Special reception needs of vulnerable groups

Romania

Country Report: Special reception needs of vulnerable groups Last updated: 30/11/20

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JRS Romania Visit Website

An applicant with special reception needs is a vulnerable person according to Article 5^1 of the Asylum Act, who needs special guarantees to enjoy his or her rights and fulfil his or her obligations under the law.[1] Article 5^1(2) lists the following categories of vulnerable persons: minors, unaccompanied minors, disabled people, elderly people, pregnant women, single parents with minor children, victims of human trafficking, persons suffering from serious illnesses, people with mental disorders and persons who have been subjected to torture, rape or other serious forms of psychological, physical or sexual violence, or persons in other special circumstances.

 

The law does not prescribe actual mechanisms or methods for the identification of vulnerable persons. The Asylum Decree only states that specialised personnel of IGI-DAI cooperate with UNHCR and relevant NGOs to identify asylum seekers who may fall within in the category of vulnerable persons referred. In order to assess the vulnerability of asylum seekers, specialists within IGI-DAI, where appropriate together with experts from other institutions and authorities competent in the field, to make an assessment of the special needs of foreigners. Depending on the specific need of each asylum seeker identified as vulnerable person, IGI-DAI notifies and cooperates with authorities and specialised agencies in order to provide necessary assistance. IGI-DAI may collaborate with NGOs to assist asylum seekers identified as vulnerable.[2]

 

Psycho-social specialists of the ICAR Foundation who carry out activities in the Regional Centres first seek to identify asylum seekers, especially those belonging to vulnerable groups (families in difficulty, elderly people, people with chronic illness, unaccompanied children, victims of physical and mental violence) and their needs. Subsequent tests are conducted to assess the general health status of newly arrived asylum seekers, while general practitioners provide weekly medical consultations (see Health Care).[3]

 

According to the Asylum Act, asylum seekers with special needs have the right to benefit from adapted accommodation and assistance conditions in the Regional Centres.[4] However, not all centres are adapted to such needs: Bucharest and Timișoara, for example, are not equipped with ramps for persons with disabilities, even though in Bucharest there is a person who uses a motorised wheelchair.[5]

 

The house rules of the Regional Centres stipulate that, in order to deal with situations of sexual or gender-based violence, the Director of the Centre shall:[6]

  1. Inform the persons accommodated in the centre about sexual or gender-based violence and the consequences of such acts;
  2. In case of such situations occurring during the period of accommodation in the centre, notify the competent public authorities and institutions and, depending on the seriousness of the deed, gradually  apply one of the sanctions provided in Article 47 ROI (see Reduction or Withdrawal of Reception Conditions);
  3. Cooperate with national and international NGOs, as well as with public authorities and institutions competent in this field to assist victims while they are accommodated in the Regional Centre.

 

In Galaţi and Rădăuţi different institutions held information session on human trafficking.

 

Reception of unaccompanied children

 

Unaccompanied children below the age of 16

 

Unaccompanied children below the age of 16 are accommodated in a centre managed by DGASPC or an authorised private body.[7] If they have relatives residing in a Regional Centre, DGASPC decides where they will be accommodated, taking into consideration their best interests. In case of unaccompanied children who have siblings under or above the age of 16, when taking a decision regarding their accommodation, IGI-DAI shall consult their legal representative, observe the principle of family unity and take into account the age and maturity of the older sibling.[8] The opinion of the unaccompanied child regarding the place where he or she will be accommodated is considered and given due importance, taking into account his or her age and degree of maturity.[9]

 

Based on information provided by Save the Children Romania, there have been cases where unaccompanied children below the age of 16 were left in the Regional Centres for months before being accommodated in a DGASPC centre. One of the reasons for this is likely the fact that DGASPC is facing a shortage of accommodation places. As regards the conditions in DGASPC facilities, Save the Children stated that the facilities are decent but there are no interpreters; thus, interaction with these children is limited until they learn Romanian. In most cases the staff is not trained to work with foreign children, the services provided are not adapted to their needs.

 

Timișoara: Unaccompanied children are accommodated in the DGASPC Emergency Accommodation Centre for Homeless Children and have described living conditions as good. However, the director of the Regional Centre of Timișoara pointed out several issues regarding the centre and the assistance provided by the DGASPC social assistance, such as the lack of interpreters and specialised personnel. It was also mentioned that DGASPC does not assume responsibility for unaccompanied children under the age of 16. The social examination conducted by an employee of DGASPC, without an interpreter, always concludes that is in the best interests of the child to remain with his or her so called “relatives” in the Regional Centre. According to the JRS representative, DGASPC has no training, skills, and experience in working with asylum-seeking children. It was emphasized that they are accommodated with homeless children. In 2019, UNHCR organised trainings for DGASPC staff.

 

Şomcuta Mare: Unaccompanied children are accommodated in family houses in Baia Mare, managed by the NGO Somaschi Foundation. JRS has reported that conditions in the facilities are good. There was an unaccompanied child who was granted a form of protection living in this centre. He did not complain about the living conditions.

 

Galaţi: Unaccompanied children are accommodated in the day and night shelter for homeless children, under the authority of DGASPC. They are housed in rooms with other children who are beneficiaries of international protection. Children have reported that they are generally treated well and have not complained about conditions. They have only stated that they would prefer to stay in the Regional Centre with their peers. There were no children accommodated in this centre in 2019.

