MINELRES: RFE/RL Newsline on minority issues

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri May 21 18:56:47 2004


Original sender: RFE/RL <listmanager@list.rferl.org>


RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
___________________________________________________________


RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 8, No. 92, Part II, 17 May 2004

PHARE ALLOCATES FUNDING FOR ROMANIA'S ROMA. The European Commission's
delegation in Romania and the Romanian government's Department of
Interethnic Department on 14 May announced a new project intended to
improve the situation of the country's Roma minority, Mediafax
reported. The EU's Phare program will provide more than 4.4 million
euros ($5.3 million) for the project. Public institutions can apply
for funding for projects in the sphere of health care, education, and
infrastructure, under the condition that Roma representatives are
involved. Anne de Ligne, the Phare program coordinator for the EU
delegation to Romania, said that Romania's strategy for improving
situation of its Roma minority looks good "on paper," but added that
much work remains to be done. She stressed that the situation of the
Roma is "a very important issue for the EU," and said there is a need
for political will and a change of mentalities both among Roma and at
the political level. ZsM

MOLDOVAN ROMA DEMAND THEIR RIGHTS. Representatives of Romany
organizations participating in a roundtable with Moldovan authorities
in Chisinau on 13 May demanded that Roma's rights be upheld, Flux
reported. Moldovan Roma Movement Chairman Dimitrii Danu said that
more than 20,000 Roma holding office jobs "are not promoted" and
endure stereotypes that they are "thieves and villains." Young Roma
Association Chairman Marin Ala requested that Education Minister
Valentin Beniuc, who was present at the discussions, grant more
supplementary university slots to Romany students. Ala also asked
Parliament Deputy Chairman Vadim Mishin to create legal conditions
that would facilitate Roma's accession to local councils in
municipalities with significant Romany populations. Mishin promised
to take the proposal into consideration. ZsM


RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 8, No. 93, Part I, 18 May 2004

KREMLIN OFFICIAL REPORTEDLY NEGOTIATING SIBERIAN MERGER... Deputy
presidential-administration head Vladislav Surkov is conducting
negotiations for the unification of Taimyr and Evenk autonomous
okrugs with Krasnoyarsk Krai in 2004-05, an unidentified source in
the presidential administration told "Vedomosti" on 18 May. The
previous day, Leonid Drachevskii, presidential envoy to the Siberian
Federal District, told reporters that the unification of those
regions is only "a matter of time." He said that "it is not important
whether it will be in a year or two years." Meanwhile, Evenk Governor
Boris Zolotarev has not given up his opposition to the effort (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 5 April 2002). His region would lose direct
federal subsidies -- it received around 800 million rubles ($28
million) in subsidies this year. Anton Siluanov, director of the
department for interbudgetary relations at the Finance Ministry, told
the daily that the ministry has already suggested that the government
introduce amendments to the Budget Code that would guarantee the same
level of federal financial support for a period of up to three years
to regions that merge. JAC

ABKHAZ SETTLEMENT PLAN PUBLISHED. Rustavi-2 made public on 18 May
details of a new plan to resolve the Abkhaz conflict, Caucasus Press
reported. Rustavi-2 said that plan, proposed by Moscow, defines
Georgia as a federal state within which Abkhazia is a sovereign
entity, and is similar to the "Basic Principles for the Distribution
of Competencies between Tbilisi and Sukhumi" drafted by former UN
special representative Dieter Boden. But "The Georgian Messenger" on
14 May as cited by Groong claimed the new Russian plan envisages not
a federation but a confederation. That publication predicted that the
Georgian leadership, which hitherto rejected the confederation model,
will agree to it on condition that provision is made for the Georgian
displaced persons who fled Abkhazia during the 1992-93 war to return
to their abandoned homes. LF

GEORGIAN OFFICIAL RULES OUT 'VELVET REVOLUTION' IN SOUTH OSSETIA...
Georgian Minister for Conflict Resolution Giorgi Khaindrava told
Caucasus Press on 15 May that at a meeting in Tbilisi the previous
day he briefed representatives from Russia, North Ossetia, and the
unrecognized Republic of South Ossetia on a new Georgian initiative
to resolve the deadlocked conflict between the central Georgian
government and South Ossetia. Khaindrava did not divulge details but
excluded a repeat in South Ossetia of the Adjar scenario, which
entailed mobilizing the local population to force the leadership to
step down. Speaking in Moscow on 17 May, Konstantin Kosachev,
chairman of the State Duma International Affairs Committee, expressed
concern that the Georgian leadership will attempt to apply the "Adjar
scenario" in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, ITAR-TASS reported. LF


RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 8, No. 93, Part II, 18 May 2004

COURT REJECTS CONSTITUTION DRAFT NAMING RUSSIAN 'OFFICIAL' LANGUAGE
IN UKRAINE. The Constitutional Court on 17 May rejected a request by
165 lawmakers that it rule whether their bill of proposed
constitutional amendments, including one that would introduce Russian
as an "official" language in Ukraine, is constitutional, Interfax
reported. The proposed amendment in question reads: "Citizens have
the right to use Ukrainian as the state language and Russian as the
official language in the process of managing state matters and in
self-government bodies." In rejecting the request, the court said
amendments to the Ukrainian Constitution's Chapter 1, titled "Basic
Principles," should be supported by at least 300 deputies. According
to the court, the proposed amendment relates to Article 10 in Chapter
1 of the constitution, which establishes Ukrainian as the state
language in Ukraine. Moreover, the court cited a December 1999 ruling
that the terms "state language" and "official language" are
synonymous. JM

EU INSISTS ON MULTIETHNIC KOSOVA... During a 17 May meeting in
Brussels of the European Council on general affairs and foreign
relations, the EU's foreign and defense ministers reiterated their
"strong support for the work of [the UN civilian administration in
Kosova (UNMIK) and its head, Harri Holkeri,] in the implementation of
[UN Security Council Resolution] 1244," according to an EU news
release the same day. "[The European Council] emphasized its
commitment to the policy of Standards before Status, welcomed the
Kosova Standards Implementation Plan, and called upon the [Kosovar]
Provisional Institutions of Self Government (PISG), with the support
of UNMIK, to speed up the active implementation of the standards,
including effective local government." The press release added, "The
Council again urged the PISG to demonstrate in an unambiguous manner
their commitment to a multiethnic Kosova and to the security and
rights of members of all communities in Kosova." UB


RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 8, No. 94, Part I, 19 May 2004

GEORGIAN INTERIOR MINISTER SAYS SITUATION IN TSALKA IMPROVING. Giorgi
Baramidze traveled on 18 May to the southern district of Tsalka, the
scene of fighting on 9 May between Armenians, who constitute up to 80
percent of the local population, and Georgians, who number some 10
percent, Georgian media reported. Baramidze said the situation in
Tsalka is now relatively stable but that the 150 Interior Ministry
troops deployed there last week will remain there. Noyan Tapan on 17
May reported that the Georgian minority insists that weapons be
confiscated from the Armenians; but Haik Melkonian, an Armenian who
represents Tsalka in the Georgian parliament, denied that the
Armenians have any weapons except clubs and pitchforks. LF

GEORGIA'S AZERBAIJANI MINORITY STAGES PROTEST. Some 100 residents of
five Azerbaijani-populated villages in the Bolnisi Raion of
southeastern Georgia staged a protest on 18 May outside the state
chancellery in Tbilisi, Caucasus Press reported. The protesters
claimed that the local Georgian population harasses them, stealing
their cattle and encroaching on their pastures. In the most recent of
a series of articles highlighting the oppression of Georgia's
500,000-strong Azerbaijani minority, zerkalo.az observed on 15 May
that not only Azerbaijanis but also other Muslims in Georgia are
currently subjected to "strong pressure," including from the Georgian
police (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 April 2004). LF


RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 8, No. 94, Part II, 19 May 2004

CRIMEAN TATARS MARK 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF DEPORTATION. More than 20,000
people took part in a march in Simferopol on 18 May to commemorate
the 60th anniversary of the forced deportation of Tatars from Crimea
to Central Asia, Ukrainian and international news agencies reported.
The deportation, ordered by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, who accused
Crimean Tatars of collaboration with the Nazis, began on 18 May 1944
and affected some 200,000 people. Crimean Tatars were officially
rehabilitated by the Kremlin in 1967, but allowed to return to Crimea
only in 1989. Some 250,000 Tatars have returned to Crimea since the
collapse of the Soviet Union. Participants in the commemorative march
demanded that the Tatar language be made an official one in Crimea
and that Tatar returnees be given land plots for settlement. JM