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22 June 2009

BUCHAREST -- The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Jorge Bustamante, has concluded his visit to Romania, which took place from 15 to 20 June 2009 at the invitation of the Government.

The Special Rapporteur is grateful to the Government of Romania for its cooperation and assistance as well as to the United Nations Country Team and the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator for the substantive and logistical support received. The Special Rapporteur also appreciates the assistance and cooperation of civil society organizations and academic institutions in the preparation and conduction of the mission.

"Labour migration is one of the key issues for domestic and foreign policy in Romania given the fact that both immigration and outmigration have been increasing in the recent years", said Mr. Bustamante. The number of children left behind by parents migrating abroad, the increasing need of qualified workers given the 'brain drain' phenomenon and the important number of Romanians working abroad are some of the trends that support the importance of labour migration in Romania.

The Special Rapporteur was encouraged to hear about several initiatives undertaken by civil society organizations, some in partnership with United Nations agencies and Governmental institutions, for the protection and assistance of victims of abusive forms of migration, such as trafficking in human beings and forced labour. He was further informed about two contrasting trends: the decrease in the trafficking in persons on the one hand, and the increase in the smuggling of migrant workers, on the other.

The Special Rapporteur met with a number of ministries and agencies responsible for migration governance, law enforcement, countering transnational organized crime and trafficking in human persons, and the protection of migrants and their families at the national and county level, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of Administration and Interior; the Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunity; the Parliament the National People's Advocate and the National Council for Combating Discrimination.

The Special Rapporteur also met with border control authorities and senior officials of the National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons, but regrets not having been able to interview persons benefiting from victims' protection programmes. He visited Bucharest, Galati, Constanta, Tulcea, Otopeni and Pitesti. He also visited centres where foreigners in irregular situation are accommodated and was provided access to interview some of them on a random basis. He noticed conditions of transparency in the procedures that detainees have to follow and was impressed with the infrastructure for the sharing of information on asylum-seekers at the European level. No complaints were made regarding the treatment provided to detainees with the exception of the quality of food, particularly in regard to religious preferences.

The Special Rapporteur was particularly encouraged by the Romanian pattern of ratification of international instruments regarding the protection of human rights. However, he noticed with regret that Romania has not ratified the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and members of Their Families adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1990. "I note the Government’s interest in addressing some of the problems related to the human rights of migrants but observe with concern certain gaps and ambiguities in the legislative framework regulating the protection of migrant workers", said the Special Rapporteur. "Romania, as other countries of recent membership in the European Union, mentioned as a reason for the non-ratification of the UN Convention on the protection of migrant workers and their families the fact that ratification has not been a practice accepted by the European Union", said the UN expert.

The Special Rapporteur will present a report on his visit to Romania at a forthcoming session of the Human Rights Council.

Mr. Jorge A. Bustamante, a Mexican national, is an independent expert appointed as Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants by the former Commission on Human Rights in 2005. His mandate was extended by the Human Rights Council in 2008 to help states and others, promote and protect the human rights of migrants. Some of the functions of the Special Rapporteur include to examine means and ways to overcome the obstacles existing to the full and effective protection of the human rights of migrants, recognizing the particular vulnerability of women, children and those undocumented or in an irregular situation. For additional information on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur: http://www2.ohchr.org/English/issues/migration/rapporteur/or contact migrant@ohchr.org


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