhibition presented his Legionnaire past as part of an “exemplary biography.” Material promoting anti-Semitic views and glorifying Legionnaires also appeared in media, including on the internet.
On April 14, the National Bank of Romania issued a set of commemorative coins honoring three former bank governors. One of them, Mihail Manoilescu, who led the bank for several months in 1931, was also an active advocate of fascist ideology and anti-Semitism before World War II. The Wiesel Institute strongly protested the issuance of the coin. The bank stated it did not want to offend anyone and that the coin issuance concerned only Manoilescu’s activity as bank governor. The bank did not withdraw the coin but did meet with representatives of a foreign government to discuss how to better vet individuals who might be remembered in the future.
On April 8, a Bucharest bookstore hosted the launch of a book denying the Holocaust by Vasile Zarnescu, a retired SRI officer, titled The Holocaust–the Diabolical Scarecrow–Money Extortion for the Holocaust. In a media interview, Zarnescu stated that he was tasked by SRI in the 1990s to write and publish under a pseudonym articles against the “propaganda and actions” of Jewish community leaders. He wrote one specific piece against then chief rabbi Moses Rosen, who he called “anti-Romanian” for monitoring the media to track anti-Semitism. The Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office over Holocaust denial.
In July police learned that a monument in Brasov County commemorating seven members of the military (six Israelis and one Romanian) who died in a helicopter training exercise in 2010 was defaced with swastikas, graffiti, and a pig.
A survey by the Center for Public Opinion Polls, commissioned by the Wiesel Institute and released in July 2015, found that, while 73 percent of the 1,016 adults surveyed had heard of the Holocaust, only 34 percent accepted as fact that the Holocaust had occurred in the country. Approximately 69 percent of the respondents blamed the Holocaust on Nazi Germany, while 19 percent considered the wartime government of general Ion Antonescu responsible. Of the respondents, 54 percent considered Antonescu a hero. The survey had a margin of error of 3 percent. The respondents were 18 and older.
In December 2015 the CNCD fined Serban Suru, the self-proclaimed leader of the Legionnaire movement, 2,000 lei ($490) for publishing on his Facebook page an anti-Semitic caricature representing the Wiesel Institute’s director. In the caricature, the director represented “Jewish Nazism” by carrying “anti-Romanian laws” in his bag, with a reference to amendments to Holocaust denial legislation that included the prohibition of Legionnaire symbols and organizations.
The government continued to implement the recommendations of the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania Report of 2004. High-level officials, such as the president, made public statements against anti-Semitism. In July the Romanian Jewish Federation, together with the Bucharest District 3 mayor’s office, inaugurated a monument dedicated to the martyrs of the Bucharest Pogrom of January 1941. The Wiesel Institute continued to organize training courses for teachers and other professionals on the history of the Holocaust. In September the government approved the Wiesel Institute’s hiring of three people to organize the creation of a future museum on the history of Jews. The general mayor of Bucharest agreed to make a building available to house the museum.
During the year the country held the annual chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. On May 26 the Plenary of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance voted by consensus to adopt a legally nonbinding working definition of anti-Semitism.
The government introduced mention of the Holocaust in the country in its seventh-, eighth-, 10th-, and 12th-grade curricula. The curricula did not include a class on the topic as part of the general history curricula, however. The high school course “History of the Jews–the Holocaust” remained optional, and very few schools offered it.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, education, air travel and other transportation, access to health care, and the provision of other services. The government did not fully implement the law, and discrimination against persons with disabilities remained a problem.
In many cases persons with disabilities faced institutional and societal discrimination. According to a 2012 report by the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), 1 percent of persons with mental disabilities had employment. The FRA report also indicated that persons with mental disabilities in institutional settings, in particular children, were subjected to various forms of bullying, harassment, and abuse.
The law mandates that buildings and public transportation be accessible for persons with disabilities. While the number of buildings with facilities for persons with disabilities increased during the year, the country continued to have an insufficient number of facilities specifically designed to accommodate persons with disabilities, who could have extreme difficulty navigating city streets or gaining access to public buildings. Persons with disabilities reported a lack of access to ramps, adapted public transportation, and adapted toilets in major buildings.
In May the CNCD fined the Ministry of Labor, Family, Social Protection, and the Elderly and the National Agency for Payments and Social Inspection 30,000 lei ($7,400) each for failing to fulfil their legal duty to enforce, including by issuing sanctions, the right of persons with disabilities to accessible public transportation. It also fined 18 municipalities, including Bucharest, 10,000 lei ($2,450) each for failing to make public transportation accessible for persons with disabilities. It fined another eight municipalities 8,000 lei ($1,960) each for insufficient accessibility and issued warnings to two others that did not fully implement accessibility measures but had made significant progress. This was the third year that the CNCD initiated a case ex officio, reviewed accessibility in large municipalities, and issued sanctions.
