MINELRES: Romania: Bulletin DIVERS on Ethnic Minorities - 27 (155)/2005

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Mon Jul 18 19:19:35 2005

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Divers Bulletin no. 27 (155) / July 18, 2005




BUCHAREST - Parliament decided through a law settling some
organizational measures at the level of the central public
administration that the Government General Secretariat takes over the
administration of the foreign funds of the National Agency for Ethnic
Roma (ANR). The consequences of this measure is not clear yet, though
some insiders say everything is going the right way.
According to the law, National Agency for Ethnic Roma (ANR) will no
longer administer the funds due to the Department for PHARE Program
Implementation - “Strategia nationala de imbunatatire a situatiei
rromilor” (National strategy to improve the condition of ethnic Roma).
Law 198 on June 23, 2005 settled through article 21 that “Government
General Secretariat takes over the tasks, the positions and the funds
due to the activity of the Department for PHARE Program Implementation
no. RO/2002/000-586.01.02, support for the National strategy to improve
the condition of ethnic Roma, organized within the structure of National
Agency for Ethnic Roma”. 
The law enacts Government Emergency Ordinance no. 17/2005 to settle some
organizational measures at the level of the central public
administration. The law also stipulates “the Department for the program
implementation is led by a secretary of state designated through order
of the minister delegate to coordinate Government General Secretariat”.
According to the head of the PR department with Government General
Secretariat Cristian Sinc, the initiative comes from the Parliament,
which decided SGG administers from now on the funds of the Department
for PHARE Program Implementation: “Certain malfunctions were
acknowledged, in that respect the Implementation Department finalized
the project on last year but did not auction the projects meant to
improve ethnic Roma condition. Moreover, the Implementation Department
has not drawn up a project to support these projects”. 
Ilie Dinca, director of the National Agency for Ethnic Roma said he does
not believe the change will be beneficent. “I think the situation will
worsen on the long run. I do not think it is right to separate the
Agency from the Implementation Department as the policies we enforce
must also be financially supported. No minister had an implementation
unit somewhere else”. Dinca also added that for this year, PHARE money
for the projects meant for the ethnic Roma were of about 107 bn lei. 
Dinca also said that ANR will finalize the financial and administrative
documents to hand over the administration of PHARE funds to the
Government General Secretariat. Dan Oprescu, councilor with the National
Agency for Ethnic Roma has a neutral stand: “It is a matter of “cutting”
ANR foreign funds. Government General Secretariat is taking over these
matters. This is a good thing as it is required an impartial and fair
Oprescu also said that within the condition the projects of the Agency
financed from the state budget might be administered by the Program of
the United Nations for Development, just as last year, it is obvious the
Agency will no longer financially coordinate the actions, but will deal
only with the strategic planning and with public policies. According to
Oprescu, it has not been settled who is going to administer the state
budget due to the Agency for Ethnic Roma. 
Author: DIVERS


STRASBOURG - Europe's human rights court last week condemned Romanian
authorities for failing to properly investigate a series of deadly
house-burnings aimed at Gypsies, and granted the victims tens of
thousands of euros in damages. 
The European Court of Human Rights' ruling comes at a sensitive time for
Romania, which is under close scrutiny from the European Union over how
it treats minorities. Improvement of living conditions for Gypsies, or
Roma, is one of the main conditions for the country's membership in the
25-member bloc, AP reported. 
The court said a variety of Romanian authorities discriminated against
Gypsies in the aftermath of mob violence in a Transylvanian village in
1993 that left three Gypsies killed and more than a dozen houses burned.
Police were involved in the house-burnings and then tried to cover up
the incident, the court said. 
``The Court notes that despite the involvement of state agents in the
burning of the applicants' houses, the public prosecutors' office failed
to institute criminal proceedings against them, preventing the domestic
courts from establishing the responsibility of those officials and
punishing them,'' the ruling said. 
The case stems from a September 1993 stabbing of a villager in Hadareni
in northern Romania, allegedly when trying to interrupt a fight between
three Gypsies. An angry mob including the local police commander chased
the three men and set fire to a house where they had fled. 
One of the Gypsies was burnt alive, while the other two managed to
escape but were beaten to death by the crowd, the court said. 
Another 13 houses were destroyed and their Gypsy residents driven out.
When they tried to return home, they were beaten and pelted with rocks.
Twelve villagers were sentenced by Romanian courts to prison terms
ranging from one to seven years for murder and other crimes. However,
some of the terms were later reduced by appellate courts and some of
those convicted received a presidential pardon in 2000. 
Twenty-five victims and their relatives lodged a case with Europe's
human rights court, alleging they had been forced to live in hen-houses,
pigsties, windowless cellars or in extremely cold and overcrowded
conditions for years after their houses had been destroyed. 
The Strasbourg-based court ordered Romania to pay seven of the
plaintiffs or their relatives damages ranging from euro11,000
(US$13,400) to euro95,000 (US$115,800). 
The Romanian government said recently it had reached a settlement with
the other 18, agreeing to pay them between euro11,000 and euro23,000. As
part of the settlement, the government also agreed to better promote
minority rights and prevent and peacefully resolve racial conflicts. 
Romania is scheduled to join the EU on Jan. 1, 2007, but the bloc's head
office said it wouldn't hesitate to postpone the country's membership if
it doesn't meet all the criteria. 
Author: DIVERS


