MINELRES: Romania: Bulletin DIVERS on Ethnic Minorities - 33 (161)/2005

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Divers Bulletin no. 33 (161) / September 9, 2005

News
ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN RECONCILIATION PARK OPENED
PRIME MINISTER URGED TO ACT IN HADARENI CASE
TOWN HALL FINED FOR BREAKING ROMA RIGHTS
SWASTIKA DRAWN ON EX-SYNAGOGUE’S WALLS
HOLOCAUST INSTITUTE AWAITS APPOITMENT OF DIRECTOR
UDMR SUPPORTS INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS...
..BUT IS AGAINST SZEKLER AUTONOMY
SPECIAL PASSPORTS FOR HUNGARIANS ABROAD
------------------------------------------------

News

ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN RECONCILIATION PARK OPENED

ARAD - About 350 people attended on end August the opening of the
Romanian-Hungarian Reconciliation Park in the city of Arad. Minister of
State Marko Bela was present at the event, representing the Hungarian
community in Romania, as well as the deputy chief of the European Union
Delegation to Bucharest, Onno Simons.
"Romania managed to avoid an interethnic tragedy after 1989, and that's
why we believe it is an example for Europe," Simmons said. The main
attraction in the park is the Triumphal Arch, a symbol dedicated to
revolutionaries in Transylvania, in 1848. 
Author: DIVERS

PRIME MINISTER URGED TO ACT IN HADARENI CASE

BUDAPEST - The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) has sent a letter to
Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu urging him to take
action against a recent outburst of racist speech in Romanian media. The
recent announcement by the European Court of Human Rights of two
judgments concerning the 1993 pogrom in the village of Hadareni, and
subsequent measures by the authorities taken against the perpetrators of
the pogrom, have been seized upon as an opportunity by a number of
politicians and journalists to launch verbal attacks against Roma in
Romania, significantly degrading the public space. 
The European Court of Human Rights ruled twice in July in connection
with the 1993 pogrom in the village of Hadareni, Mures County, central
Romania, and its aftermath. The case involved the killing by a mob of
three Romani men and the subsequent destruction of fourteen Romani
houses in Hadareni, as well as the degrading circumstances in which the
victims were forced to live after the event. The Court issued two
decisions on the matter in July, the first affirming a friendly
settlement between the Romanian government and 18 surviving victims of
the pogrom, and the second finding Romania in violation of multiple
provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and awarding
damages to 7 victims who had declined amicable settlement. 
Following the ruling, and in the wake of measures by authorities to
seize property belonging to the perpetrators of the pogrom in order to
award damages to victims, prominent public figures have spoken out to
provoke, reinforce and incite popular anti-Romani sentiment. Major media
outlets have provided such persons with space to air their views. The
ERRC letter calls the particular attention of Prime Minister Tariceanu
to one very extreme example of anti-Romani hate speech undertaken by the
prominent politician Mr. Corneliu Vadim Tudor, and currently still
available to the public on an Internet website. 
In the letter sent, the ERRC also urges Prime Minister Tariceanu to
ensure that the Romanian Government takes all necessary measures to
provide full redress to the victims of the pogrom, as well as to swiftly
prosecute those persons responsible for inciting and participating in
the pogrom who have not yet been brought to justice. The latter category
includes a number of police officers. The ERRC also urges that legal
action be brought against those authorities responsible for the
deficiencies of the criminal investigations in the 1993 events as found
in the judgments by the European Court of Human Rights. 
Finally, the ERRC letter notes the detailed commitments undertaken by
the Romanian government as part of the friendly settlement decision to
alleviate the very extreme conditions of the Roma in Mures County, as
well as to dampen the very high levels of hatred against Roma there. The
letter urges Prime Minister Tariceanu to take an active role in
supervising the measures set out in the friendly settlement decision. 
In related development, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied
accusations by the head of the Human Rights Office at Pro Europe League,
Istvan Haller, who said the ministry had tried to become involved in the
Hadareni Roma discrimination case the night before the 1994 judgement in
Romania.. According to Haller, since Romania ratified the European
Convention on Human Rights in May 1994, the ECHR Court ruling had
stipulated that the damages for the Roma community in Hadareni should be
paid from then until the present time, because ECHR articles had not
been respected. 
"Internal rulings refer strictly to what had happened in September
1993," said Haller, adding that it is a grave abuse for a ministry to
become involved in the act of justice and to suggest to a court what
ruling to give. "We can clearly show that the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs used its power to intervene in this case," said Haller,
explaining that he had talked to international lawyers who confirmed
that both the ruling in Romania and the ruling of the ECHR are
applicable. 
The head of the prefect's office in Mures, Marius Ichim, denied that
there had been interference in the case, saying he had talked to the
Ludus Court (where the case was first heard) whose judges said they
never received a note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, suggesting
to them how to handle the trial. 
Author: DIVERS