Discrimination against children with disabilities in education was also a widespread problem due to lack of adequate teacher training on inclusion of children with disabilities and lack of investment to make schools accessible. Most children with disabilities were either placed in special schools or not placed in school. According to a 2015 study conducted by the Institute for Public Policy, approximately 40 percent of the 70,000 children registered with disabilities were not enrolled in school. Of those in school, more than 60 percent were attending special schools. During the year the NGO European Center for the Rights of Children with Disabilities documented several cases of discrimination, abuse, and exclusion of children with disabilities from mainstream education. The NGO also made various complaints to the relevant authorities, with most cases pending a decision or a solution.
Persons with disabilities also faced discrimination in employment (see section 7.d.).
In 2014-15, the Center for Legal Resources (CRJ) made unannounced visits to public and private residential centers for children and young persons with disabilities on the basis of written protocols with the labor ministry. As a result of the visits, the NGO identified a series of violations, including verbal and physical abuse of children, sedation, excessive use of physical restraints, lack of hygiene, inadequate living conditions, and lack of adequate medical care. The CRJ also noted a general shortage of staff, a chronic shortage of specialized staff, reliance on psychiatric medication as the only treatment solution, segregation from communities, lack of access to education, absence of a complaints mechanism, and a lack of community living options. During the year media published or aired several investigations into such problems in centers for persons with disabilities.
In August the Center for Media Investigations reported on the death of an HIV positive young woman with disabilities living in a private facility operating under a government contract to provide services to persons with disabilities after she was transferred from state care. The 27-year-old woman, who had spent her life in state institutions, weighed 74 pounds. There was reportedly no investigation into the circumstances of her death. The CRJ visited the center accompanied by the president of the National Authority for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities and reported finding extremely precarious living conditions and inadequate medical care.
At the end of 2015, the Center for Legal Resources and the Center for Media Investigations reported that approximately 4,500 persons with disabilities died in state care between 2010 and 2015. There were approximately 25,000 persons in state care in 2015.
The National Authority for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities, under the labor ministry, coordinated services for persons with disabilities and drafted policies, strategies, and standards in the field of disabilities rights.
Discrimination against Roma continued to be a major problem. Accurate numbers on the size of the Romani population were hard to pinpoint due to problems with identification documents, residence registration, and reluctance by some Roma to declare their ethnicity due to discrimination. Observers estimated there were between 1.8 and 2.5 million Roma in the country, constituting approximately 10 percent of the total population. According to the most recent official census in 2011, there were 621,573 Roma in the country, or 3.1 percent of the population.
Romani groups complained that harassment and police brutality, including beatings, were routine. Both domestic and international media and observers reported societal discrimination against Roma. NGOs reported that Roma were denied access to, or refused service in, many public places. Roma also experienced poor access to government services, a shortage of employment opportunities, high rates of school attrition, inadequate health care, and pervasive discrimination. A lack of identity documents excluded many Roma from participating in elections, receiving social benefits, accessing health insurance, securing property documents, and participating in the labor market. Roma were disproportionately unemployed or underemployed. Roma had a higher unemployment rate and a lower life expectancy than non-Roma.
Stereotypes and discriminatory language regarding Roma were widespread.
In March the ECHR issued an emergency order stopping the government from carrying out the third eviction in three years of a Romani community in Eforie. In June a trial court ordered local authorities to provide the Roma with houses; the ruling was not final. In 2013 local authorities in Eforie ordered the eviction from their homes of approximately 100 Roma, one-half of them children. Authorities immediately demolished the homes before any legal review could be undertaken. Some of the evicted Roma found shelter in an abandoned school, from which they were evicted in 2014 and taken to an overcrowded container settlement on the city outskirts. Because they could not afford to pay for water and electricity, authorities threatened to evict them from the containers in March, when the NGOs Romani CRISS and European Roma Rights Center obtained the ECHR emergency order.
NGOs and media reported that discrimination by teachers and other students against Romani students was a disincentive for Romani children to complete their studies. Despite an order by the Ministry of Education forbidding segregation of Romani students, segregation along ethnic lines persisted. In April the NGO Center for Human Rights and Advocacy published a monitoring report on segregation in 112 localities in the northeastern part of the country. According to the report, segregation occurred in at least one school in one-half of the localities monitored. The most common type of segregation was by classroom, followed by segregation by school, then by buildings within the same school, and then within the classroom.
