MINELRES: Romania: Bulletin DIVERS on Ethnic Minorities - 43(171)/2005

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Divers Bulletin no. 43 (171) / November 14, 2005

News
STATUTE OF THE MINORITIES CAN BRING ABOUT A MORE SERIOUS CRISIS WITHIN
THE COALITION 
ECHR INFORMED AS REGARDS THE REFERENDUM OF DECLARING THE TERRITORIAL
AUTONOMY OF THE SZECKLER’S COUNTY 
HIGH PROMOTION RATE AT THE COURSES FOR ETHNIC ROMA 
JEWISH COMMUNITY COMMEMORATES START OF HOLOCAUST
-------------------------------------------------

News

STATUTE OF THE MINORITIES CAN BRING ABOUT A MORE SERIOUS CRISIS WITHIN
THE COALITION 

Opposition and part of the governing coalition have joined forces in
criticizing the draft law on minorities' status, which they have ruled
as antidemocratic. Democratic leader Emil Boc said on Saturday that the
draft law on the minorities' status can be applied only if it follows
all European standards on minorities' rights and freedoms, plus all
international recommendations on the issue.

Boc said that the draft law has been the cause of many disputes and
endless discussions, and the only way forward is to find a consensus and
then a proper solution. He said that the draft law should contain
stipulations which accord with the Democracy Commission in Venice and
international standards on human rights for minorities.

Last week Parliamentarians rejected the Government request that the law
draft on the statute of the national minorities is debated within urgent
procedure. The law is not supported by any of the Alliance PNL-PD
parliamentarians and its rejection in the Parliament might lead to a new
crisis within the ruling alliance. Meanwhile, two leaders of UDMR
parliamentarian group within the Chamber of Deputies have drawn up a set
of proposals to amend the law draft on the statute of the minorities.
The proposals were made complying with the point of view of the
Commission of Venice and signed by deputies 
Arpad Marton and Attila Varga, were submitted to the leadership of the
parties in the coalition and will soon reach the parliamentarians. “We
will amend the law according to the remarks submitted by the Commission
of Venice”, stated Arpad Marton, leader of UDMR group in the Chamber.

The initiative comes after the Standing Bureau of the Chamber of
Deputies rejected the Government request that the law draft on the
statute of national minorities is debated by emergency, subsequent to
the withdrawal of PC representatives from the leadership of the Chamber.
UDMR accused PC of "treason", but the conservatives explained this was a
misunderstanding as they ignored the respective session of the Standing
Bureau of the Chamber included this point on the daily agenda. The
Government tried on Monday, November 7 to introduce the law draft in the
Chamber by emergency.

The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Adrian Nastase, managed to
postpone the law, claiming the deputies should first of all receive from
the Government "tables of compliance" with the European legislation.
On the other hand, sources in the coalition stated for Mediafax that
various liberal and democrat parliamentarians, especially those in the
electoral areas in Transylvania, are against the enactment of the law on
the Statute of national minorities. Most of the dissatisfactions are
among PD members, party whose leaders such as Emil Boc and Vasile Blaga
come from Transylvania, said the cited sources.

President of PD Covasna, Gheorghe Baciu has already announced he is to
ask the PD parliamentary group in the Chamber of Deputies not to vote
the law draft on the statute of national minorities in its current
draft. Baciu stated that at Monday session of PD Board of Trustees, he
will inform his colleagues about the objections formulated against the
law draft on the national minorities. Also, he will request this project
is to be debated in the Chamber of Deputies within normal procedure, and
not in an urgent one as the Government has asked.

He thinks the enactment of the law draft on the Statute of the national
minorities in the form proposed by UDMR and promoted by the Government
will trigger serious consequences upon the Romanian community in
counties Covasna and Harghita. An objection of PD Covasna leader refers
to the fact that in his opinion, UDMR aims to introduce within the
internal law the collective rights and the concept of cultural autonomy.
"I cannot agree with the cultural autonomy, we are totally against some
articles in the law”, said Baciu.

According to some sources in the ruling alliance, the main political
objections to the enactment of the normative act supported by UDMR are
connected to the fact the Alliance PNL-PD and Traian Basescu won the
elections in 2004 because of the vote in Transylvania and if the law is
passed, the liberals and the democrats might lose an important electoral
fief.

In exchange, the rejection of the law might trigger a serious crisis in
the ruling alliance, including its break-up and the start-up of early
elections, reason for which Premier Calin Popescu Tariceanu supports the
enactment of the normative act, claimed the cited sources.

