Gays Tell Romania to Stop Treating Them as Criminals
Reuters, October 4, 2000
By Karin Popescu
BUCHAREST Gays and lesbians said on Wednesday they will ask the
Council of Europe to resume monitoring Romania unless it stops treating them as criminals.
"Ten years after the fall of communism, Romania is the only Council member state
which denies rights to gays, Florin Buhuceanu, president of Accept,
Romanias only gay rights group, said on the eve of a gay and lesbian meeting in
The International Gay and Lesbian Association (ILGA), which will hold a pan-European
conference in the Romanian capital, said Romania had failed to make promised reforms of
laws that make homosexuality a crime.
Buhuceanu said Justice Ministry figures show that 432 gays and lesbians were now in
jail on charges related to article 200.
Homosexual behaviour is punishable in Romania with jail terms of up to five years.
Romania, which started European Union membership talks earlier this year, has pledged
to reform its legal system in line with Western standards and remove the controversial
article 200 of the criminal code which incriminates homosexuality.
But the gay rights activists said it had failed to do so.
"We will be requesting the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe to
re-introduce the monitoring of Romania to ensure that it meets the human rights
obligations that it has undertaken, Nigel Warner, the ILGAs co-delegate
to the council, told reporters.
"Romanias failure to repeal article 200 was a deception of the international
community, added Kurt Kickler, also an ILGA co-delegate to the Council.
"We will insist that Romania will at all point honour all human rights obligations
when it is accepted to join the EU, he added.
In 1997, the Council stopped monitoring Romania after the former communist country made
some progress on democratic reforms and gave Romania one year to amend legislation.
But so far, only parliaments lower Chamber of Deputies voted to decriminalise gay
sex, which has been illegal in Romania since 1968. The upper Senate has yet to vote the
Last month, the Orthodox church, which claims the allegiance of 87 percent of
Romanians, urged parliament not to amend legislation on homosexuality, which it considers
as a sin running counter to Christian values.
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