MINELRES: Hungary: Minority News, June 2005

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Wed Jul 13 18:52:25 2005

Original sender: Judit Solymosi <solymosij@mail.datanet.hu>

Office for National and Ethnic Minorities
Budapest, Hungary

Selection of news on
national and ethnic minorities in Hungary

April - June 2005

The National Slovak Self-government takes over school from the
Bekescsaba City Council

According to the request submitted by the National Slovak
Self-government last year, the agreement on the transfer of the local
Slovak educational institution in Bekescsaba was signed on 31 May. In
conformity with the agreement, the school will be maintained in the
future by the National Slovak Self-government. The Deputy Mayor
responsible for the educational issues of Bekescsaba stated that in line
with the present legislation, the City Council, former maintainer of the
institution was bound to transfer its operation to the National
Self-government. He also added that the City Council has always laid
emphasis on ensuring the operation of an educational institution of high
quality for the Slovaks in the region. Therefore the City Council had
yearly provided, besides the normative, a HUF 40M supplementary fund for
the institution. The school centre educates 55 children at the
kindergarten, 190 students are studying in grades 1-12; 97 of which also
benefit from the students' hostel services of the institution. It is
important to note that the changes in the maintenance will not affect
the legal status of the staff: they will continue to work as public

The Parliamentary Standing Committee for Human Rights, Minority and
Religious Affairs decided against the recognition of the Hunnish

In April, with 17 votes against and 4 abstentions, the Parliamentary
Standing Committee for Human Rights, Minority and Religious Affairs did
not give its support to the popular initiative submitted in order to
gain recognition for the Huns as a minority under the relevant law.  

Emilia Rytko, Head of the National Election Office informed that a sheet
containing 2,381 signatures for the recognition of the Huns was
submitted to the Office earlier. She added that the procedure was in
line with the relevant provision of the Minorities Act requiring at
least 1000 signatures in order to forward a popular initiative to the
Parliament for deciding on the issue. Mrs Rytko stressed that it lies
beyond the competence of the National Election Office to take a stand as
regards the content of a popular initiative.

Mr Antal Heizer, President of the Office for National and Ethnic
Minorities stated that on the basis of the professional position of the
Hungarian Academy of Sciences on this question, the Government, i.e. the
Ministry in charge of minority issues did not support the initiative.

When asked to summarize his opinion in Hunnish, the starter of the
initiative, Mr Imre Josua Novak said "the present Hungarian language
could be considered as one of the dialects of the Hunnish language, and
in this way everybody in the room was able to speak Hunnish".  

Cultural and recreational centre opened in Croatia for the Croatian
community in Hungary

As already reported, in July 2003 Croatia conveyed to the Croatian
community living in Hungary a holiday home, to serve as a training,
further training and holiday centre on the Adriatic island Pag for a
20-year free use. In May 2005 the holiday home was solemnly inaugurated
by Mr Antal Heizer, President of the Office for National and Ethnic
Minorities and Mr Laszlo Teleki, Political State Secretary responsible
for Roma issues at the Ministry of Youth, Family and Social Affairs and
Equal Opportunities. Mr Teleki in his speech recalled the antecedents:
ten years ago the idea of a holiday home was brought up by Mihaly
Karagics, head of the National Self-government of the Croats in Hungary.
According to a bilateral agreement between the Hungarian and the
Croatian governments, both states equally contributed to the renovation
of the centre with an amount equalling HUF 100M. 45 children studying in
Croatian schools in Hungary also attended the ceremony.    It is planned
that the centre will also serve the cultural and recreational purposes
of other Croatian communities living in Austria, Slovakia, the Czech
Republic, Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania and

Roma community centre inaugurated in Parad

The network consisting of some 30-35 Roma community and cultural centres
enlarged in April with the opening of the Parad centre inaugurated in
the presence of Orban Kolompar, president of the National Roma
Self-government. The development of the network started in 1997 after an
experimental period initiated by the then Ministry of Social Welfare.
The centres serve as bases for cultural activities and social life; the
services they provide to individuals are much appreciated. The National
Roma Self-government supports their activities with financial assistance
and the provision of equipment.

