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As a documentary photographer, Mugur had to choose from the very first between being merely a photojournalist, a very lucrative profession of which he had first-hand international experience in Syria, Tunisia and Egypt, and being a defender of human rights.

Involvement in social issues and in particular the problems confronting the Roma ethnic minority, meant sacrificing both fame and financial rewards.
Apart from occasional projects for international publications, Mugur has worked with Amnesty International and on corporate projects, but the greater part of his work is voluntary.

Mugur’s day-to-day involvement, support lent to institutions, and a direct contribution to saving thousands of people subject to human rights abuses on the part of the authorities have led Amnesty International to confer upon him the status of a defender of human rights as a means of protecting him from persecution by the same authorities.

Over the course of seven years of social activism and human rights work, Mugur travelled more than one hundred thousand kilometers, spent tens of thousands of Euros and worked thousands of hours on behalf of communities and to promote the cause of the underprivileged in general and the Roma minority in particular.

The following are just a few examples of his work in underprivileged communities, in difficult conditions and often at personal risk.

Through his work and direct involvement in Baia Mare, Mugur managed singlehandedly to prevent the local authorities from demolishing the Roma community in Craica, a promise the local mayor had made during the election campaign of 2012. During the weeks Mugur spent in Baia Mare, the mayor refrained from carrying out evictions, even though his deadline to do so had expired. It was not until the day when Mugur returned to Bucharest that the mayor gave the order to go ahead with the demolitions. Mugur returned to the community just two days after he left and again his mere presence there was able to prevent the demolition. Mugur took the floor at the public debate on the issue held in the Town Hall, speaking up for the Roma community and thereby becoming a target for attacks on the part of the mayor. Five years later, most of the Roma’s communities homes are still standing.

Also in Baia Mare, in 2011 Mugur was present at the laying of the foundations of the segregation wall on Strada Horea, as well as throughout its construction. Mugur’s photographs were used as evidence in the court case against the town hall brought by the National Council for Combating Discrimination. The town hall lost the case in 2014.

The halting of forced evictions in Caracal, 2014. On the day when Mugur arrived in the community, the people had already packed their bags and were getting ready to leave voluntarily before the deadline, which was three days later. Mobilizing the people from Amnesty International, Mugur managed to prevent the evictions, and the community still occupies the same social housing now, in 2017.

Relocating people left homeless in the open air by Eforie Sud town hall in 2013. When Mugur arrived in the community, adults and almost one hundred children were standing in torrential rain on the shore of the Black Sea.

Mugur alerted Amnesty International, Save the Children and the Red Cross. The mayor declared that the Roma would stay awhile in the open air, after which they would go away, like dogs after the demolition of a butcher’s shop. By bringing the case to the public awareness, Mugur, assisted by Amnesty International, managed to have the Roma relocated to the disused workshop of an old school and then to some containers.

In circumstances in which neither Amnesty International nor the ERRC were able to do anything, Mugur managed to prevent forced evictions in Focsani. Two years later, around ninety per cent of the houses are still occupied.

In his meetings with young people in schools and colleges in Bucharest and around the country, Mugur takes a unique approach, speaking on social issues, revealing the unseen face of Romania, and involving schoolchildren in visits to vulnerable communities.

Mugur constantly monitors and revisits all these communities, including the ones in Mangalia, Cluj, Piatra Neamt, Craiova, Oradea, and Frumusani.

Most of the time, thanks to the respect he enjoys among these communities, Mugur is the first to be able to alert local and international organizations capable of halting human rights abuses.

With regard to the Roma minority, Mugur tackles complex and little understood issues such as emigration, housing, access to education and health care, traditions, witchcraft, and juvenile marriages.

Other social issues in which Mugur is involved as an activist are prostitution, legal drugs, the problems facing the elderly, abandoned children, Holocaust survivors, obesity, the aftermath of the communist period, re-education centers for minors, stray dogs, and Rosia Montana.