U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Romania
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||30 January 1998|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Romania, 30 January 1998, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa1c20.html [accessed 16 September 2014]|
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, January 30, 1998.
ROMANIARomania is a constitutional democracy with a multiparty, bicameral parliamentary system, a head of government (prime minister), a directly elected head of state (president), and a separate judiciary. Despite a recent reorganization of the judicial system, the executive branch exercises influence over the judiciary. The Ministry of Internal Affairs supervises the police. The national police have primary responsibility for security, but the Government may call on the army and border guard to assist the police to maintain internal order. The Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) carries out internal intelligence functions. Elected civilian authorities exercise full control over the security forces, many of whose senior officials were replaced by the Government in 1997. Some police officers committed serious human rights abuses. Romania is a middle-income developing country in transition from a centrally planned to a market economy. In 1996 the private sector accounted for about 52 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and employed 53.5 percent of the work force, primarily in agriculture and services. Although privatization is under way, heavy industry still consists largely of state-owned enterprises. The economy is expected to contract by 2 to 3 percent in 1997. The GDP for 1997 is projected to be about $1,500 per capita. Exports rose over 56 percent from 1993 to 1996 but were expected to show minimal growth this year. Inflation was down to 56.9 percent in 1996 but rose to about 130 percent by year's end as the marketplace rather than the Government began to determine the price of goods. The Government generally respected the human rights of its citizens; however, several serious problems remained. Police continued to beat detainees. The Government investigated police officers suspected of abuse and indicted officers accused of criminal activities in military courts. However, investigations of police abuses are generally lengthy and indeterminate, and rarely result in prosecutions or punishment. Poor prison conditions led to hunger strikes and violent protests in February. The judiciary remains subject to executive branch influence, although it was reorganized and is increasingly independent. Discrimination and violence against women remained serious problems. A large number of impoverished and apparently homeless children continued to roam the streets of large cities. Government and societal harassment of religious minorities was a problem. Discrimination and violence against Roma continued.