Opening of the first permanent Roma exhibition gallery

In April, the first permanent Roma exhibition gallery was opened in
Budapest in the headquarters of the National Roma Self-government. The
premises of the gallery are open to exhibits of any artistic branches.
Besides some 40 paintings by Janos Csik, the first exhibition comprised
wood-carvings and other works of arts by Roma artists living in Tolna
county. For the time being, the gallery will display temporary
exhibitions and organise film shows, but the growing collection of the
self-government will hopefully soon lead to showing a permanent
exhibition as well.

Diplomatic traineeship for Roma students

In the framework of a 30-day-long diplomatic traineeship programme
announced by Laszlo Teleki, Political State Secretary responsible for
Roma issues at the Ministry for Youth, Family and Social Affairs and
Equal Opportunities and the Ambassadors of the Republic of Hungary to
the United States of America, France and Germany, three Roma university
students with a good command of foreign languages gained the opportunity
to get an insight into the everyday life of the diplomatic missions in
spring 2005.

A young Roma musician won the talent competition organised by TV2 

On the evening of the final competition of the popular talent show
entitled "Megasztar", the Roma Civic Rights Foundation organised a
festivity in the framework of which the participants along with Roma
activists encouraged Caramel, a young Roma musician, who won the
competition. In his speech before those present, Aladar Horvath,
President of the Roma Civic Foundation stressed the importance of the
nationwide competition from the point of view of the Roma. He added that
the programme requiring much persistence to achieve success may prove
that talent alone is not sufficient. He measured the significance of the
performance of Caramel and the young Roma artists of last year's
competition to the importance of the election of Roma members to the
Parliament in 1990.                

Government proposal to promote the employment of Roma musicians is under

Former ministerial commissioner in charge of Roma issues at the Ministry
of National Cultural Heritage, now strategic chief adviser Katalin
Kallai co-ordinates the elaboration of the government programme on the
social integration of Roma musicians and the improvement of their
situation on the labour market.  One wing of the programme aims at the
re-introduction of live music services in restaurants and the catering
trade. The agreement concluded with the Labour Centre of Csongrad county
may serve as a model: its aim is to promote the employment of Roma
musicians at the cultural programmes of the city of Szeged on a regular
basis. Similar initiatives have been taken or are being prepared in
Debrecen, Szolnok, Nagykanizsa and Gyor. 

Media training for Roma youngsters

In June 2005, the Independent Media Centre launched a training course
for Roma youngsters between the age of 14 and 18. The students
successfully completing the course will have the opportunity to edit
radio programmes broadcast by Radio C. The financial contribution of the
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands allows 20 young Roma to take
part in the one-year- programme free of charge.  
Roma letters

A unique publication: a collection of Romani letters from the end of the
19th century was published in June 2005. Doing his military service
between 1853-1856, Archduke Joseph Habsburg learnt the Romani language
from the Roma fellow soldiers. The publication contains 51 letters
written in Romani in the 19th century: these pieces are part of the
correspondence between the archduke and some Roma inhabitants of the
Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. It is assumed that these 51 letters may have
well been the first longer texts written and signed by Roma people.
Archduke Joseph is also known for having carried on linguistic research
work in Romani and for having communicated with the Roma inhabitants of
the Monarchy in the Carpathian dialect of this language. Stressing the
equality of the language, he taught the Romani language also to his
daughter Maria, and in his absence he corresponded with her in Romani. 

The publication constitutes a valuable curiosity of cultural history
that may contribute to the increase of the prestige of the Romani
language and strengthen the positive feelings and the identity of Roma
people. The book has been published in Romani, English and Hungarian; a
CD in Hungarian and Romani is also enclosed. The publication can be
ordered at the following address: Fovarosi Onkormanyzat Cigany Haz
Romano Kher, 1151 Budapest, Enekes utca 10/b or E-mail:

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