MINELRES: Minority news from Hungary: September - October 2005

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Wed Nov 9 20:15:45 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

September - October 2005

New minority legislation in Hungary

As reported in our special issue in June, on 13 June 2005 the Hungarian
Parliament adopted a new law that will bring about important changes in
the Hungarian legal framework affecting the life of national and ethnic
minorities. The new act modified the provisions of earlier minority
legislation: the act on the rights of national and ethnic minorities as
well as the acts containing the provisions regulating minority
elections. It essentially widened the scope of authorities of minority
self-governments and will hopefully contribute to the setting-up of
bodies elected only by the members of the communities concerned.

However, after the adoption of the law in June, the Constitutional Court
decided against the constitutionality of one element of the new law (the
provision of a preferential seat to one member of the minority
self-government in the municipal government, cf. the Communique of the
Head of State sent out on 23 June 2005). The incriminated paragraph has
now been taken out of the text, and on 17 October 2005 the Hungarian
Parliament adopted Law No CXIV on the Election of Minority
Self-government Representatives and on the Amendment of Certain Legal
Provisions concerning National and Ethnic Minorities. At the same time,
Parliament adopted a decree obligating the Government and the
parliamentary parties to draft and to submit within 30 days a proposal
that would offer a solution to the issue of preferential seats provided
to minorities in the local authorities.

Roma initiatives for the 2005 parliamentary elections

Several Roma initiatives have been launched to gain seats in the
Hungarian Parliament at the 2006 elections. At the end of August, the
Party of Minorities in Hungary asked registration at the Court of the
Capital City. Their declared aim is to improve the assertion of the
interests of minorities, primarily the Roma. In October, the 800
delegates present at the congress of the Forum of Roma Organisations in
Hungary decided that the Forum would participate at the parliamentary
elections by itself and refused to renew the electoral co-operation
agreement concluded with the Hungarian Socialist Party in 2002. In his
speech at the congress, Mr Orban Kolompar invited Roma politicians to
join together and told that the Roma have to be present and to have a
say in politics.

Croatian minority radio on the Internet

In October, a Budapest-based Croatian language minority radio started
operating on the Internet. The medium was set up by the National
Croatian Self-government and the Croatica Non-profit Company with the
aim of extending the use of the minority language and improving the
information opportunities of the Croatian minority communities living
dispersed across the country. For the time being, programmes are
broadcast twice in a week, on Tuesdays and on Thursdays. The Office for
National and Ethnic Minorities provided an assistance of HUF 6.5M (
26,000) to the project. Programmes are accessible at the website

Roma broadcasters in RTL Klub

Two young Roma, Ms Aliz Adler and Mr Lajos Orsos have been selected to
become broadcasters at the RTL Klub commercial TV channel. The channel
announced a competition for young Roma interested in this profession:
the approximately one hundred applicants had to come through a
three-round competition. Supported by a scholarship, Ms Adler and Mr
Orsos will have now to acquire the skills needed before appearing on the
screen, so they take part in a one-year intensive trainee programme
where they learn among others composing programmes as well as English.

Election of Hungarian delegates to the European Roma and Travellers

The election of the delegates of Hungary to the European Roma and
Travellers Forum took place in the headquarters of the National Roma
Self-government on 20 October. The representatives of 41 Roma civil
organisations attended the meeting; these organisations had earlier
registered with the ERTF.

Minority Film Festival in Budapest

The 4th Film Festival of national and ethnic minorities will be held in
one of the central cinemas of Budapest on 17 November. The aim of the
festival is not only to show films that present the life of minorities,
but also to make them popular. The 29 films that will be projected
parallel in several rooms have been produced by the creative nationality
workshops of the Hungarian Television where the traditions of minority
programme and film making go back to more than a quarter of a century.
The length of the films varies from 5 to 104 minutes. 14 out of the 29
films deal with the Roma minority. The festival is supported by the
Hungarian Television, the Embassy of Germany, the Office for National
and Ethnic Minorities, the Ministry of National Cultural Heritage and
the National Cultural

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