The Romanian government in the midst of a pandemic wants to control NGOs active in the fight against human trafficking.

On the evening of 10 March 2020, the Ministry of Internal Affairs published the Draft for amending and supplementing the Regulation on the organization and functioning of the National Agency against Trafficking in Human Beings (ANITP), which proposes a number of amendments, including the responsibility of ANITP to monitor and evaluate the activity carried out in the field of the fight against human trafficking by non-governmental organizations (Art. 2 (1) and Art. 10 (c) .These amendments come to complete the implementation framework of & nbsp; 460/2011 on the organization and functioning of the National Agency Against Trafficking in Human Beings, which provides for the monitoring and evaluation of NGOs by ANITP.

The Independent Working Group Against Trafficking in Persons and Migrants (THB-WG) sent to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, yesterday, March 19, 2020, a letter with recommendations regarding the elimination of the provisions on monitoring and evaluation of the activity of non-governmental organizations by ANITP and requesting the appointment of the role of national rapporteur in the field of trafficking in human beings to an independent mechanism and not ANITP, in line with the recommendations of international bodies.

Also, the Independent Working Group against Trafficking in Persons and Migrants (THB-WG) and 12 other NGOs active in the fight against trafficking in human beings, given that the proposal for these changes will affect the work of NGOs, have requested the Ministry of Internal Affairs to postpone the adoption of such a normative act in order to hold a real public debate, with the participation of civil society, in which to discuss both the new proposals and the amendment of GD 84/2018 to eliminate the above provisions. p>

Therefore, in the opinion of non-governmental organizations active in the fight against human trafficking, this draft Order, together with GD 84/2018, is a cause for concern because it directly aims at limiting and controlling their activity by a public institution, a clear act intimidation and censorship and, therefore, violation of democratic values.

NGOs are dismayed that at a time when Romania is facing dramatic situations due to the COVID-19 epidemic, and most state authorities are focused on fighting this pandemic, the Ministry of Internal Affairs is allocating time to continue the efforts of previous governments to control non-governmental organizations, efficient and valuable collaborators in the fight against human trafficking. These steps were condemned by the current government, when it was in opposition, as anti-democratic and in fact “ a disguised act of censorship against non-governmental organizations “.

NGOs hope that in this emergency, when there is a maximum risk of limiting human rights, the government will show a real interest in defending and protecting democratic values and will work closely with civil society to maintain a legal framework in which these values are protected.

Contact person: Silvia Tăbușcă, silvia.tabusca@ecler.org

Press release supported by:

1. Asociația Centrul de Advocacy și Drepturile Omului

2. Fundația Agenția de Dezvoltare Comunitară Împreună

3. Asociația WorldTeach

4. Asociația Femeilor Române din Italia

5. Fundația Freedom House România

6. Fundația Ușa Deschisă

7. Fundația ReachingOut

8. Asociația Valoare Plus

9. Asociația Cultural Socială Economică Christiana

10. Asociația Centrul European pentru Educație și Cercetare Juridică

11. Asociația Solidaritatea pentru Libertatea de Conștiință

12. Asociația Serviciul Iezuiților pentru Refugiați din România

13. Grupului Independent de Lucru Împotriva Traficului de Persoane și Migranți (THB-WG)

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