 

Rădăuţi: Unaccompanied children are no longer accommodated in the Solca Placement Centre as it was closed. As of 2019 children were accommodated in the Children’s Univers from Rădăuţi. The centre is a family house located 200 m from the Regional Centre. The living conditions are satisfactory and hygienic conditions are good. Only 3 unaccompanied minors were accommodated in this centre: one was under 16 years of age; one was over 16 years of age and specially requested to be accommodated here and one was an unaccompanied minor whose asylum application had been rejected. It was reported that there is no qualified staff, trained or equipped to deal with asylum seeking children. There is no interpreter. The activities organised in the centre are not adapted to the needs of the unaccompanied minors. However, they participate to the activities organised in the Regional Centre.

 

Bucharest: Unaccompanied children are accommodated in two centres: Pinocchio Day Centre within DGASPC District 1 and Gavroche Day Centre within DGASPC District 2. Conditions in the centres are good and children have a legal representative who keeps in touch with the NGOs and attends to their needs. There have been reported situations of children stayed in the Stolnicu reception centre for up to 2-3 months due to lack of available places at the DGASPC centre or delays in the coordination between the authorities. This issue is still present in 2019. In 2019 only one child was moved from the Regional Centre Vasile Stolnicu to Gavroche Day Centre, 3 months after IGI-DAI’s request. There is another 15-year-old child accommodated in the Regional Centre Vasile Stolnicu since November 2019; on 17January 2020 he was still not taken over by DGASPC.

 

Giurgiu: Unaccompanied children are accommodated in DGASPC family houses, where living conditions are decent. In 2019 there were no unaccompanied children below the age of 16.

 

According to IGI-DAI, 15 unaccompanied children were accommodated in DGASPC centres in 2019:[10]

 

 

Occupancy in 2019

Occupancy at the end of 2019

Bucharest

3

3

Giurgiu

2

2

Galati

1

1

Radauti

2

1

Somcuta Mare

:

:

Timisoara

7

3

 

15

10

 

Source: IGI-DAI, 20 February 2020.

 

Unaccompanied children aged 16 or more

 

Unaccompanied children, who have reached the age of 16 and do not have the necessary material resources to ensure their subsistence, are accommodated in the Regional Centres. They are accommodated separately from adults in Bucharest and Şomcuta Mare; if there is a relative in the centre, they are accommodated with him or her. On the other hand, they are not separated from adults in Timișoara, Rădăuţi, Galaţi and Giurgiu.

 

During 2019, a total of 230 unaccompanied children were accommodated in Regional Centres.[11]

 

 

Occupancy in 2019

Occupancy at the end of 2019

Bucharest

32

15

Giurgiu

20

1

Galati

17

5

Radauti

23

8

Somcuta Mare

45

9

Timisoara

93

7

 

230

45

 

Source: IGI-DAI, 20 February 2020.

 

Reception of families

 

Efforts are made to ensure that nuclear families can stay together during the asylum procedure. Families are accommodated in a different building in Timișoara, and in separate rooms in Bucharest, Rădăuţi, Giurgiu, Şomcuta Mare and Galaţi.

 

Timișoara: If there are available places, families are transferred to AIDRom Centre, if not they are transferred to other centres.

 

In Rădăuţi families are not always accommodated separately. There were cases where one family with children had to share a room with another family without children or 2 single parent families had to share the room with an unaccompanied child and with a single woman and her boyfriend.

 

Beyond the Regional Centres managed by IGI-DAI, AIDRom runs two Accommodation Centres:

  • One Accommodation Centre in Timișoara, which operates uninterruptedly since August 2012 with a capacity of 15 places; and
  • One Accommodation Centre in Bucharest, which operates since 2015 with 18 places.

 

These centres accommodate vulnerable persons, especially single parents with children (mothers with children). The AIDRom centres are located within these cities, funded partially by AMIF and partially by external donors. Asylum seekers housed in these centres have access to social assistance, cultural activities and cultural orientation.

 

According to IGI-DAI, a total of 69 asylum seekers were accommodated in the two AIDRom centres. At the time of the author’s visit on 17-18 October 2019, 5 asylum seekers were accommodated in the AIDRom Centre Timișoara. At the end of December 2019 there were 21 asylum seekers accommodated in these centres.[12]

 



[1]          Article 2(1)(b^2) Asylum Act.

[2]          Article 5(1)-(4) Asylum Decree.

[3]          AIDRom, Adapted and accessible health services for asylum seekers in Romania, available at: http://bit.ly/2Dz3v9U.

[4]          Article 17(1)(l) Asylum Act.

[5]          IGI-DAI takes into consideration any special needs of asylum seekers. Groups such as elderly persons are accommodated on the first floor of the building so as to avoid many flights of stairs. Moreover, in one case, a person suffering from epilepsy was accommodated alone.

[6]          Article 60 ROI.

[7]          Article 58(3) Asylum Decree, in conjunction with Article 78(1) Child Protection Act.

[8]          Article 58(3^1) Asylum Decree.

[9]          Article 58(4) Asylum Decree.

[10]         Information provided by IGI-DAI, 5 March 2019.

[11]         Information provided by IGI-DAI, 5 March 2019.

[12]         Information provided by IGI-DAI, 20 February 2020.

 

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the first report
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation