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Nine O' Clock - 03/09/2001
The Government to prepare special law on the protection of the rights of all children
Alina Grigoras

BUCHAREST - The representatives of the Power met at the Cotroceni Palace, on Friday, to talk about the rights of the child in Romania.

They pleaded for turning the issue of the rights of the child into a national priority and for the enlargement of the concern of both the authorities and the public for all children, not only for those in care.

IN this context, the Government launched the frame-programme for the implementation of the National Strategy for Romanian Children, called “A Society Concerned with all Children,” plan which will be presented at the UN Special Session on childrens’ rights scheduled for this month.

PM Adrian Nastase said that the children’s issue was an accession criterion for EU and tehrefore, “we are still in the position of having to produce explanations.” “This issue has turned into a label for Romania and has left us with the feeling that children in care are the preoccupation of the international community rather than of the Romanian society,” said Nastase.p_

The Prime Minister announced that the Government had set as a goal to decrease by 10,000 the number of institutionalised children by the end of the year and by 25,000 by 2004.

He pointed out that, over the past years, the non-repayable funding from the international community had grown and that this year’s budget for children was supplemented by 1,600 billion ROL.

He referred to the special EU fund of 19.5 million Euro for children in need, programmes funded by the World Bank, as well as the 15 million USD programme to be developed over the next five years, in partnership with the US Government.

p_ Nastase also said that the Executive would not tolerate any act of corruption in the procedures of international adoption, to “fight the temptation of some to use adoptions as an industry or bid.”

“Unfortunately, our attention has been almost exclusively focused on institutionalised children.

We are now on the verge of enlarging the approach angle to also include the general problematique of children,” Nastase emphasised.

From this point of view, the Government will debate, before the end of this month,the Childrens’ bill which will regulate both the legal adoption framework and a normative system on the observance of the rights of all children.

In turn, President Ion Iliescu said that the rights of the child are a national priority.

The head of the state emphasised the need to deal with the childrens’ issue by measures which should target the social welfare, medical care and rural education. Ion Iliescu drew the attention to the decrease of the number of children in the overall population and to the fact that over 60 per cent of children have families with small income.

“Any facility created one way or another for each child makes the burden the parents have to carry easier,” the head of the state pointed out. He proposed that, within ten days, the decision making factors should make suggestions for administrative measures,

Government resolutions and the completion of the legal procedures on the Rights of the Child, so that the Government be able to present a full programme at the UN in New York, where the President will also participate. p_ Being a special guest at this event,

Baroness Emma Nicholson said that Romania had made “remarkable progress” as far as the children-related issues go and declared herself satisfied with the Government having shown the political will to draft a programme concerned with the children.

Baroness Nicholson stressed that this programme and the efforts in the field of social welfare would also ease Romania’s accession to NATO.

She announced that her final report on the year 2001 which she will submit to the European Parliament, will make reference to the programme for children initiated by the Government in Bucharest, would illustrate the poverty in Romania but will also bring good news about the investments climate. p_ Another initiative launched at Friday’s national debate was the establishment of the Child Ombudsman, to operate as an advisory body within the current institution of the Ombudsman.

In the view of the authorities, the Child Ombudsman is “meant to determine the Government, the local and central authorities, to use the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a basis for all their work concerned with children and young people.”

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