Romanian Justice and Human Rights >>> Romanian Justice >>> U.S. State Departmentís 2006 International Religious Freedom Report - Romania
International Religious Freedom Report 2006
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
The constitution provides for freedom of religion; while the Government generally respected this right in practice, some restrictions adversely affected the rights of many religious groups. Minority religious groups also continued to claim credibly that low?level government officials impeded their efforts at proselytizing and interfered with other religious activities.
Media reported that, in September 2005, the Bucharest city hall illegally approved a permit for a property developer to construct a nineteen-story building directly next to the Roman Catholic Saint Joseph Cathedral, a historical monument in downtown Bucharest. The media alleged possible corruption or nepotism by Bucharest officials in granting the permit. In addition, after construction began at the site in May 2006, the Holy See and the Roman Catholic metropolitan archbishop released public statements protesting the decision to allow construction of a large building that they claimed would damage the structural foundation of the cathedral. More than 1,000 Roman Catholic Church members also held street protests against the construction. In May 2006, the Orthodox Church issued a public statement sharing the concerns of the Roman Catholic Church. Media also reported that a large building constructed by the same property developer near the Armenian church in Bucharest permanently ruined that church's structure.
Some NGOs and religious groups reported that the national identity card application form includes a section requesting completion of the applicant's religious affiliation. They expressed concerns that the accumulated data can be used to discriminate against non-Orthodox believers.
The Movement for Spiritual Integration into the Absolute (MISA), a yoga organization, complained of repeated alleged persecution, harassment, abuse, and discrimination by the authorities for their spiritual opinions and beliefs. Members also claimed that their organization was the subject of a negative media campaign. In December 2005, the leader of this movement received asylum in Sweden on the grounds of being harassed.
Some religious groups complained that the National Audio-Visual Council made it difficult for radio frequency licenses to be purchased for religious broadcasting. Minority religions complained of a lack of provisions to provide for the free access of religious groups to state-owned media.
The Baha'i Faith complained that newspaper companies repeatedly rejected its request to publish paid articles, once after a contract had been signed and the Baha'i Faith paid the fees.