According to the cited sources, UDMR declared willing to wait as long as
it might be necessary to enact the law, as long as this is made during a
reasonable period of time, conditioning the vote at this law by the
subsequent governing. The Union does not want to accept any amendment at
the law draft, reason for which some provisions might be subject to
nationalist attacks towards Alliance PNL-PD from PSD and PRM. The two
parties have already initiated a campaign on the Statute of the
minorities, which caused media agitation and the rejection of the law in
the Senate. 
Author: DIVERS


ECHR INFORMED AS REGARDS THE REFERENDUM OF DECLARING THE TERRITORIAL
AUTONOMY OF THE SZECKLER’S COUNTY 

MIERCUREA CIUC – European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg
was informed by the local council Ditrau (county Harghita) about the
fact the Romanian courts have not enabled the organization of the
referendum by means of which the citizens of the commune in Harghita are
given the chance to state their opinion on declaring the territorial
autonomy of the Szeckler’s County. 

Lawyer Eld Kincses stated that the respective memoir shows that through
hindering the organization of the referendum, the courts in Romania
breached the right to free speech legalized through art. 10 of the
European Convention for Human Rights. Within the referendum, the
inhabitants of the commune had stated an opinion on the possibility to
establish the territorial autonomy through an organic law. 

Also, it was claimed the violation of the defence right as when the file
was at Targu Mures Court of Appeals, the court rejected a deference
request of the lawyer who was pleading, on the same day, at the High
Court of Cassation and Justice, reason for which it was infringed the
right to a fair trial. Elod Kincses said that through the memoir
submitted to the European Court for Human Rights, it is requested the
permission of organizing the referendum by means of which the ethnic
Hungarian inhabitants are consulted whether they want to establish the
Szecklers’ County. 

The lawyer claims that no such cases exist in Europe, “in the countries
in which a minority asked for autonomy, the majority was very
sympathetic”, giving the recent example of widening the Catalan
territorial autonomy in Spain. Ditrau local council is one of the four
in Harghita county, next to Joseni, Gheorgheni and Ciumani, that passed
decisions on organizing the referendum regarding the territorial
autonomy of the Szeckler’s County. They were appealed at the disputed
claims’ office by Harghita Prefecture, which was ruled in favour in all
the four trials. 
Author: DIVERS


HIGH PROMOTION RATE AT THE COURSES FOR ETHNIC ROMA 

ALBA IULIA – Almost 50 ethnic Roma registered at the professional
qualification courses organized by the Local Council and by the Centre
for Vocational Training for the Ethnic Roma Community in county seat
Alba Iulia promoted the final examination at the theoretical as well as
practical subjects, informs a press release. The municipal local
authority organized for the ethnic Roma citizens in local communities,
during June – October 2005, qualification courses in the fields of
trader of non-food merchandises and manufacturer of leather products and
substitutes.

The first course registered an attendance rate of 28 ethnic Roma and the
second 18 persons. The general average to graduate the two courses was
9.38 at the first course, namely 9.24 at the second. 

“I am very much appreciating your interests and the constant presence of
the ethnic Roma citizens at the two courses; also, I appreciate the
percent to promote the final tests and the decent behaviour at the
theory and practice courses of the students. This denotes a pro-active
attitude among the students and the acknowledgement of the importance to
get a qualification in locally popular economic fields”, said Dalia
Elena Dumitru, director of programmes within Alba Iulia Local Council. 

The courses were organized within the project “Centre of Vocational
Training for the ethnic Roma community – the ethnic Roma are also
working”, developed by Alba Iulia Local Council in partnership with Alba
County Council, Alba Labour Force Recruitment Agency and the
Communitarian Group of initiative of the ethnic Roma in county seat Alba
Iulia. The project is financed by the European Union, through Phare
program. 
Author: DIVERS


JEWISH COMMUNITY COMMEMORATES START OF HOLOCAUST

TIRGU MURES - The Jewish community in Targu Mures last week celebrated
"Kristallnacht" (The Crystal Night), which was the symbolic beginning of
the Holocaust, at the synagogue in the city (central Romania). The
commemoration which marks 67 years since the explosion of violence
against Jews, was organized as in every year by the Pro Europa League
and the Jewish community in the town who insisted in their messages in
Romanian and Hungarian that such events should never happen again.
"Crystal Night" is the symbolic name of the pogrom against Jews which
took place on November 9, 1938, organized by Hitler's troops. 

That night violence began in Berlin with the breaking of windows of
Jewish shops (hence the name "Kristallnacht") and rapidly extended to
the whole of Germany. The event claimed 91 Jewish lives, while over
30,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps and over 200
synagogues were set on fire. Around 6 million Jews perished during the
Holocaust, most of whom were exterminated in concentration camps. 
Author: DIVERS


--------------------------------------
DIVERS - News bulletin about ethnic minorities living in Romania is
edited every week by MEDIAFAX, with the financial support of King
Baudouin Foundation, Belgium and Ethnocultural Diversity Resource
Center. Partial or full reproduction of the information contained in
DIVERS is allowed only if the source is mentioned. You can send messages
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