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Basescu fined by CNCD for 2010 statement that Roma 'live on what they pilfer'


President Traian Basescu has been fined RON 600 by the National Council Combating Discrimination (CNCD), which on Monday decided that statement by Basescu in 2010 that Roma live on what they pilfer is discrimination against them and violates the right to dignity of the Romany people.

CNCD reported on Monday in a press release that the decision was taken the same day by the CNCD Steering College, six to two.

'The statement by Mr. President Traian Basescu of November 3, 2010 that 'there are very few nomad Roma wanting to work; many of them traditionally live on what they pilfer,' is discriminatory against the Roma people and it violates their right to dignity, as mentioned in Article 2 (1), corroborated with Article 15 in Government Ordinance 137/2000, subsequently amended and supplemented and republished. The defendant was fined RON 600,' reads the release.

The release also says that the fine was levied by the Steering College also because President Traian Basescu is not new to discrimination.

'The complaint filed by the Romani Criss Association was settled under Decision No. 176 of May 4, 2011 of the Steering College by CNCD admitting an exception from jurisdiction, given that the statement was made in Slovenia, but the courts -under Civil Sentence 4364/June 27, 2012 issued by the Bucharest Court of Appeal and Decision 207 of January 21, 2014 of the Supreme Court of Romania - repealed the decision and had CNCD rule on merits,' says the release.

CNCD says the reasoned decision will be notified to the parties involved within the legal deadline and can be challenged in court.

In November 2010, President Traian Basescu stated that many of Romania's Roma ethnics live on their gains from pilfering, but the Romanian authorities may not ban their right to free movement inside the European Union.

Back then on an official visit to Slovenia, Basescu was asked by a Slovenian journalist about the measures taken by Romanian authorities in relation to the Roma.

'There is another issue that has to be stated and that makes the integration of nomad Roma difficult: there are very few of them wanting to work. Many of them traditionally live on what they pilfer. If we fail to honestly acknowledge the issues of this ethnic community and our problems with knowing it, we will fail to find a solution to the problem,' said Basescu.

He added that when he was mayor of Bucharest City he offered jobs to nomad Roma in the public sanitation service, which the Roma abandoned in the end.