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NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR COMBATING DISCRIMINATION
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Romanian legislative framework in the field of discrimination provides for the principle of equality among all citizens without discrimination on account of race, nationality, ethnic origin, language, religion, gender, belief, political orientation, fortune or social origin1, as well as sanctioning acts of discrimination2. Government Decision no. 1194/2001 on the Organisation and Functioning of the National Council for Combating Discrimination, provides for the creation of the National Council for Combating Discrimination3, an independent body created to implement the principles of equality and non-discrimination.
The Council’s purpose is to promote the principle of equality between all citizens. In the exercise of its functions, the Council carries out its activities independently, without any restriction or influence from other public institutions or authorities.
The National Council for Combating Discrimination is headed by its Steering Board, the decision-making body, which was appointed on 31 July 20024.
The Council performs the following functions with a view to fulfilling the tasks set out by law:
The Council is responsible for the application of the Government’s policy in the field of anti-discrimination. By law, the Council also monitors the application of equal treatment regarding non-nationals.
The National Council for Combating Discrimination aims to implement the principle of equality among citizens and to prevent, as well as to combat, acts of discrimination. It aims to achieve these goals through three primary actions, as follows.
The National Council for Combating Discrimination works to prevent discrimination by:
The National Council for Combating Discrimination receives and reviews the petitions and complaints regarding violations of the legal provisions concerning the principle of equality and non-discrimination from individuals and groups of persons, NGOs active in human rights protection, other legal entities, and public institutions. The Steering Board of the National Council for Combating Discrimination, exercising its decision-making role, analyses the petitions and complaints received, and adopts, by decisions, the appropriate measures, following investigations carried out by the specialised staff of the Council (the Inspection Team). Once the decision has been adopted, the Steering Board decides on the fine that is to be paid by the person or by the legal entity, for perpetrating a discriminatory act.
It is possible to appeal against the sanctions applied for committing the discriminatory act under the procedure provided by the common law in the legal domain of offences5.
For all discrimination cases, the victims are entitled to claim damages, proportional to the act, as well as the restoration of the situation prior to discrimination or to the cessation of the situation created by discrimination, in accordance with common law. Upon request, the court can order that the competent authorities withdraw the licence of legal entities that significantly prejudice society by means of a discriminatory action or have repeatedly violate the provisions of the Government Ordinance no. 137/2000. Human rights non-governmental organisations can appear in court as parties in cases involving discrimination pertaining to their field of activity and which prejudice a community or a group of persons.
The Council is headed by the President. In the field of establishing and sanctioning discriminatory acts, the President is assisted by a Steering Board.
The National Council for Combating Discrimination has launched the establishment of the National Alliance against Discrimination (NAD), in order to co-operate effectively with civil society and social partners. NAD is an open-ended forum for debate for all NGOs that are active in human rights protection and preventing discrimination, as well as trade unions. The aims of the Alliance are to assist in the implementation of the National Plan for Combating Discrimination and to identify issues of particular concern. Furthermore, members of the Alliance may formulate declarations and recommendations concerning different aspects of combating discrimination. So far, 40 organisations are members of the NAD.
In order to achieve full harmonisation of the internal legislation covering anti-discrimination, the National Council for Combating Discrimination has proposed the establishment of an Inter-ministerial Committee for preventing discrimination. Key ministers involved in promoting legal initiatives to combat discrimination and promoting equality will be members of this committee.
Recognising both the experience and expertise of different bodies in certain fields, the Council has initiated protocols of collaboration with some ministries and public bodies, in order to offer mutual support and to co-operate in organising activities for the prevention of discrimination. Protocols have already been signed with the Ministry of the Interior. To date, Protocols are ready to be signed with the Ministries of Culture and Denominations, Youth and Sports, Public Information and Public Administration.
To promote the concepts of non-discrimination and equality within universities, the National Council for Combating Discrimination has contacted the universities across Romania in order to establish centres for study and research on discrimination in universities. The aim of this programme is to train specialists in non-discrimination and to familiarise students with situations which can develop into acts of discrimination. In this respect, it is intended to organise seminars, conferences and round tables, to carry out studies on non-discrimination issues and to organise practical training sessions for interested students.
National Council for Combating Discrimination
1 The Romanian Constitution
2 The Romanian Penal Code, Government Ordinance no. 137/2000 On Preventing and Punishing All Forms of Discrimination (adopted by Law 48/2002), Emergency Government Ordinance no. 31/2002 on prohibiting the activities of some organisations and symbols having a fascist, racist or xenophobic character and prohibiting propaganda used by persons who committed crimes against peace and humanity;
3 Government Decision no. 1194/2001 on the Organization and Functioning of the National Council for Combating Discrimination;
4 The decision of the Prime Minister of the Romanian Government, no. 139/31.07.2002
5 Government Ordinance no. 2/2001 on the legal framework on offences