NGO observers noted that Romani women faced both gender and ethnic discrimination and often lacked the training, marketable skills, or work experience needed to participate in the formal economy.
On April 8, International Roma Day, a member of the Alba-Iulia local council advocated that no mother should have more children than she can raise to avoid dependence on others, including the state. In 2013 the same council member advocated for the sterilization of Romani women who demonstrate “they have neither the means nor the intent” to raise children in adequate, “humane” conditions. At the time, the CNCD fined him 8,000 lei ($1,960).
In June the CNCD fined the Sibiu mayor’s office 5,000 lei ($1,230) for offending the dignity of a Romani community by proposing they be moved outside the city, where they would “benefit from the result of their labor,” implying the Roma would not work otherwise. The mayor’s office said this in the context of a request that this community, living at the outskirts of the city, be linked to the water system and be provided with better living conditions. The CNCD noted that the mayor’s office defended its position by asserting that people around the community had lodged complaints against the Roma for “uncivilized behavior.”
According to the 2011 census, the ethnic Hungarian population was approximately 1.2 million. The majority of Hungarians lived in the historical region of Transylvania, and they formed a majority in Harghita and Covasna Counties.
Ethnic Hungarians continued to report discrimination related mainly to their ability to use the Hungarian language. The law provides that, where a group speaking a minority language is at least 20 percent of the population, they have the right to use their mother tongue in dealings with local government. In August the political umbrella group Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania released a report on the government’s implementation of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The report asserted that ethnic Hungarians were not permitted to use Hungarian in courts or administrative matters and that many municipalities did not use bilingual signs. The report claimed the government continued to refuse to establish a public Hungarian-language university. The report also noted inadequacies in teaching Romanian to children who are native Hungarian speakers, leading to underperformance on national examinations.
In February a doctor in Cluj-Napoca children’s hospital refused to give a 17-year-old ethnic Hungarian girl and her parents medical information in Hungarian regarding a foot injury the girl received in a bus accident and also refused to communicate through a translator. According to the law, medical information must be provided to the patient in a language she or he understands. The National Council for Combatting Discrimination issued the minimum fine of 2,000 lei ($490) to the hospital and 1,000 lei ($245) to the doctor. The CNCD explained it wanted to signal there is a problem with discrimination but did not want to create financial difficulties for the underfinanced medical sector. The hospital’s appeal of the fine was pending at the end of September.
Ethnic Hungarians also complained of obstructions and bans against the use of the regional Szekler flag and symbols.
In the region of Moldavia, the Roman Catholic, Hungarian-speaking Csango minority continued to operate government-funded Hungarian language classes. In some other localities, authorities denied requests for Hungarian-language classes.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. There are no laws, however, that address sources of discrimination against transgender and intersex persons. NGOs reported that police abuse and societal discrimination against LGBTI persons were common and that open hostility generally prevented the reporting of harassment and discrimination.
ACCEPT, an NGO that promoted LGBTI rights, managed an on-line legal counselling service. During the year ACCEPT reported that 28 out of 106 requests for counselling were based on discrimination in employment or education on the grounds of sexual orientation or hate-speech against LGBTI persons. By mid-September, ACCEPT received two reports of police failing to intervene or to receive complaints from LGBTI individuals facing violence and abuse in Bucharest. In both cases, the perpetrators targeted gay men or individuals affiliated with the LGBTI community who were entering or leaving bars frequented by LGBTI persons.
Bullying remained a problem in high schools in the absence of discussions on diversity, equality, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Comprehensive sexual education programs were absent from the curriculum.
LGBTI and human rights NGOs claimed the signature-collection process for a pending referendum to define the family as based on a union between a man and woman presented irregularities and lacked transparency. They noted the signature collection happened in schools, leading to a hostile environment against LGBTI students. The NGOs also claimed this was a breach of education laws that ban political activities in schools. The Ministry of Education spokesperson declared the ministry issued an instruction to county school administrators about respecting the law. There was no monitoring or report on how this instruction was implemented.
