Romanian Family’s Real Supporters Should Boycott This Referendum

No one doubts that the family is in danger in Romania. The country has the highest infant mortality rate in the whole of the EU, with 7.6 deaths for every 1,000 live newborns – double the European average. Despite that, Romania’s spends the least on health and education of all EU countries.

The parents of almost 95,000 Romanian children are working abroad. Some of these minors are in the care of relatives and family friends, not monitored by any state authority to ensure their welfare. Others are in institutional care or with foster carers.

One quarter of the Romanian population lives in poverty. According to a 2017 study by the National Statistics Institute, this means 5,006,000 Romanians.

There is more. Of 4 million Romanian children, 300,000 do not go to school, and half of all children in Romania are at risk of poverty. The state has no anti-poverty or stay-in-school programmes.

Romania also has the highest percentage of underage mothers in the EU.

For years, organisations like Save the Children and World Vision have been trying to help these girls who have no access to medical services, even though pregnant teens have the highest risk of death in labour. In April this year, the Romanian Senate adopted a law forbidding sexual education in schools.

In 2017, Romanian police registered over 20,000 cases of family violence, 84 of which resulted in death. Also last year, 65 parents were convicted of the rape of their own children.

Several counties in Romania have no shelters for victims of domestic violence; where they do exist, the number of beds is insufficient. Most are neither founded nor supported by the state, but by various associations.

A cynical move by the ruling politicians:

A flier distributed by the Coalition for the Family, calling for a “yes” vote. Photo: George Calin/Inquam Photos

Starting in 2015, a civic association, the Coalition for Family (Coaliția pentru Familie) – with help from the Romanian Orthodox Church – gathered 3 million signatures to change a definition in the constitution.

It now reads that “the family is based on a freely consented marriage between spouses”. The Coalition wants to change “spouses” to “a man and a woman”.

This would cause no change in the actual law, as an article in the Civil Code already states that “‘spouses” means “one man and one woman united in marriage”.

This referendum, which will cost 35 million euros, is an invitation to hate and an infringement of human rights. Posters have appeared in towns and cities with messages like: “If you don’t come to vote, two men may adopt your child”.

Lately, Facebook bubbles have filled with hateful comments against the LGBT community, already discriminated against in Romania.

 

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