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Parliamentary bodies dealing with human rights :
Committee on Human Rights, Cults and Minorities

Type of parliamentary body Multifunctional
Nature Permanent
Related to chambers Senatul
Date of creation 1990
Last renewal date
Mandate The main fields of competence are: the question of human rights and citizen rights; the question of minorities; freedom of conscience; questions relating to religious cults; and freedom of expression. Issues are referred to the Committee which examines draft legislation and proposals for new laws which are within its competence; calls upon the public authorities for reports, information and documentation regarding its agenda; conducts parliamentary inquiries when it deems them to be necessary, after which reports are submitted to the Standing Bureau of the Senate; scrutinizes the ministries activities and other public administration bodies falling within its field of competence; debates and makes decisions on other questions at the Standing Bureau's discretion; and fulfils other tasks, in accordance with its own rules. Another role of the Committee relates to the examination of petitions received from citizens, containing individual or collective requests, or the views of citizens on draft legislation and legislative initiatives within the competence of the Committee. It is also empowered to make inquiries into the human rights of imprisoned citizens or of persons belonging to social categories confronting specific problems (for example: the Roma communities).
Membership Within the Senate, the Committee on Human Rights and Minorities has 11 members, representing all the political parties in Parliament. The composition of the Committee is established in proportion to the political balance in the Senate reflected by the initial constitution of the parliamentary groups, and by negotiation between representatives of these groups. The duration of the members' mandate is usually four years, corresponding to the duration of the parliamentary mandate. Nevertheless, the status of Committee member can sometimes cease before four years have elapsed; for example, at the suggestion of a senator's parliamentary group; the senator in question may be dismissed and replaced by another member of the same group.
Working methods In accordance with the Rules of the Senate, sessions are not public. The Committee may decide by vote to allow the representatives of the media to witness proceedings in certain circumstances. In the interest of the smooth progress in its proceedings, the Committee is empowered to invite specialists, representatives of public authorities, and representatives of NGOS to attend its debates. The Committee Bureau chooses the themes for discussion and puts them on the agenda, taking into account the importance of the questions and the time likely to be required for the discussions. Sessions are valid when a majority of members is present. Decisions are made by a majority vote among the members in attendance. The Committee may, within the limits of its competence and with the prior approval of the Standing Bureau, initiate parliamentary inquiries into the activity of a ministry or public authority.
Relations with other parliamentary bodies As a working body of the Senate, the Committee on Human Rights and Minorities cooperates with its corresponding body in the Chamber of Deputies (the Committee on Human Rights, Cults and Questions on National Minorities) and collaborates with and communicates information to the Standing Bureau of the Senate and the other working bodies of the two Chambers (including ad hoc or standing parliamentary committees).
Relations with external bodies The Committee cooperates closely with the government and the ministries (including the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Justice, amongst others), with the institution of the People's Advocate and the National Council for the fight against discrimination, an autonomous state authority under parliamentary control. In accordance with its role of parliamentary scrutiny, the Committee may ask central and local institutions of public administration to provide it with various reports, documents and information. The Committee also cooperates with NGOs, including the Romanian Institute for Human Rights (IRDO), the Association for the Defence of Human Rights - Helsinki Committee (APADOR-CH), and the League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADO), each of which are able to give competent and relevant opinions on draft legislation and proposals for new laws that are under examination, and on human rights violations by public institutions.
Subjects dealt with Most of the Committee's activity pertains to the examination of draft legislation and legislative initiatives and the deliberations related to them. The most significant draft bills to have been recently examined concern the prevention and repression of discrimination in all its forms; the protection of persons in the context of the treatment of personal information and the free circulation of data; the special protection of under-privileged youths; the fight against violence in the family; the respect of persons belonging to the Roma minority, including measures of positive discrimination; equality of opportunity for men and women. The Committee devotes another part of its activity to petitions received from citizens, relating to current human rights questions.
Main address Senate
Calea 13 Septembrie, nr. 1-3, sector 5
Phone +40 21 414 25 23
Fax +40 21 312 32 97
E-mail cdo@senat.ro
Website www.senat.ro
Name Ms. Rozalia-Ibolya Biró
Notes President
Name Ms. Steluta Gheorghe
Notes Counsellor
Address (if different from above)
Phone +40 21 414 26 80
Fax +40 21 312 32 97
E-mail stela.gheorghe@senat.ro
web site: ...

Information on this page was last updated on 31 March 2009
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