The 59th Session of the Commission on Human Rights

Counsellor, National Council for Combating Discrimination

Item 6:
Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and all forms of discrimination
Geneva, March 25th, 2003

Madame Chairperson,

Romania continues to make important steps in promoting equal chances and combating discrimination as a way to ensure full respect and implementation of the human rights.

The Romanian legislative framework, based on international and European legal documents, provides the principle of equality among all persons, without discrimination on account of race, nationality, ethnical origin, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation, belief, political orientation, wealth or social origin, appurtenance to a disfavoured category. Sanctions for the perpetration of discrimination deeds are also stipulated.

A key element of the internal legislation aiming at combating discrimination is the organisation of the National Council for Combating Discrimination, a governmental body with the role of implementing the principles of non-discrimination and of sanctioning the discrimination deeds. In the exercise of its functions, the Council independently carries out its activities without any influence from other public administrative bodies.

The activity of the National Council for Combating Discrimination is focused on three main directions: prevention, sanction and cooperation.

1. In the field of prevention, the Council has elaborated the National Action Plan for Combating Discrimination, a complex strategy meant to combat discrimination by adopting positive measures regarding each ground of discrimination. The implementation of this ambitious strategy is supposed to be achieved with the support of civil society and competent NGO's. Experience teaches us that there are many persons who ignore their own rights and how can the exercise of these rights be infringed by discrimination deeds. This is why national-wide raising awareness campaigns must be developed and that will be our next step.

2. One of the most important responsibilities of the Council is to enforce the legislation and apply sanctions. The National Council for Combating Discrimination has the power to sanction directly, by contravention fines, all discrimination deeds as they resulted from petitions, complains and from the monitoring of press articles.

3. Knowing that civil society has specific expertise in promoting equal chances and preventing discrimination on different particular grounds, the Council has launched the initiative of creating the National Alliance Against Discrimination, as a opened forum of debates aimed at protecting human rights from the perspective of preventing discrimination and promoting positive actions. This the most significant step taken by Romania in the post-Durban period in the fight against discrimination. In this respect, we want to invite everyone interested to develop such initiative at European and international level and to join our efforts in this area.

I thank you

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