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The Romanian Institute for Human Rights (IRDO), a national, independent institution, is invested under its constitutive law with powers of research, training, dissemination of information and consultancy. The law also guarantees independence and equidistance, in conformity with the criteria established for this type of institutions by the United Nations and the Council of Europe, which recommends that all democratic countries should establish such institutions.

Ever since the creation of the Institute, the United Nations Center for Human Rights in Geneva and the Romanian Government signed an agreement on the implementation of a Technical Assistance Programme for several years. On conclusion of the Programme, in the final evaluation, it was appreciated as "the first comprehensive country programme of advisory services and technical assistance in the field of human rights" conducted by the Human Rights Center.

Even though initially assigned only the role of 'addressee' of some assistance activities, IRDO assumed the role of partner and co-organizer and was regarded as such by the UN Center in Geneva from the very beginning.

The Programme consisted of several series of courses, adapted to the specific needs of the various professional groups. These included the cycles "Human Rights in the Administration of Justice", Teaching and Learning Human Rights", "The Media and Human Rights", "Human Rights and the Issue of Minorities", "Prevention and Resolution of Conflicts between Citizens and the Local Administration", "Rights of the Child", etc.

The target of these cycles of courses were judges, prosecutors, lawyers, members of the Police staff and the staff of penitentiaries, staff members of primary and secondary schools, staff members of the local and the central administration, representatives of the media and of NGOs taking interest in the field of human rights, etc.

As is appreciated in the Evaluation Report by the UN Commission on Human Rights, "IRDO became in actual fact a central actor, with regard both to assistance in the organization of seminars and to the production and dissemination of information material. Indeed - the UN experts further wrote - in many ways IRDO has been the Centre's local partner, acting as unofficial contact between the Centre and Government officials and agencies, supplying logistical support, issuing invitations to participants, recruiting local experts, translating and distributing programme materials, providing premises and interpretation facilities, and so on. ... [It] is clear that, without its support, the programme would not have advanced as effectively as has been the case".

The proportion of the training-for-trainers activities grew every year, the Institute embarking on the intensive organization of courses at zone and later at county level.

With the activity of the Romanian Institute for Human Rights, the norms and the standards laid down in the international treaties on human rights, as well as the jurisprudence of the international tribunals in the field have been a permanent preoccupation in terms of its specific powers, consisting of research, training, information and consultancy.

The reports that have been published render a detailed picture of these activities as a whole, most of which were organized by the Institute in partnership with Parliament of Romania, the Government and Ministries with specific powers, as well as non-governmental organizations taking interest in the field.

We shall only briefly mention a few of them, namely, the research activities devoted to the international instruments and the rights they include, published in the quarterly "Drepturile Omului" (Human Rights) and/or in the framework of scientific events, as well as the training-for-trainers courses organized for various professional categories. We shall also mention the volume "Jurisprudenţa Curţii europene a drepturilor omului" (Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights), by Vincent Berger, former Chief Registrar of the Court of Strasbourg, of which five Romanian editions have been published so far, each printed only several months after its French counterpart; the volume "Din jurisprudenţa Curţii europene a drepturilor omului - Cazuri privind România" (Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights - Cases regarding Romania), as well as a work grouping together the international regulations where Romania is a party, in two volumes, now at the sixth edition.

A working instrument indispensable to those who are the first, by their very professional activity, to implement the international standards and norms in the field of human rights and a cornerstone to the holders of these rights, the first volume includes the ensemble of the regulations with universal applicability, translated into Romanian, from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the documents having a general character to the Conventions on specific rights and the protection of certain categories of persons.

Referring to the second volume, devoted to the regional treaties, we shall mention, beside the European Convention on Human Rights and its Additional Protocols, the chapters dealing with the prevention of torture, public healthcare, education, culture, protection of the environment, movement of persons, data protection, protection of minorities, the European Social Charter and, particularly, those devoted to such fields as the civil law, the criminal law, the public law and bioethics.

As far as IRDO's activity on human rights education is concerned, an international acknowledgement is the fact that the National Commission on Human Rights beside the French Prime-Minister awarded the Institute an Honourable Mention in 1998 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is also worth mentioning that IRDO has been elected in various structures of several international bodies devoted to the promotion and the protection of human rights.