MIERCUREA CIUC – The Romanian communities neighboring the border of
Romania and in the Balkans are undergoing a difficult condition, stated
Eugen Popescu, the executive president of National Foundation for the
Romanians Abroad.
According to Popescu, in the past seven months, the Department for the
Romanians Abroad within Ministry of Foreign Affairs had not developed
any project in favor of the Romanian communities outside Romania’s
borders. Eugen Popescu stated that in Bulgaria for example, the groups
of children learning in Romanian language are in danger to be dissolved
as the teachers were no longer paid and in Timoc (in Serbia), the
Romanian associations are dissolved subsequent to lack of financing. 
"In Timoc, the intervention of the Romanian state was null when the
Serbian police intervened in force against a commemoration service
organized in honor of Mircea cel Batrin’s soldiers”, added Eugen
Popescu. He mentioned that in Vojvodina, properties of the Romanian
community are auctioned without any intervention from the Romanian
state. "Things are extremely serious, in the present nothing is being
done and the former governors made nothing but demagogic promises”,
added Popescu. 
The leader of the Democrat Party of Romanians in Serbia, Pedrag
Balasevic, stated on his turn he arrived in Harghita with a group of
Romanians in Serbia and Montenegro to talk about the problems the
community in this region is facing as well as about the possible
solutions. "The Romanian community faces important problems”, stated
Pedrag Balasevic. He said the Romanians in Serbia have not managed to
introduce the Romanian language in schools and this language is missing
from the radio or television. Balasevic also said that "it is not an
easy job to be Romanian in Serbia” and the people here expect to be
better understood by the political class and by the institutions in
Romania. "It was ceased any collaboration with the Department for the
Romanians Abroad, no project was accomplished but we hope we have a
better collaboration this year”, added Pedrag Balasevic.
Author: DIVERS


DROBETA-TURNU SEVERIN – National Council of the Romanian National
Minority (CNMR) within the Union Serbia-Montenegro managed to convince
the authorities of the necessity to introduce the Romanian language in
two of the schools in Timoc Valley.
According to the declaration of the CNMR prime-vice-president Draghisa
Constandinovici made on July 11, on the occasion of a meeting with the
county authorities, a number of 50 pupils in the I-VIII education units
of localities Slatina (Bor county) and Ranovat (Zaicer district) will be
taught Romanian language, starting this year’s fall. 
“This is a first step, under the circumstances the forum of the
Romanians in Serbia-Montenegro opened an office in Cladova. We are
understood by the authorities in Serbia-Montenegro in our mission to
support the process of conserving the Romanian identity and
spirituality. We target that in the upcoming years, all the Romanian
children South from Danube learn in Romanian schools”, said
According to the cited source, over 400,000 Romanians are living in
Timoc Valley and despite the fact some of them call themselves Vlachs,
they respect the tradition and culture and “show no hostility to the
country they are living in”.
Author: DIVERS

DIVERS - News bulletin about ethnic minorities living in Romania is
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