In March ACCEPT released the results of a study on perceptions and attitudes related to LGBT students in high schools. The study included 613 responses from students in 10 high schools and 157 online responses from self-identified LGBT students. The main results among non-LGBT students included: 25 percent of the students believed that gay persons are inferior; 50 percent would not accept a gay classmate, and 33 percent would not accept a lesbian one; 40 percent believed gay persons should not teach; 20 percent would not step in if they saw violence against an LGBTI colleague or would even participate in the violence; and only 5 percent stated they would inform school leadership if they witnessed bullying or aggression against a colleague on account of sexual orientation. Of the LGBT children surveyed, 71 percent did not feel safe at school, particularly emotionally; 61 percent claimed they have been victims of or witnessed aggression; and 65 percent said their teachers made homophobic remarks.
Discrimination in employment occurred against LGBTI persons (see section 7.d.).
In April the ECHR decided against the state in the case of M.C. and A.C. v. Romania for failing to investigate the case of a group of youths who were severely beaten in 2006 after leaving a Pride parade as well as for failing to take into account the possible homophobic motivations of the attack.
Prior to the June 25 pride parade in Bucharest, which transpired without incident and included over 1,000 participants, approximately 50 persons took part in a “normalcy march” counterprotest sponsored by the extreme-right NGO New Right (Noua Dreapta), which also registered as a political party at the end of 2015.
The law governing the ability of transgender persons to change their identity was vague and incomplete, resulting in inconsistency in judicial practice concerning legal recognition of gender identity. In some cases authorities denied recognition of a change in identity unless a sex-reassignment intervention had occurred. Because of the difficult legal procedure for gender recognition, it was often impossible for transgender persons to get documents reflecting their gender identity, which led to difficulties in obtaining all services requiring identity documents (e.g., health care, transportation passes, and banking services). There were reports of transgender persons facing particular difficulties in accessing health care because doctors had very limited knowledge about transgender issues and, consequently, did not know how to treat transgender patients. There were almost no doctors who had the knowledge or willingness to undertake sex-reassignment surgery. Access to adequate psychological services was also limited because there were few specialists with the knowledge and expertise to deal with transgender issues, while others refused to accept transgender patients.
During the year the ACCEPT received two complaints from transgender persons who had changed their names through the Romanian legal system or an administrative body abroad, but who could not change their study diplomas due to a Ministry of Education order prohibiting name changes that occur after graduation.
There was a lack of training for medical staff working with the LGBTI community regarding communication skills, heteronormativity, confidentiality concerns, and discriminatory attitudes. Education in medical schools and in faculties of psychology on homosexuality and especially transgenderism was limited, with homosexuality presented in some faculties as a deviant behavior and illness.
HIV and AIDS Social Stigma
Societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS was widespread. Although the law provides that HIV-infected persons have the right to confidentiality and adequate treatment, authorities rarely enforced the law, and discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS impeded access to routine medical and dental care. Breaches of confidentiality involving individuals’ HIV status occurred. Incidents were severely underreported, and authorities did not adopt all necessary regulations to guarantee confidentiality and fair treatment.
According to a national survey conducted at the request of the CNCD in 2015, persons with HIV/AIDS were among the groups most subject to discrimination in the country. According to the survey, a majority of respondents indicated they would not want to be in direct contact or have social interactions with persons with HIV/AIDS. Only 10 percent of respondents would accept a person with HIV/AIDS as a relative, 16 percent as a friend, and 14 percent as a co-worker. Some 15 percent of respondents would accept the idea of persons with HIV/AIDS living on the same street, 13 percent in the same community, and 15 percent in the country. Approximately 6 percent would only accept persons with HIV/AIDS visiting the country.
Observers noted that authorities failed overall to protect children with HIV/AIDS from widespread discrimination, abuse, and neglect. Some doctors reportedly refused to treat children and youths with HIV/AIDS, while medical personnel, school officials, and government employees did not always maintain the confidentiality of information about infected children. HIV-infected adolescents frequently experienced reduced access to facilities for reproductive health care and the prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted infections. Stigma and discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS frequently impeded their access to education, other medical care, government services, and employment. Several infected persons dropped out of school due to stigmatization, discrimination, or disease.
In March the CNCD sanctioned the Ministry of Health, a private clinic, and one of its doctors in the case of a young person who asked for medical certification that he was fit to enroll in university, who instead received a certificate saying he was HIV-positive. The CNCD fined the clinic 5,000 lei ($1,230) and gave the doctor a warning for breach of confidentiality and limiting the victim’s right to education. The CNCD fined the Ministry of Health 5,000 lei for failing to adopt adequate instructions for medical staff on HIV/AIDS confidentiality standards.
Promotion of Acts of Discrimination
Throughout the year some local government officials made statements that contributed to ethnic stereotyping of Roma (see section 6, National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities).