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Report of the Commission of Inquiry to examine the observance by Romania of the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111)

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Court/Judicial body:International Labour Organization

Instrument(s) cited:ILO Convention No. 111 on Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention

Case summary

A complaint was filed with the International Labour Organization against Romania in relation to the treatment of members of ethnic minorities, in particular Romanian citizens of Hungarian origin. Among other things, the complaint alleged the forcible dispersement, resettlement and employment of the Hungarian minority. In relation to children’s rights, the complaint highlighted discrimination against children of Hungarian origin and other minority children in education, training and employment, including the introduction of restrictions on Hungarian language education and access to higher education. Notably, the Romanian Government was overthrown between the filing of the complaint in 1989 and the issuing of the Commission of Inquiry’s conclusions in 1991. With this in mind, the Commission of Inquiry found the evidence of discrimination against minority groups under the previous government to be conclusive, but also that changes made in Romanian laws and policies since that time had appreciably improved minority access to education and employment. However, the Commission noted ongoing issues in access to justice for rights violations, a general lack of tolerance of minority groups, and unequal opportunity and treatment. Accordingly, the Commission recommended that Romania take measures to end all discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity or national origin. With respect to children, the Commission proposed that Romania adopt language policies that meet the cultural and economic needs of minorities; implement the rights of minorities to their cultural identities; balance the teaching of Romanian and minority languages such that all citizens master Romanian while at the same time being able to engage in trades and professions using their own language; and step up efforts to train teachers of Rom origin and ensure that children of Rom origin attend school.

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