MINELRES: Romania: Bulletin DIVERS on Ethnic Minorities - 5 (133)/2005

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Divers Bulletin no. 5 (133) / February 14, 2005
News

"DECADE FOR ETHNIC ROMA INCLUSION " LAUNCHED IN ROMANIA 

ROMANIAN MEDIA STILL DISCRIMINATE ROMA PEOPLE

GOVERNMENT TO ASSIGN ROL289.4 BILLION TO ETHNIC MINORITIES 

UDMR TO PROMOTE BILL OF A NEW LAW ON NATIONAL MINORITIES 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

News

"DECADE FOR ETHNIC ROMA INCLUSION " LAUNCHED IN ROMANIA 

BUCHAREST – The economic and social development of ethnic Roma
represents a challenge and one of the most important problems of the
central and East-European countries, was the main conclusions of the
meeting for the launch of "Decade for ethnic Roma Inclusion", that took
place on Wednesday, February 9, in Bucharest. The program for Eastern
Europe was launched in Sofia a week before.
"It is a political engagement aimed to eliminate the gap of
opportunities and living conditions, and to struggle with segregationist
actions", declared Ilie Dinca, president of National Agency for Roma
Rights. 
According to Dinca, the activities of the decade will be developed as a
continuity of the National Strategy for Improving Ethnic Roma Situation.
"This project will be adjusted according to Government Strategy and the
Joint Committee for monitoring and implementing the Strategy will be the
same with that coordinating this Decade of Inclusion".
The objectives undertaken for the next ten years by the Decade’s
partners refer to four priority domains: education, employment level,
health and dwelling construction for ethnic Roma.
The action plan of the Decade, drawn up by the Government of Romania,
includes the increasing of ethnic Roma participation to vocational,
high-school, post-high school and university education, the valuation
and maintenance of the Roma cultural heritage, fully guaranteed access
for ethnic Roma communities to basic medical and pharmaceutical
services, in accordance to EU standards as well as improved living
conditions in areas populated mainly by ethnic Roma. 
The main financers of the Decade are World Bank and the American
philanthropist George Soros.
"Our organization will grant 50 million dollars to Romania and, for the
implementation of the future projects we should talk less and do more",
said Owaise Saadat, World Bank representative in Bucharest. 
"We will go on the ground, to ethnic Roma communities and we will
persuade them to acknowledge their ethnical identity", added Ilie Dinca.
He also stressed that money would particularly go to local communities.
The activities are coordinated by a Steering Committee, formed of
governments representatives, but the representatives of the ethnic Roma
civil society would be involved in each stage of this initiative.
"We should not agree with making decisions without consulting the ethnic
Roma. The Government of Romania wants to solve ethnic Roma problems by
consulting and including representatives of ethnic Roma associations,
experts in administration and leaders of ethnic Roma communities in the
process of making decisions ", stated minister of state Marko Bela. 
The Roma Decade is a groundbreaking initiative of eight Governments in
Central and Southeast Europe to fight discrimination against the Roma
and to work to include them as full members of European Society. The
Decade started as a joint initiative of the World Bank and the Open
Society Institute, and the Europe-wide Roma Decade Program was launched
in Sofia on February 2, 2005. 
Author: DIVERS


