Pursuant to Article 5^1(4) of the Asylum Act, in cases where vulnerable persons with special needs are identified, specialised staff of IGI-DAI carry out assessments to identify specific needs and decide on appropriate steps to ensure the rights and guarantees provided by the law during the asylum procedure.
Romanian law provides an important safeguard in respect of procedural guarantees for vulnerable persons: in the administrative phase of the asylum procedure, documents drafted before the identification of special needs will be amended and/or supplemented only where it is necessary to adequately examine the asylum application.
The law also foresees a specific monitoring obligation throughout the entire asylum procedure in line with Article 22(1) of the recast Reception Conditions Directive.
The interview of vulnerable asylum seekers shall be carried out by case officers specialised in this respect, taking into account the special situation of these persons.
The director of the Regional Centre Timișoara mentioned that they read the psychological report drafted by ICAR Foundation and prepare accordingly for the interview, in the sense that they are more careful during the interview. However, the report of ICAR Foundation has no legal power; it is only the opinion of a psychologist. The decision issued by IGI-DAI mentions that a psychological report was attached to the case file. In Timișoara, an asylum seeker who claimed to be a victim of domestic violence was assisted at the interview by the legal counsellor and psychologist.
The legal counsellor in Giurgiu stated that the case officers handle each case with diligence. For instance, if the asylum seeker is not feeling well, they will stop the interview. In another case, an LGBTI asylum seeker was assisted at the interview by a psychologist.
In Rădăuţi there were a blind and a malnourished asylum seeker, but they left before the personal interview. As a consequence, there is no information on how their special situation was taken into account.
Exemption from special procedures
According to Article 75(2) of the Asylum Act, applicants in need of special procedural guarantees or with Special Reception Needs may be subjected to the Accelerated Procedure or the Border Procedure only if they represent a threat to national security or public order, due to their activity or membership to a certain group. In practice, according to IGI-DAI, unaccompanied children or persons in need of special procedural guarantees are not channelled to the accelerated procedure or the border procedure.
In one case, however, a mother and her 2-year-old daughter who arrived in Romania on 6 September 2017 by boat were detained in the detention centre of Arad for the purpose of return. While in detention, they made an asylum application on 18 September 2017 and received a negative decision under the accelerated procedure, rejecting their claim as manifestly unfounded even though they are considered vulnerable persons under Romanian law. During the personal interview the mother stated that she wanted to get to any European country because she had heard that women there have more rights. The case officer chose not to ask any question regarding this statement and as a consequence did not explore a lead, which could have indicated past persecution. Furthermore, when the applicant said she had claimed asylum due to the problems she had with her husband's creditors, the case officer did not go into details. The same situation was noted when the mother declared that her in-laws threatened to take her daughter away from her. The asylum application was wrongfully assessed in an accelerated procedure, as the applicants were vulnerable persons and according to the Asylum Act vulnerable persons may only be subjected to an accelerated procedure if they represent a threat to national security or public order, due to their activity or membership to a certain group. The decision of IGI-DAI does not mention the applicants as being vulnerable persons. The asylum seekers were represented by a specialised attorney and the Regional Court of Timișoara granted them access to the regular procedure. They were granted refugee status.
 Article 5^1(5) Asylum Act.
 Article 5^1(6) Asylum Act. IGI-DAI monitors the situation of applicants with special needs upon reception and, together with the competent authorities, will ensure that assistance is given throughout the entire asylum procedure.
 Article 46 Asylum Act.
 Articles 75(2) and 84 Asylum Act.
 Information provided by IGI-DAI, 14 February 2018.
 IGI-DAI, Decision No 2768610/h/MA.