Research Report: Between discrimination, abuse and exploitation: the protection of immigrants’ civil rights in Romania

The report examines the exercise of immigrants’ civil rights and the barriers they face in relation to public institutions and the general population. The novelty element of this research consists in addressing the obstacles encountered in exercising civil rights, in terms of discrimination.

The first chapter defines the methodology (mostly qualitative) and the concepts employed in the analysis: we also tried a categorization of the discrimination situations to help frame the occurrences highlighted during the interviews with immigrants. Next, we have selected a variety of sociological theories that attempt to explain discrimination as a reaction to the perception of a threat by majority groups, in terms of competition for limited resources; or as a form of authoritarianism specific to far-right groups; or as an expression of the duality identity / otherness.

The second part of the study provides an analysis of EU and national legislation regarding discrimination in terms of migrants’ rights and an overview of the institutional system involved in addressing cases of discrimination.

Chapter three summarizes the international and Romanian literature on the topics of discrimination, abuse, exploitation and social inequality in areas such as housing, health, education, work, etc., as experienced by / impacting immigrants.

In chapter four we analyzed the data resulting from the qualitative research (interviews and focus groups) and quantitative pilot study (testing by correspondence) and formulated recommendations for improving the protection of migrants’ rights. The policy recommendations are addressed to all relevant actors: public authorities, immigrants, employers, the general population and politicians.

Although we initially aimed for an approach based on difference in treatment, the qualitative analysis revealed a much broader range of problems, ranging from lack of awareness among both authorities and migrants, to language barriers, bureaucracy, abuse, exploitation, discrimination and corruption.

The report can be found here. (Romanian version only)

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