MINELRES: Bulletin DIVERS on Ethnic Minorities - 36 (119)/2004

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Divers Bulletin no. 36 (119) / October 18, 2004

News

ROMANIA SETS UP NATIONAL AGENCY FOR ROMANY MINORITY
REPRESENTATIVES OF ETHNIC MINORITIES CLAIM LACK OF MANUALS IN MOTHER
TONGUE
...AND PLAN A LAW ON THE MINORITIES
ROMANIA ADMITS ROLE IN THE HOLOCAUST
---------------------------------------------------

News

ROMANIA SETS UP NATIONAL AGENCY FOR ROMANY MINORITY

BUCHAREST - Government Secretary Eugen Bejinariu announced on 8 October
that a National Agency for the Roma (ANR) is to replace the former
governmental Department for Romany Affairs, according to a government
communique. He said the new ANR will be subordinate to the government
and its main task will be to implement the government's strategy for
improving the situation of the Roma. The ANR is to have eight regional
offices, whose main task will be to significantly alleviate poverty
among the minority.

The agency’s activity will be financed through loans granted by World
Bank, through sums allotted from the state budget and through funds
attracted from other sources, on the basis of Romanian Fund for the
Development of Roma Communities, which will be opened within the
Romanian Fund for Social Development.

In its annual report, the European Commission recently criticized the
Romanian government for failing to improve the economic situation of
Roma and for failing to take adequate measures to prevent
discrimination.
Author: DIVERS


REPRESENTATIVES OF ETHNIC MINORITIES CLAIM LACK OF MANUALS IN MOTHER
TONGUE

BUCHAREST – Representatives of ethnic minorities represented in the
Romanian Parliament on October 11 accused Ministry of Education and
Research (MEC) that as regards the minorities - others than the
Hungarian and German ones, it only republishes the manuals before 1989,
which makes the children give-up the education in their mother language.

At the Plenary Meeting of the Council of National Minorities, a
representative of the Democrat Union of the Slovakians and Czechs in
Romania showed that in the past 15 years, the state has only edited one
new manual in the Slovakian language, namely one of Mathematics.
Besides, this could not be used as, having been edited in black and
white, the children could not meet the indications in the manual
concerning the colors.

On his turn, the representative of the Union of Serbians in Romania
(USR) Slavomir Gvozdenovici demanded MEC’s authorization the minorities
use manuals from the mother country if they are not enabled manuals in
the maternal language, provided they are not rendered political or
contain propaganda.
Author: DIVERS


...AND PLAN A LAW ON THE MINORITIES

BUCHAREST - Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) and the
group of ethnic minorities within the Romania's Chamber of Deputies will
collaborate in the future legislature to draw up a law on national
minorities, UDMR chairman Marko Bela said last week.

UDMR leader met the members of the parliamentary group of the
minorities, which he informed on the electoral platform of the Union as
well as of his own platform, as candidate to the Presidency, aiming at
settling a set of join minimum tasks.

The leader of the minorities’ group Varujan Pambuccian stated the
meeting is not "a sort of agreement or an alliance" and targeted the
coordination of the actions between the two groups for drawing up a law
on national minorities. He also stated that such a law should include
the definition of the concept of national minority and of the notion of
national organization, as well as an enumeration of the historic
national minorities. Pambuccian showed the minorities dream of a
representative secretary of state within Ministry of Education and of
one in Ministry of Culture.
Author: DIVERS


ROMANIA ADMITS ROLE IN THE HOLOCAUST

BUCHAREST - President Ion Iliescu October 12 admitted Romania's
complicity in the Holocaust, ending decades of denial that hundreds of
thousands of Jews were killed in the country when it was an ally of Nazi
Germany, Reuters reported.

"We must not forget or minimize the darkest chapter of Romania's recent
history, when Jews were the victims of the Holocaust," Iliescu told a
joint session of both parliament houses to mark Romania's first
Holocaust Day. As late as last year Israel and Jewish leaders were
angered by a Romanian government statement denying the Holocaust took
place on its territory.

The diplomatic clash with Israel prompted Romania, eager to please its
new, Western partners after 40 years of communism, to revise its line on
the issue. Holocaust Day is officially Oct. 9, commemorating the mass
deportation of Jews to ghettos and forced labor camps in 1941.

But memorial events including a joint parliament session, exhibitions
and shows were moved to Tuesday this year to avoid coinciding with a
Jewish holiday.

In an address to MPs and Jewish leaders, Iliescu admitted that death
trains, mass deportations and pogroms took place in Romania during World
War Two and that anti-Semitism was a state-sponsored ideology even
before the war started in 1939. About 420,000 of Romania's pre-war
750,000-strong Jewish community were killed during the war. This
includes about 100,000 Jews deported to Auschwitz from Transylvania,
then part of Hungary, also a Nazi ally.

Iliescu, an ex-communist who has ruled the Balkan country for all but
four years since the 1989 collapse of communism, said Romania's wartime
leader Ion Antonescu and his fascist Iron Guard were responsible.
"Taking the blame for the past means that we not only exercise our
honesty but prove our democratic convictions," Iliescu said.

The Romanian government, working hard to integrate with Western
institutions such as NATO and the European Union, has said it will teach
the Holocaust in Romanian schools.

It has set up a special committee headed by Auschwitz survivor and Nobel
Prize laureate Elie Wiesel to study Romania's Holocaust. Its findings
are expected by next month.
Author: DIVERS

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