Country Listing

Romania Table of Contents



The PCR and the Ceausescu regime placed a far greater emphasis on order than on the rule of law. The Constitution of 1965 was superficially similar to the constitutions of Western democracies, but a tremendous gap existed between the rights stipulated in it and the human rights and civil liberties respected by the party and state. As a result, Romania earned the reputation as being the most repressive state in Eastern Europe. Although abuses were perpetrated by the Ministry of Interior and its Department of State Security, the Ministry of Justice and the judicial system were either unable or unwilling to prevent them.

The 1965 Constitution theoretically guaranteed equal rights for all citizens regardless of ethnic origin or religious belief (Article 17); freedom of association (Article 27); freedom of speech (Article 28); freedom of conscience and religious belief (Article 30); as well as the inviolability of the person (Article 31), the domicile (Article 32), and correspondence and communications (Article 33). However, the Constitution also stipulated that no citizen may exercise these rights when they conflict with the "socialist order" or serve aims "hostile to the interests of the Romanian working people." Because the PCR alone defined the interests of the working people, no Romanian was able to exercise his or her rights to challenge the rule of the PCR and Ceausescu. The rights of the citizenry were not inalienable; they were given by the party and as such could be taken away.

Data as of July 1989