Romania - Advocacy work in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine
CDMiR is the Coalition for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees (Coaliția pentru Drepturile Migranților și Refugiaților), the national coalition supported in the framework of the NIEM project. There are 23 member organizations, NGOs and research institutes. From the very first day of the Russian invasion, the CDMiR members have actively participated in the humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian refugees in Romania.
In addition to the efforts of each individual member, the Coalition has been very active with its advocacy efforts, supporting and promoting a systemic approach of the Romanian state to the refugee crisis. The CDMiR, as a Coalition, has undertaken the following advocacy work:
Convening the energies of the civil society
• On February 24th, the CDMiR representatives together with other core organizations initiated, drafted and published an appeal to the government to work closer with the civil society for an immediate answer to the humanitarian crisis. On 28th, CDMiR representatives were present at a meeting called by the prime-minister, responding to the appeal. CDMiR remained in contact with the state adviser to the prime minister responsible for the overall coordination of the humanitarian effort.
• On February 25th, the Coalition put together, in a rapid reaction, an online national event. In three thematic sessions during the day, CDMiR consulted with over 100 NGOs representatives from organizations working on development, social services and community support. The CDMiR members provided basic legal and logistics information, aiming at better organizing the outstanding reaction of the society. Representatives of the Emergency Situation Department, the institution coordinating the relief effort, were present during the day.
• Starting from late March, CDMiR members have been involved in the Working Groups initiated under the UN Interagency Coordination Mechanisms. The meetings of the WG on general protection, access to education and child protection took place during the month of April.
Providing expertise for the integration of the refugees
• Seventeen organizations members of CDMiR have actively participated in the coordination group initiated by the Emergency Situation Department (DSU - Departamentul pentru Situații de Urgență), the institution responsible for the immediate humanitarian response. Two task-forces are coordinated by CDMiR representatives:
o And Cojocaru (Romanian National Council for Refugees) and Ovidiu Voicu (Center for Public Innovation) co-moderate the task-force on education
o Iris Alexe (Novapolis Association) co-moderates the task-force on access to the labour market.
• In 2021 CDMiR started to prepare, in a collaborative manner, position papers (policy briefs) on the major issues related to migrants' integration. The Coalition disseminated the first two of these working papers, in advanced stages of finalization, to the relevant authorities: Access to Education, and Protecting unaccompanied minors. Both papers have been well received and many of their recommendation are now included in the relevant national action plans (see next point).
• At the beginning of March, the government announced six thematic groups to draft action plans for the integration of Ukrainian refugees. The relevant ministry coordinates each working group, which includes 1-2 civil society representatives. CDMiR nominated representatives in all groups and the respective ministries accepted the following CDMiR’s nominations:
o And Cojocaru (Romanian National Council for Refugees) - Education.
o Iris Alexe (Novapolis Association) - Employment.
o Camelia Doru (ICAR Foundation) - Health.
o Bogdan Preda (Romanian National Council for Refugees) - Housing.
o Rodica Novac (Terres des Hommes Romania) - Children and Youth.
o Anca Bucur (ICAR Foundation) - Vulnerable persons.
All working groups finalized the sectorial Action Plans in the first half of April 2022 and the plans will guide the Romanian Government response for the following months (mid-term integration).
Providing input to the Parliament
• Since the beginning of the war, CDMiR representatives have participated in the weekly hearings organized by the Human Rights Committee of the Romanian Senate. During the hearings, representatives of the relevant public institutions and civil society inform the Members of the Parliament on the most recent developments and, in particular, how the rights of displaced persons are observed and protected on the ground.