Romania continues to be affected by institutional corruption and the judiciary remains vulnerable to political influence, the State Department noted, denouncing the conditions in detention centers and the fact that political interference caused damages to freedom of the press. According to the US State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2012, Romania continues to be affected by institutional corruption and its judiciary is not fully independent and remains vulnerable to political interference. “Government corruption remained a widespread problem that affected all sections of society,” the report points out.
The State Department report also denounces the conditions within detention centers, as well as the damages caused to the freedom of the press by political interferences. Other human rights problems registered in Romania are the police’s and gendarmerie’s abuse of prisoners and ethnic Romani, including the killing of three Romani men suspected of theft. Romania has a generally independent press and journalists and citizens can criticize government authorities, including high-ranking officials, the report shows. “However, several journalists and members of NGOs received death and other threats from unknown sources during political turmoil connected with the referendum on the removal of the country’s president,” the document states, underscoring that “threats to journalists undermined media freedom.” “While the independent media were active and expressed a wide variety of views without overt restriction, politicians and persons with close ties to politicians and political groups either owned or indirectly controlled numerous media outlets at the national and local levels. The news and editorial tone of these outlets frequently reflected the views of the owners,” the report emphasizes. The document also denounces the detention conditions. “Prison condition remained somewhat harsh and at times did not meet international standards,” the US State Department experts point out.
The report denounces “the lack of judicial independence and impartiality,” as well as the “vulnerability of the judiciary to political influence.” “Property restitution remained extremely slow, and the government extended compensation for another year. The government failed to take effective action to return the Greek Catholic churches confiscated by the former Communist government,” the State Department underscores, also denouncing violence and discrimination against women, child abuse and anti-Semitic actions, statements and articles. Moreover, “anti-Semitic, racist, xenophobic, and nationalistic views continued to be disseminated via the Internet,” the report warns. “Government agencies provided inadequate assistance to persons with disabilities and neglected persons with disabilities in institutions. There was systematic societal discrimination against Roma,” the report goes on to say, also criticizing societal discrimination against sexual minorities.
The government took only “hesitant steps to prosecute and punish officials who committed abuses,” the report adds, taking note of the fact that a former prime minister was convicted and imprisoned on corruption charges. “Lawsuits involving alleged police abuse were repeatedly delayed and in many cases ended in acquittals,” the report reads.Referring to the US State Department’s criticism of the Police’s and Gendarmerie’s abusive actions against the ethnic Roma, Defence Minister Mircea Dusa stated on Sunday that statements of that kind should not characterize the activity of Romanian institutions.