The updated AIDA Country Report on Romania provides a detailed overview on legislative and practice-related developments in asylum procedures, reception conditions, detention of asylum seekers and content of international protection in 2021.

UNHCR Romania reported that 69,589 persons were prevented from entering the country from January to the end of November 2021, based on statistics received from IGI-DAI, correlated with statistics received from the Border Police. Asylum seekers frequently complained about ill treatment by Border Police/Gendarmerie officers at the border. Additionally, Romania continued to return persons to Serbia based on the readmission agreement. 475 migrants (mainly Afghan, Pakistani and Indian nationals) were returned to Serbia from the Arad detention centre and around 200 from the Otopeni detention centre.

Despite the significant constraints to the possibility of accessing the territory, the number of asylum seekers increased by 64.2% in 2021, with 9,591 asylum applications registered, compared to 6,158 in 2020. 1,551 unaccompanied children were registered in the country in 2021, compared to 980 in 2020. The number of asylum application assessed in accelerated procedures also increased throughout the year, reaching a total of 1,968. Asylum applications of Afghan nationals were also assessed in an accelerated procedure until the Taliban takeover in August 2021.

In 2021, 4,316 decisions were issued by IGI-DAI at first instance, almost doubling the number of decisions issued in 2020 (2,480). The overall recognition rate remained low at first instance, with only 26% of applicants being granted one form of international protection. Most notably, the rejection rate for Afghan applicants stood at 87.6%.

The hygienic conditions in reception centres continued to deteriorate in all facility except for Giurgiu, in part due to the high number of asylum seekers accommodated. Several stakeholders spoke of unclean centres, with worn equipment, furniture and bedding. However, renovation works started in Bucharest, in the Vasile Stolnicu regional centre and in Timisoara. Due to the renovations in Timisoara and the Vasile Stolnicu centre (Bucharest), the total capacity of the centres was reduced from 1,100 to 751 places. In order to increase the number of accommodation places in the regional centres, IGI aims to extend the accommodation capacity by 500 places in 3 centres, using AMIF funds, as follows: Timişoara and Rădăuţi would have an additional 100 places and Galaţi another 300 places. In addition, IGI-DAI took hold of a public building, administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to convert it to an accommodation centre for asylum seekers that will have a capacity of 500 places.

The capacity of the Arad detention centre is also to be increased: in May 2021, the authorities started the construction of another facility, with a capacity of 240 places of accommodation, a sports field and leisure spaces. The director stated that the construction works will be finalised in June-August 2022.

For further information:

This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.