Znajdź nas na Facebooku

20.06.2017 Romania: Advocating for the migrant’s right to citizenship

During the period of May-June 2017, the Coalition for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees (CDMiR – Coalitia pentru Drepturile Migrantilor si Refugiatilor) continued the advocacy efforts to find solutions to the reported problems encountered by migrants in the process of obtaining Romanian citizenship.

The agenda of the Coalition includes: clarifications regarding the situation of the beneficiaries of international protection that are not refugees; wavers for vulnerable persons in the process of obtaining citizenship; better regulations for minors; and addressing the issue of statelessness. The agenda is also supported by UNHCR Romania.
At the beginning of May, the working group lead by the Center for Public Innovation, NIEM’s national partner, finalized the position paper and sent it to relevant stakeholders. On May 29, the President of the National Authority of Citizenship invited the representatives of CDMiR to present their proposals. At the end of the meeting, the Authority showed support for the proposals related to beneficiaries of international protection and minors, but it had reserves as to the other topics.

According to the Ministry of Justice, the issue of minors was also raised by other stakeholders, including members of the Parliament. The Ministry proposed a bill (text in Romanian) to address this issue. On June 15, at the request of the CDMiR, the Ministry organized a public debate on the topic, with the participation of the Minister. At the end of the meeting, the Minister showed interest in continuing the discussion on the other proposals but maintained its decision to regulate with priority the issue of minors. Both the Center and the Ministry issued press releases on the topic (both texts in Romanian).
On June 22, UNHCR Romania moderated a new round of discussions, with the participation of the civil society and public institutions. Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Interior joined the discussion. All participants agreed in principle that all the beneficiaries of international protection, and not only refugees, should benefit from similar rights. But there were divergences on the issues of procedures for vulnerable persons and statelessness.

The National Citizenship Authority announced that it established an internal commission to analyze the procedures and propose improvements. The representatives of the civil society were invited to work with this commission. UNHCR promised to make a comparative analysis of the procedures in other EU countries. The debate will be continued after the summer break.
The proposals on statelessness was received with serious reserves by the representatives of public institutions. They were rather reluctant to take a stance but promised to better analyze the whole legal and social context and continue the dialogue in the following weeks.

The bill proposed by the Ministry of Justice, in the limited form referring only to minors, will continue the regular legislative process and it will likely be sent to the Parliament in September. CDMiR will pursue the advocacy opportunities during the parliamentary debates.