Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights on his mission to Romania – 2016

The Special Rapporteur found that, while Romania has made great progress since the Communist era in eradicating poverty, today it lags behind almost all other European Union countries in most measures of poverty and social exclusion. This is particularly problematic given the view of most observers that it has the fiscal space to do much more if the political will existed. Many Romanian officials are in denial about the extent of poverty and especially about the systemic and deep-rooted discrimination against the extremely poor, particularly the Roma, as illustrated by cases of forced evictions and police abuse. The report examines in detail the alarming levels of poverty and social exclusion faced by Roma, children in rural areas, and children and adults with disabilities. It finds that Romania’s social security system, based on a “social safety net” approach and heavily oriented towards cash benefits, is problematic and treats social protection as a charitable undertaking rather than a right. Other problems include a tax policy that underpins unduly low levels of social spending, a lack of technical expertise in key ministries, and the decentralization of responsibilities unmatched by the provision of adequate resources. The Special Rapporteur’s recommendations include official acknowledgement of the extent of continuing discrimination against Roma, the collection of disaggregated data on ethnicity in order to devise effective measures of redress, effective domestic implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, increased social spending and social services, and the implementation of necessary
institutional reforms.

Read the full UN report here