Romanian Institute for Human Rights
It was no sooner than the 19th century that the historical events and the European political, social and cultural developments had created the favourable framework for the assertion of women’s rights. Two important moments were the illuminist thinking and the development of the human right concept, followed by the proclamation, during the French Revolution, of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. A forerunner of the feminist activism was Olympe de Gouges (7 May 1748 – 3 November 1793), a dramatic author and an activist whose extremely popular writings advocated for the improvement of the slaves’ life conditions in the Colonies. Olympe de Gouges was the first to request that women should enjoy the same rights as men in her famous Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen of 1791. Thus, during the 19th century, the discussions about religious freedom, abolishment of slavery, the right to vote, etc., were paralleled by those on women’s freedom. Emmeline Pankhurst (15 July 1858 – 14 June 1928) was the British activist, leader of the suffragette movement, who helped women earn their right to vote. In 1999, “Time” magazine included her among the most important 100 personalities of the 20th century, saying that she shook society offering women a new dimension and a new image making any way back impossible. A remarkable feminine personality of Romania was Ana Ipătescu who became famous for her initiative power and heroism during the Forty-Eighters Revolution in Wallachia in 1848 and was also praised by the foreign papers of the time.
At the end of the Second World War, Eleanor Roosevelt (11 October 1884 – 7 November 1962) put pressure on the USA to accede the United Nations Organization and support the international Organization. She became the first delegate of her country to the United Nations. It was also she who supervised and contributed to the redaction of the content of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Women managed to make their voices heard after a long time when they had been put by society to inferior positions as compared to men, based on the idea that their only purpose was to take care of the household and the family.
Nowadays women hold leading positions in bodies and organizations that militate for the fundamental rights and freedoms and for women’s empowerment in the world, women who are peace ambassadors and defenders of the rights of refugees. All these rights have to be effectively and constantly promoted and protected. At the beginning of the 21st century, women’s rights are acknowledged by the international community and consecrated in a number of binding documents and instruments.
United Nations conclusions and recommendations concerning the implementation by Romania of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women – brief presentation
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict
Joint Statement on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, 25 November 2015
Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (The Istanbul Convention) (ETS 210)
Government Decision No. 365 of 24 May 2018 on approving the National Strategy for equality of opportunities and treatment between men and women and for preventing and combating domestic violence for the period 2018-2021 and the Operational Plan for the implementation of the National Strategy for equality of opportunities and treatment between men and women and for preventing and combating domestic violence for the period 2018-2021 ro
Law No. 35/2017 of 27 March 2017 on amending art. 23 of Law No. 217/2003 on preventing and combating domestic violence (text in Romanian)
Law No. 23 of 9 March 2015 on declaring 8 May as the Equality of Opportunities between Women and Men Day (text in Romanian)
Law No. 202 of 19 April 2002 on Equality of Opportunities and Treatment between Women and Men (text in Romanian)
- Drepturile femeii – reglementări internaţionale şi naţionale, IRDO, Bucureşti, 1995 (Women’s rights – International and national legislation)
- Şanse egale, şanse reale. Studii şi cercetări privind drepturile femeii – Equal Opportunities, Real Opportunities. Studies and Research on Women’s Rights, IRDO, Bucureşti, 1996
- Drepturile femeii – egalitate şi parteneriat, IRDO, Bucureşti, 1997 (Women’s rights – equality and partnership)
- Drepturile femeii – egalitate şi parteneriat, ediţia a II-a revizuită şi adăugită, IRDO, Bucureşti, 1997 (Women’s rights – equality and partnership, 2nd edition, revised and supplemented)
- Raport privind drepturile femeilor şi instituţiile naţionale pentru drepturile omului (contribuţie la raportul OSCE), IRDO, Bucureşti, 2012 (Report on women’s rights and the national human rights institutions) (contribution to the OSCE Report)
- Raport al Institutului Român pentru Drepturile Omului către Biroul Înaltului Comisariat ONU pentru Drepturile Omului cu privire la formele de discriminare multiplă şi violenţă împotriva femeilor şi fetelor în contextul rasismului, xenofobiei şi intoleranţei – Cum afectează discriminarea multiplă drepturile femeilor şi fetelor, 27 ianuarie 2017 (Report of the Romanian Institute for Human Rights submitted to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on forms of multiple discrimination and violence against women and girls in the context of racism, xenophobia and intolerance – The way multiple discrimination affects the rights of women and girls, 27 January 2017)
Sexual harassment at the workplace – Slovak National Centre for Human Rights
On November 13, 2023, the National Institute for Human Rights participated in the online seminar ”Sexual Harassment at the Workplace - Research and Data Use: Good Practice Shared by NHRIs and Equality Bodies”, organized by the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights in close collaboration with the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI).
