APADOR-CH monitors the compliance of Romanian legislation and practice with respect to international human rights norms and principles. It also advocates for specific measures to be taken to ensure such compliance.
Freedom of information legislation
Although APADOR-CH has been advocating a Freedom of Information Act (which would guarantee free access to public information) since 1995, it wasn’t until 1999 that the first proposal to such an act was raised in parliament. Following the proposal were many meetings and consultations, in which APADOR-CH participated and presented its position. This was a very long negotiation process but two years later, in 2001, the first law on access to public information was passed.
Once the law was passed, APADOR-CH had to work very hard to see it implemented in practice. APADOR-CH was one of the first organizations to use this law and formulate Freedom of Information requests and to pursue legal action when its requests were denied.
In 2002, APADOR-CH asked the prosecutor’s office for statistical information regarding surveillance measures such as phone tapping. Its request was denied, so APADOR-CH sued the prosecutor’s office and won. Nevertheless the prosecutor’s office still didn’t share this information and APADOR-CH had to sue again. In 2006, part of the information was finally released.
Besides merely using the Freedom of Information Act to request and obtain documents, APADOR-CH also trains other organizations to formulate such requests. To this end, APADOR-CH has prepared a number of brochures and guides on how to use the Freedom of Information law. Currently, a number of organizations utilize the Freedom of Information law which is now relatively widespread.
The situation has greatly improved but there is still considerable work to be done. For example, APADOR-CH just criticized an ordinance of the Ministry of Health which would severely curtail the right to access public information by classifying information regarding salaries, disciplinary committee complaints and statistical data, among other things.
National Prevention Mechanism
For the past 6 years APADOR-CH has been trying to convince Romania to establish a National Preventive Mechanism- that is, a body which would visit all places of detention. Romania undertook an obligation to set up this body in 2009, but so far it has not done much to fulfill its obligation. Romania already passed its deadline twice and the current deadline is at the end of 2014. In order to promote the enactment of legislation which would set up this body, APADOR-CH made concrete legislative proposals, commented on draft legislation, and organized meetings with stakeholders (including an international conference in September of 2013).
APADOR-CH has also submitted comments and proposals in respect to the new Criminal Code, Code of Criminal procedure, and the draft constitution currently being developed in Romania.