Commission on Human Rights

Fifty-eighth session
Item 10: Economic, social and cultural rights

Comments by Mr. Petru Dumitriu, delegation of Romania, on the Statement of the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing

GENEVA - 8 April 2002 -

My delegation would like to thank Mr. Miloon Kothari, the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, for his interest in the housing situation in Romania, his extensive work done during the country mission in Romania and the statement presented today.

The Romanian Government, as well as professional associations, non-governmental organizations and other representatives of the civil society, were glad to offer to the Special rapporteur access to all relevant segments of population and to areas of interest.

The Government in particular used the occasion of the visit, to present its strategies, plans of action and achievements, and to share the existing difficulties and problems.

The findings of the Special rapporteur on the housing situation in Romania constitute a fair statement. The persistence of the difficulties presented can very briefly explained and understood, if we take into account two main aspects:

The housing policies that existed during the communist regime can be summarized in a few words: poor housing for all. State subsidies, state loans were the basic tool in doing so. Services, like heating, hot water and electricity, were centrally planned and distributed. Sometimes they were quite precarious, especially in the provincial towns. Now, the infrastructure is almost the same, but the means of the state in providing public services diminished considerably. The market oriented reform, liberalization of prices, breaking of monopolies have put their own imprints on the situation, by fuelling the pains of the transition, before producing their healthy expected results.

At the same time, an emerging private market in housing generated amazing results in producing high quality individual houses. The private property is generalized. The tourist areas also witness unprecedented flourishing in terms of housing. The positive signs, already visible, will be increasing their mark as the economy is recovering after the most difficult years of transformations and a quite long period of negative growth. Renewing of economic expansion will not only stimulate the already existing dynamism of the private sector and the sound forces of the market, rebuild the huge potential of the private entrepreneurship and property, but also enhance the capability of the Government to sustain its social policies, including in the housing sector.

In conclusion, the housing situation in Romania does not indicate problems from the strict human rights perspective. The current situation will certainly improve not only due the careful governmental policies as to housing, fighting discrimination, halting poverty and consolidating middle class, but also as a consequence of the ascending line of the economic indicators over the last two years.

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