Romania: Update to ROM20063 of 2 March 1995 regarding treatment of ethnic Hungarians serving in the armed forces or performing military service; avenues of redress available to ethnic Hungarians who suffer harassment and/or physical abuse during their service (1995 to January 2002)
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||30 January 2002|
|Citation / Document Symbol||ROM38280.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Romania: Update to ROM20063 of 2 March 1995 regarding treatment of ethnic Hungarians serving in the armed forces or performing military service; avenues of redress available to ethnic Hungarians who suffer harassment and/or physical abuse during their service (1995 to January 2002) , 30 January 2002, ROM38280.E , available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4be9d20.html [accessed 6 December 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
According to the General Secretary of the Cluj-Napoca-based Coalition for Civil Alternative Service in Romania, described as "a network of Romanian NGOs" founded in 1997 which advocate the introduction of civil alternative service and work closely with the Defense Ministry and other state bodies, discrimination against ethnic minorities is a widespread phenomenon in the Romanian army, although officially its existence is denied (17 Jan. 2002). Elaborating on this statement, the General Secretary added that although he was unaware of any publicized cases of ethnic Hungarian conscripts who had been ill-treated, he knew of cases in which Hungarian conscripts had been "insulted" and ordered to carry out "the most unpleasant" tasks (ibid.). However, although the General Secretary did not provide any details, he noted an improvement of the situation since 1995.
Asked about the availability of redress to ethnic Hungarian conscripts who had suffered discrimination, harassment or physical abuse in the ranks of the Romanian army, the General Secretary stated that in almost all cases, conscripts do not report such incidents for fear of reprisals (ibid.).
Referring to information included in a 1998 report on the situation of human rights in military units stationed in Tirgu Mures (central Romania), the programme co-ordinator of the human rights office of the Tirgu Mures-based Pro Europa League, an NGO promoting interculturalism, human rights and minority rights, and involved in civic education and conflict prevention (Pro Europe League 6 Jan. 2002), was aware of cases of ethnic Hungarian conscripts who had been "humiliated" because of their ethnicity (ibid. 11 Jan. 2002). This "humiliation" included the obligation to carry out additional tasks (ibid.). According to the programme co-ordinator, in general, the report of abuses in the army was a "problem" as victims must report to their superiors or to military prosecutors in criminal cases (ibid.). Based on his experiences, the programme co-ordinator indicated that in cases involving officers, witnesses were reluctant to testify and military prosecutors tended to "defend" officers (ibid.). The programme co-ordinator mentioned that all the sources whose statements were incorporated into the report asked to remain anonymous as information relating to the army may be considered to be secret and under Law 46 of 1996, they could be sentenced to serve again in the army (ibid.).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Coalition for Civil Alternative Service [Cluj-Napoca]. 17 January 2002. Correspondence from the General Secretary.
Pro Europa League [Tirgu Mures]. 11 January 2002. Correspondence from the programme coordinator of the human rights office.
_____. Last update on 6 Jan. 2002. Homepage.
[Accessed 23 Jan. 2002]
Additional Sources Consulted
War Resisters' International. September 1998. Edited by Bart Horeman and Marc Stolwijk. Refusing to Bear Arms: A World Survey of Conscription and Conscientious Objection to Military Service. London: War Resisters' International.
Unsuccessful attempts to contact a professor of sociology in Hungary.
Unsuccessful attempts to contact the Ethnocultural Diversity Resource Center.
Unsuccessful attempts to contact the Association for the Defence of Human Rights in Romania – Helsinki Committee.
Internet sites including:
Association for the Defence of Human Rights in Romania – the Helsinki Committee (APADOR-CH)
The Balkan Human Rights Web Pages
Center for Documentation and Information on Minorities in Europe - Southeast Europe (CEDIME-SE)
European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO)
European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)
Government Office for Hungarian Minorities Abroad
Government of Romania, Report on the progress in preparing the accession to the European Union 2001
Human Rights Watch
The International Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers
International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights
Progress Reports from the Commission on Progress towards Accession by
Project on Ethnic Relations
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
United Nations Commission on Human Rights
United Nations Development Programme in Romania
US Department of State Country Reports 2000-1996
War Resisters' International
World News Connection (WNC)