Acting national leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea on Friday said he will submit several amendments to the tolerance and human dignity bill initiated by him, and one of them will be to repeal the wording “political affiliation” from the definition of social groups.
“I have very closely watched all the observations related to the law on tolerance and human dignity that were issued in the public space. I want each citizen to feel safe in their country, to feel that their life, family and dignity are defended. Starting from the idea that certain minorities or groups could organise or are organised as some political organisations, political affiliation emerged in the definition of social groups in the text of the bill. The spirit of the law was not to protect in any way political parties or leaders from criticism. In order to eliminate any risk that could emerge for anyone to ever be able to use the provision to protect the party or the actions thereof, the notion will be repealed,” Dragnea told a press conference.
He added that also repealed will be a provision regarding personal wealth and suggested diminishing the fines in the bill.
“The object of the bill is not to slap fines, but to initiate education for tolerance. That is why, as the initiator of the bill, I will submit to the Chamber of Deputies an amendment to diminish by much the size of fines to a symbolic level, because that was the main target of the bill. Inside the Chamber’s committees, we will analyse much better the definitions and provisions in order to eliminate any risk that could emerge in the spirit and objectives of the law,” said Dragnea.
Dragnea mentioned that the law was not designed to censure, but as a legal means to support free expression, mutual respect and human dignity.
“Social defamation” law adopted by Senate on Wednesday
The Senate adopted on Wednesday the law on the promotion of human dignity and tolerance toward group differences, a law filed in the Senate by PSD Interim President Liviu Dragnea. The law was adopted with 52 votes in favour, 23 against and 3 abstentions.
The law will next enter the Lower Chamber, which has the final say on it. According to the Senate’s decision, social defamation could result in fines ranging from RON 1,000 to 30,000 if it targets a physical person, and RON 2,000 to 100,000 if it targets a social group, almost two-times higher than the RON 60,000 fine set by the initiator of the law.
The legislative proposal also seeks the setting up of the Department for the Promotion of Human Dignity and Tolerance, within the National Antidiscrimination Council.
Social-Democrat Liviu Dragnea’s proposal at the same time seeks the promotion of human dignity and tolerance in schools too, but also at the level of the public administration and civil servants. Likewise, the draft law points out that human dignity and tolerance should also be promoted through the mass-media. Moreover, any employer with at least 50 employees should include in its statutes a set of rules concerning the respect for human rights, the combating of discrimination and the promotion of human dignity and of tolerance toward group differences.
Some PNL voices oppose the legislative proposal
Opposition toward the draft law came from several PNL MPs, Liberal Senator Emil Pascan stating that tolerance cannot be imposed by force, in a coercive manner, and that if it were so simple there would no longer have been any wars.
“Romanians have always been a tolerant people, they don’t need a law that would impose tolerance,” the Liberal stated, adding that “this draft law cannot contribute to the improvement of the atmosphere between us and the minorities.”
PNL Senator Octavian Motoc also contested the law: “I come from Dobrogea, considered a model of tolerance, there was no need for constraints such as this draft law in order for this model to exist.”