ROMANIAN MEDIA STILL DISCRIMINATE ROMA PEOPLE

BRUXELLES - Anti-Gypsyism continues to be rife and undoubtedly a current
practice in the Romanian press European Roma Information Office (ERIO)
says regarding its newly released review of the Romanian media.
Especially appalling are the results found in Romania Libera, Adevarul
and Libertatea.
The Romanian press only uses politically correct terminology “rom” or
“rrom” when the articles have pan European themes or a focus on the
improvement of the situation of Roma, says ERIO. It also seems to
“forget” the pejorative connotation of the word “tigan” and “piranda”
whenever the articles were about thefts, scandals or police involvement.
ERIO monitored 7 mainstream Romanian newspapers for the month of January
2005 as part of the Europe-wide European Day of Media Monitoring. ERIO’s
analysis was based on the search of the electronic version of the
newspapers for some keywords: “rom”, “rrom”(meaning Roma) and “tigan”,
“piranda”(pejoratives for Roma).
Currently, polls find strong anti-Gypsyism prevails in Romania. This was
mirrored in ERIO’s findings. For instance, one article featured on 11
January in Ziua was titled “Bathing the Gypsies.” This is very similar
to the slogan used during the Roma Holocaust in Hungary against the
Roma, which can be construed very badly. Also, the title seems to have
no actual connection to the content of that story or other stories
monitored by ERIO. 
ERIO was shocked to find some outrageous themes in the mainstream media.
For instance Adevarul reports “Police barriers pulverized by Gypsy
hoards looking for holy water.” “Pitch-Blackish People” and “Gyppos”
were featured together with the “masked officers”(special Romanian
police forces) as the main characters in conflicts of seemingly “cosmic”
proportions in Romania Libera and Evenimentul Zilei.
Three out of the 7 newspapers actually managed to make mention of the
Roma Holocaust during the commemorations in January. This is despite the
fact that, in Romania, Roma were the main victims of the Nazi regime. In
a sharp contrast, on the same day most of the papers gave lots of space
for the story about a criminal of Roma ethnicity.
Additionally appalling was the “extra” found in Romania Libera’s article
published 6 January entitled “Boboteaza-the Guarding Angel.” Here a
number of Christian traditions are presented. One of them says “don’t
give bread to Gypsies, as it will transform the wheat into coal”. The
Romanian Orthodox church was a strong supporter of the fascist
movement’s ”Garda de Fier.” Also of Maresal Antonescu, who is
responsible for the death of over 20,000 Romanian Roma during World War
II. Either the newspaper invented that Christian tradition or, more
likely, the church, responsible also for over 500 years of slavery of
Roma in Romania needs to review its traditions and proclaim a new kind
of Christian practice that includes Roma.
The newspapers were Romania Libera, Adevarul, Libertatea, Ziua, Curierul
National, Evenimentul Zilei, and Ziarul de Iasi. These newspapers were
selected according to the number of copies sold per day and their
presence on the Internet.
Author: DIVERS


GOVERNMENT TO ASSIGN ROL289.4 BILLION TO ETHNIC MINORITIES 

BUCHAREST - This year, ROL289.4 billion were assigned from state budget
for supporting the organizations of citizens belonging to national
minorities. The money is mainly meant for partially covering expenses
related to the functioning of headquarters and branches of
organizations, as well as for maintenance and reparation works,
personnel expenses, press, books, schoolbooks, publications, expenses
with the organization of cultural actions etc.
ROL25 billion were also allotted from state budget this year for
financing interethnic projects and programs for combating ethnic
intolerance.
Author: DIVERS


UDMR TO PROMOTE BILL OF A NEW LAW ON NATIONAL MINORITIES 

BUCHAREST - A new law draft on national minorities is being prepared by
Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR) representatives and
will be publicly debated by the end of February, Divers learned.
According to the statements of head of Department for Interethnic
Relations Marko Attila, the law will regulate the principle of
non-discrimination, equality of chances and the use of the mother tongue
in private and public life. "We aim to draw up a code of national
minorities, to reunite those regulations that already exist in the
present legislation and to add other provisions in this domain", said
Marko Attila.
UDMR representatives together with those of the main ethnicities work
together for defining the status of "national minority", definition that
will also be included in the draft of the new Law on National
Minorities. According to UDMR deputy, Varga Attila, the law of
minorities must distinguish the status of "national minority" from that
of "ethnic minority". "It is important to define minorities as entity
for making the difference between traditional minorities, living in
Romania for centuries, emigrants and refugees. As regards persons
belonging to national minorities, they should regulate the principle of
free choice of belonging to a certain national minority ", stated Varga
Attila. In the opinion of UDMR representatives, the minorities law draft
should also make possible for the institutions in charge with national
identity to obtain the decisional autonomy. "Law should establish
certain mechanisms, especially in decisional domain, for all those
problems referring to us, referring to the cultural, linguistic,
religious identity of a national minority, in order to consult us
compulsorily, and even to have right of veto in certain situations ",
stated the representative of ethnic Hungarians. UDMR president, Marko
Bela, specified that the future minorities law should also regulate the
issue of representation of national ethnicities in the Parliament.
"Minorities can also have several associations, but we refer to the
participation in elections. At present, we have 18 minorities in the
Chamber of Deputies. We have to regulate representativeness criteria,
namely the organizations of national minorities benefiting from such
facilities. Which are those organizations, which are the criteria to be
fulfilled for participating in local or parliamentary elections?"
wondered Marko Bela.
UDMR representatives said that, by the end of February, they would have
a joint law draft, and the law of national minorities will enacted by
the end of this parliamentary session, by June respectively. 
Author: DIVERS


DIVERS - News bulletin about ethnic minorities living in Romania is
edited every week by MEDIAFAX, with the financial support of
Ethnocultural Diversity Resource Center. Partial or full reproduction of
the information contained in DIVERS is allowed only if the source is
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