U.S. report: Romania respects religious freedom, yet there is discrimination


The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom and, in practice, the government generally respected religious freedom, shows U.S. Department of State International Religious Freedom Report for 2013.
According to the report, local authorities, however, continued to fail to respond to complaints of discrimination by minority religious groups. The lack of progress on restitution of Greek Catholic churches transferred by the former communist government to the Romanian Orthodox Church in 1948 remained a significant problem.
There were reports of societal discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice. Some Orthodox clergy continued to display hostility toward non-Orthodox religious groups, including denying them access to cemeteries.
Embassy and visiting U.S. government officials met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to raise concerns about the government’s failure to ensure the full restitution of religious properties seized by former fascist and communist regimes. Embassy representatives met with Muslim, Jewish, and Greek Catholic leaders and communities. Embassy officials continued to support the government’s efforts to acknowledge fully the country’s role in the Holocaust.
The report also notes that the constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom, but they impose restrictions on minority religious groups in terms of registration requirements and granting official religion status.  Thus, religious associations are legal entities that do not receive government funding and must be registered as such in a religious association registry. To register, religious associations must have 300 citizen members and must submit members’ personal data. The membership requirement for registration of any other type of association is three members. Religious associations receive only limited tax exemptions. The section of the religion law on tax exemptions confers exemptions “according to the fiscal code;” however, the fiscal code does not address the issue of tax exemptions for religious associations.

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