TOWN HALL FINED FOR BREAKING ROMA RIGHTS

MIERCUREA CIUC - The Miercurea Ciuc town hall (southern Transylvania)
has been fined 4,000 RON (over 1,100 euros) by the National Council to
Combat Discrimination, because it evicted a Roma community from the edge
of the town to eight barracks located in an area with high risk of
infection. 
The barracks were located near the town's water filtering station.
Although the 80 Roma were initially scheduled to remain there for three
months, they were left there for over a year. The Council decided that
the forced evacuation of the Roma was a serious violation of human
rights and nondiscrimination principles. 
Author: DIVERS

SWASTIKA DRAWN ON EX-SYNAGOGUE’S WALLS

CLUJ-NAPOCA - A swastika was drawn on the walls of a former synagogue
from downtown Cluj-Napoca and police have not yet identified those
responsible. Konczei Csilla, the head of the cultural center currently
based in the former synagogue, filed a complaint with the police and
ordered that the inscription, which was accompanied by obscene words, be
covered. 
In his opinion, the inscription was not necessarily intended to be
anti-Semitic and could have been a childish action, determined by the
"rebellion" of youth. However, those responsible should be punished and
educated, he said. The head of the local Jewish community has notified
the Romanian Intelligence Agency about the incident. 
Author: DIVERS

HOLOCAUST INSTITUTE AWAITS APPOITMENT OF DIRECTOR

BUCHAREST - The Ministry of Culture has launched a competition for
director of the "Elie Wiesel" National Institute for the Study of the
Holocaust. Among the conditions for the position are a PhD in history, a
minimum of five years experience in the field and advanced knowledge of
a foreign language. 
Assessment of the candidates will be carried out following presentation
of a management project and an interview. The deadline for submitting
the applications and the management project is September 4. 
The main activity of the institute is the collection, organization,
research and publication of documents referring to the Holocaust in
general, but the institute will also run educational programs
specifically related to the Holocaust in Romania. 
The recently created institution is self financed but also receives
funds from the state budget. It has 30 employees, 15 of whom are
scientific researchers. It also has a Scientific Council and an Honorary
College, whose members are appointed by the Ministry of Culture and are
not paid. 
A commission for studying the consequences of the Holocaust in Romania
was established in 2003 and the conclusions of the report presented by
this commission at the end of 2004 established that there was a
Holocaust in Romania, due to the "deep roots of anti-Semitism in the
country's political and cultural history." 
Author: DIVERS

UDMR SUPPORTS INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS...

BUCHAREST - The Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR)
feels infrastructure investments should assume priority in 2006 and the
party wants a budgetary allocation for infrastructure at a minimum 2% of
GDP.
The Covasna UDMR senator, Puskas Balint, said the party's Economic and
Budget Finance Commission had reviewed the objectives of the budgetary
policy for 2006 and arrived at the conclusion that this should be
included in the State Budget Law for 2006 and approved by the
Parliament. 
According to Balint, the financial results obtained till now and the
natural disasters that have struck Romania should determine the draft of
a budget in which such investments become a priority. 
Regarding the possible Value Added Tax increase, the alliance feels
alternative resources must be identified for sustaining expenditures
necessitated by EU accession. 
After a study carried out in May, Transilvania districts came last in
attracting infrastructure development funds, according to Delegate
Minister for Public Works Laszlo Borbely. 
Between 2001 and 2004, Transilvania received only 2.7 euros per capita
for the development of drinking water supply and rural roads, while
Dobrogea received 7.4 euros, Muntenia 3.2 euros and Moldova 3.7 euros.
Author: DIVERS

..BUT IS AGAINST SZEKLER AUTONOMY

BUCHAREST - The leader of the Hungarian Democratic Alliance (UDMR),
Marko Bela, said that his party continues to support territorial
autonomy, but does not support the draft law for Szekler County
autonomy, which was submitted to Parliament by the National Szekler
Council. "We don't' support this project because it is a failure from
the professional point of view and we have some other objections," he
said. Marko said the law for national minorities is the main priority at
the moment. 
Author: DIVERS

SPECIAL PASSPORTS FOR HUNGARIANS ABROAD

BUDAPEST - The Hungarian government is considering issuing special
identity documents to Hungarians living in neighboring countries,
according to the Hungarian media.
These documents will grant the right of free circulation in the EU to
their owners. The initiative, which also includes the granting of
Hungarian citizenship, is inspired by a similar measure taken by Greek
authorities. Based on a special agreement with the EU, Athens
authorities gave similar documents to Greeks living in Albania.
Hungary's PM Ferenc Gyurcsany said that his government is looking for a
solution which is acceptable for the 10 million Hungarian citizens and
for most Hungarians living abroad, in accordance with Hungarian and EU
laws. 
Author: DIVERS

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