Representatives of NHRIs and EQUINET focused on the importance of quantitative research on the phenomenon of sexual harassment, the collection of reliable statistical data and their use in research and reporting to European and international human rights mechanisms. Analysts, researchers, lawyers, legal experts, campaigners, advocacy experts and human rights activists shared their experience in the field.
The Slovak National Centre for Human Rights, with the support of ENNHRI Small grants programme, has presented its quantitative research on sexual harassment at the workplaces in healthcare sector in Slovakia.
The Slovak National Centre for Human Rights, in cooperation with the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions aimed to provide participants with the opportunity to compare available data and strategies, and to use such common expertise in their work at the national level. A guest speaker from the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights of Republic of Poland shared experience from their recent research studies and data usage. As a result, participants of the webinar were offered an opportunity to compare available data and strategies among NHRIs and employ shared expertise in their own work. Also, the research team of the Slovak Institute for Family and Labor, who has been working on the National Project on Prevention and Elimination of Gender Discrimination since 2018, with an explicit focus on sexual harassment as a form of discrimination or unequal treatment, analysed the specific conditions and factors that allow sexual harassment to flourish in workplaces. The team conducted a qualitative research in 2020, focusing on the narrations of individuals who have had experience with sexual harassment in the past 5 years. This contribution to the seminar aims to synthesize the results of the research with the extensive experience of the team with organizing prevention trainings for various organizations. With the aid of the obtained data, the team presents key areas within the organizational policies that need to be addressed if organizations want to respond to sexual harassment diligently and with a trauma-informed approach.
In the context of best practices exchange, the Romanian Institute for Human Rights presented during the event the publication “Practical guide on moral harassment at the workplace“ - result of the IRDO-ANES joint campaign to combat this phenomenon. The guide is addressed both to victims of harassment and to organizations whose employees have faced such cases.
”Women, Peace and Security” – Focal points network Conference
On November 7-9 2023, the Ministry of National Defense in partnership with the United States of America’s Department of State and UN Women organized the Conference Women, Peace and Security Focal Points Network.
Representatives of the Romanian Institute for Human Rights participated in the event along with experts, special guests representatives of the UN, NATO, EU, OSCE, AU (African Union), as well as representatives of civil society and academia. During the Conference, the co-chairs of 2023 (USA and Romania) reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring coherence and synergy within the National Focal Points Network to facilitate an effective mechanism in achieving WPS objectives.
The Romanian Institute for Human Rights is actively involved in promoting the achievement of the objective 5 of Sustainable Development - gender equality, as well as of the objectives 4 - quality education and 10 - reducing inequalities. Through the Working Group for women’s rights, representativeness and combating violence, as well as through its research, training and awareness activity, RIHR approaches the problems that women in Romanian society are facing in exercising their rights. The Institute promotes the need to ensure equal opportunities and treatment between women and men and combating violence in all its forms in a world of peace and security for all, where women’s participation in the decision-making process remains essential.
In the current security context, two topics of major importance were on the agenda, respectively Women in Security Sector and Women in Cyber Security, both fields being in a continuous evolution. During the presentations, the guests discussed a series of good practices in order to implement the Resolutions of the United Nations Security Council regarding the field of WPS (Women, Peace and Security), as well as the improvement of financing and assistance programs.
The Global Network of National Focal Points on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) was created to help member states and regional organizations improve and strengthen the implementation of the WPS Agenda at all stages of the decision-making process. In 2016, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs had the initiative to establish this organization in order to strengthen the process of implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda at the level of the UN member states, by sharing good practices and improving the coordination of programs in the field. The network currently has 100 members and is co-chaired in 2023 by the USA and Romania, the secretariat being provided by UN Women. Network members share their experiences with a view to implementing United Nations Security Council Resolutions on WPS and improving the coordination of programs in this field.
