MINELRES: Romania: Bulletin DIVERS on Ethnic Minorities - no. 35 (118) / October 11, 2004

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Wed Oct 13 19:25:22 2004


Original sender: Edivers Buletin <edivers_buletin-admin@mediafax.ro>


News
UPS AND DOWNS IN ROMANIA'S COUNTRY PROGRESS REPORT ON 2004
DAY OF THE HOLOCAUST TO BE MARKED BY A COMMEMORATIVE MEETING
MARKO BELA OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED IN THE RACE FOR THE PRESIDENCY OF ROMANIA
LOCAL UDMR LEADER ATTACKED IN ROMANIA
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News

UPS AND DOWNS IN ROMANIA'S COUNTRY PROGRESS REPORT ON 2004

BRUSSELS – Romania continues to meet the political admission criteria,
the criteria of functional market economy but some problems still exist
as regards the supremacy of law and the respect for ethnic minorities’
rights, informs the last Country Report of the European Commission
regarding Romania’s progress in the admission to the European Union. In
spite of the positive legislative trends, cases of bad treatments were
signaled in the police stations, jails and psychiatric hospitals. The
excessive use of violence by the police officers in enforcing the law is
very worrying, including in the illegal use of fire-weapons. Cases of
violence were also signaled regarding the depressed categories such as
Roma minority.
Implementation of the Roma Strategy adopted in 2001 continued in the
sectors of education, health, employment and relations with the police.
While positive in themselves, these efforts run the risk of remaining
isolated and unsustainable if national and local co-ordination remains
weak. Limited progress was registered in the functioning of the Joint
Committee for the Implementation and Monitoring. At the local level
working groups made up of representatives of public institutions (school
inspectorate, Public health Directorate, Police, Employment Offices)
have been formally established in almost all counties. However, the Roma
Office still lacks the capacity to initiate and coordinate actions in
favour of the Roma among the different ministries involved.

Positive developments were particularly notable in the education sector.
In order to support a non-discriminatory and inclusive approach, an
increased number of teachers specialised in supporting the educational
needs of the Roma children, where active participation of parents was
encouraged, and where improved school curricula were developed.
Moreover, in the context of the National Strategy to Improve the
Situation of the Roma, local development plans have been drawn up and
the problem of segregated education is being tackled. The measures
related to health, employment and the police represent a positive basis
for future activities. The health mediators hired and trained during the
last reporting period are increasingly becoming involved in addressing a
wide range of health issues, including access to health insurance. The
organisation of job fairs for Roma by county employment offices in
collaboration with Roma NGO offices has continued.
As noted in last year’s report, the government’s reliance on the Roma
Party to implement and monitor the strategy is a matter for concern, as
it has led to the effective exclusion of other Roma organisations.
Relations with other minorities did not present major problems during
the reporting period. The law providing for bilingual signs has been
applied, including in localities where the minority population is less
than 20% (the threshold indicated in the law). After the constitutional
revision introducing the right for citizens to use their mother tongue
in civil court cases, Hungarian is extensively used in certain areas.
The law on the statute of police officers allows the recruitment of
officers speaking minority languages, but the number of police officers
with this skill remains relatively low.

As regards pre-university teaching in minority languages, there was a
light decrease in the number of educational units and in the number of
students being educated in their mother tongue during the 2003-2004
school year. The decrease could be due to demographic trends as there
was no change in education policy. A private Hungarian university
continued to function in Cluj, with branches in Miercurea Ciuc, Oradea
and Tirgu Mure s.a. A protocol to establish two Hungarian faculties
within Cluj state university was agreed at governmental level, but it
has not yet been implemented.

Treatment of the Csango minority has further improved and Hungarian is
taught as an optional subject in 10 communes.

Author: DIVERS

DAY OF THE HOLOCAUST TO BE MARKED BY A COMMEMORATIVE MEETING

BUCHAREST – Parliament of Romania on October 12 will organize a public
commemorative meeting to celebrate "Day of the Holocaust", last week
decided the Standing Bureau of the Chamber of Deputies, which enacted an
internal memorandum in that respect.

The meeting organized through foreign policy commissions and through the
human rights commissions within the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate
will take place at the Palace of Parliament. Within the meeting,
president Ion Iliescu will deliver a speech and an ecumenical ceremony
will be officiated.

Author: DIVERS


MARKO BELA OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED IN THE RACE FOR THE PRESIDENCY OF ROMANIA

ARAD – Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) chairman Marko
Bela officially launched on Tuesday, October 5, in Arad, his candidature
as president of Romania. "I do not know whether Romania is ready to have
a Magyar president in 2004, but I do know we have to suggest this is
doable, under the context of a United Europe. A man from Transylvania
could be the president of all the Romanians, therefore I and UDMR have a
program for all the inhabitants of this country", stated Bela. UDMR
leader also showed that Transylvania is playing the role of Romania’s
locomotive for the admission to the European Union and the candidate of
a person in Transylvania is welcomed.

Author: DIVERS


LOCAL UDMR LEADER ATTACKED IN ROMANIA

BISTRITA – Eugen Koncz, the chairman of the local branch of the
Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR) in Jimbor,
Bistrita-Nasaud County, was physically attacked last week in his home,
in the presence of his wife and his two-year-old daughter, RFE/RL
reported on 6 October. Three people carrying pitchforks and axes burst
into Koncz's home, hit him on the head, and broke one of his arms. They
warned him to stop gathering signatures supporting the presidential
candidacy of UDMR Chairman Bela Marko and took with them a list
including some 40-50 signatures of Marko's supporters. Police have
opened an investigation and identified the assailants, who are from the
town of Bistrita. In a statement released on 6 October, the UDMR said it
was "surprised" by and "indignant" of the "outstandingly grave"
incident. 
Author: DIVERS


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