March 8, 2020
In the context of current challenges regarding the rights of women in the Romanian society and on the occasion of International Women's Day, the Romanian Institute for Human Rights, in collaboration with the civil society, organized the debate "Empowerment of women". RIHR representatives, along with Liliana Pagu, president of the Women's Association of Romania - Together and representatives of the Association of Christian Women, analyzed the existing obstacles in the field of promoting and protecting women's rights, proposing strategies to improve the results in this direction. The discussion tackled various issues such as the difficulties faced by the categories of vulnerable women (refugee women, women with disabilities, women belonging to ethnic minorities), the observance of their rights, women's access to justice and health services, as well as ways to combat violence against women and girls.
As part of the event, RIHR presented its booklet "Women's rights - a life without violence is the right of every woman", dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. 12 key areas that demand concrete interventions to ensure equal treatment and equal opportunities for women and men, girls and boys were identified within these reference documents. In many UN member countries, post-Beijing changes have taken place, but the 12 key areas continue to remain topical, because there is still much to be done so that women can enjoy their rights fully. In agreement with these necessary measures, in his message transmitted this year on the occasion of International Women's Day, the UN Secretary-General mentions that „Gender equality is a means of redefining and transforming power that will yield benefits for all. It is time to stop trying to change women, and to start changing the systems and power imbalances that prevent them from achieving their potential.” According to the report on social norms recently published by the UN, “91% of men and 86% of women show at least one clear bias against gender equality in areas such as politics, economic, education, intimate partner violence and women’s reproductive rights. About 50% of men and women interviewed across 75 countries say they think men make better political leaders than women, while more than 40% felt that men made better business executives.” Even more concerning is that the level of discrimination against women has increased in the last decade, despite all efforts.
In addition to the issue of gender equality, another topic addressed during the event referred to one of the 12 key areas, namely violence against women. Now, in 2020, Romania has broad legislation in the field of combating violence and considerable efforts are being made to harmonize it with the European legislative framework. However, there is the paradox of specialized legislation, on one hand, and the aggravation of the phenomenon of domestic violence, on the other.
In conclusion, the participants asserted that 8th of March is more than a symbol for women everywhere.
Useful links: http://irdo.ro/irdo/pdf/Drepturile%20Femeilor.pdf
- Symposium on “Zero tolerance for violence against women and domestic violence”
- Symposium on “Equality of treatment between men and women employees. Application of Directive 97/81/CE”
- Conference on “Equality of opportunities and treatment between women and men – a fundamental principle of human rights”
- Conference on “5 years since the adoption of Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence”
- Debate on “Equality of gender and encouragement of all women and girls – a goal of Agenda 2030”
- Campaign “Together for Peace”, popularized by RIHR in the framework of the event entitled “Prosperity and peace in 196 nations on the International Day of Peace”
Debate on “Let’s combat violence against women!”
United Nations conclusions and recommendations concerning the implementation by Romania of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
The 67th session of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women of July 2017 included on its agenda Romania’s periodic review with regard to the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
The UN Committee’s Report includes a number of observations and recommendations of a general nature but also related to some specific topics: women’s access to justice, the stereotypes issue, violence against women, women traffic and sexual exploitation, political representation, education, labour market, health, rural women’s status, migrant women, women facing multiple discrimination, marriage and family relations.
The positive aspects mentioned in the periodic review include: the amendments adopted in 2013, 2015 and 2016 to Law No. 217/2003 on preventing and combating domestic violence; the amendments adopted in 2012 and 2015 to Law No. 202/2002 on equal opportunities and treatment for women and men; and the new Criminal Code that harmonizes the legislation on the traffic of persons.
It also refers to the national strategies adopted during the reviewed time period related to equality of opportunities for women and men, combating traffic of persons and preventing and combating domestic violence alongside with the corresponding plans of action. No less important, the review appreciated ratification by Romania of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified in 2008, and Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (The Istanbul Convention), ratified in 2016.
At the same time, with regard to the visibility and the invocation of the Convention in the national legislation, the Committee expressed its concern related to the fact that the Convention is not directly invoked, it is not sufficiently applied by the Courts and it is not known by the public. Also, there are no statistic data on women who claimed their right to non-discrimination and equality by invoking either the Convention or the national legislation in the field. This indicates that the Convention and its Optional Protocol are hardly known by those working in the field of justice and by women in general.
The Romanian State should improve data collection. These are important because they offer the instruments identifying efficiently the cases of multiple discrimination and measuring the impact of the gender equality policies and strategies.
Parliament of Romania has a crucial role for the implementation of the Convention. The Legislative should take all measures for the Committee’s recommendations to be implemented by the next country report of 2021.
The Committee’s conclusions and recommendations can be seen here.