MINELRES: Romania: Bulletin DIVERS on Ethnic Minorities - 36 (164)/2005

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Divers Bulletin no. 37 (165) / September 26, 2005

News
JEWS ELECT NEW LEADER OF THEIR ORGANISATION
NEW ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW IS DRAWN UP
GOODBYE TO SIMON WIESENTHAL 
DIVERSFEST – FESTIVAL OF TOLERANCE AND NON-DISCRIMINATION
FORUM OF THE HUNGARIAN MPs FROM THE CARPATHIAN BASIN
HUNGARY MULLS OVER “NATIONAL VISA” SCHEME
PRM WANTS ETHNIC HUNGARIAN PARTY BANNED
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News

JEWS ELECT NEW LEADER OF THEIR ORGANISATION

BUCHAREST – Deputy Aurel Vainer is the new president with the Federation
of the Jewish Communities in Romania (FCER), being chosen on this
position on September 21, through secret vote. The over 100 delegates of
the Jewish communities across Romania chose Paul Schwartz to fulfill the
position of FCER vice-president and Albert Kupferberg as Federation
secretary general.
The new FCER president stated this was a tight race, defeating his
counter-candidate Tiberiu Roth with 49 votes to 46. “A democratic
process preceded this congress, which has not taken place for
half-century and four candidates ran for the position of president,
according to the regulation previously settled by the Board of Trustees.
I believe this situation witnesses this tight race between two persons
with assets and qualities hard to weight, totally and definitively”.
The main targets of Aurel Vainer’s program are a better collaboration
with the other ethnic minorities in the country, with the civil society
and with state authorities, as well as the improvement of the relations
with the Jewish communities worldwide.
“I want to consolidate and modernize FCER edifice'', stated the new FCER
president. The Jewish community includes less than 10.000 persons, as
compared to 800.000 Jewish at the beginning of the WWII on the current
territory of Romania. Nevertheless, the new president claims there are
still enough problems. “There are different generations. Most of the
Jewish living nowadays in Romania are old people, experiencing serious
health problems and whose living standard must be raised to a normal
level. We are faced with this concern, namely to ensure the continuity
of the Jewish community life in the future as well as in the present and
we are seriously considering this change of generations (…) Speaking
about the democratic degree, one of out biggest problem to solve is we
must improve the relational degree between Bucharest and the communities
countrywide. I believe we have the conditions to accomplish this – the
Congress showed everybody’s desire to work better and of course,
adjusting to present times and conditions, to this democratic spirit”,
also said Aurel Vainer.
According to Vainer, FCER will also take a firmer attitude towards
anti-Semitism. He particularly appreciated the inflow brought by the
Parliament of Romania through the recent enactment by the Chamber of
Deputies of a law transforming an ordinance in 2002 to fight the fascist
movements, the xenophobia and the promotion of the cult of the persons
having brought prejudices to peace and humanity and will continue the
activities of the community in field of religion, culture, economy and
social field. 
Author: DIVERS


NEW ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW IS DRAWN UP

BUCHAREST – National Council to Fight Discrimination (CNCD) in
collaboration with a group of representative non-governmental
organizations drafted a new bill to prevent and penalize the
discrimination, which mirrors the stipulations of Council Directive
2000/43/CE on implementing the principle of equal treatment between
persons no matter the race or ethnics, as well as the Council Directive
2000/78/CE to establish the general framework in favour of the equal
treatment on the workforce recruitment and the labour conditions. 
The notification was made within a seminar on the anti-discriminatory
legislation and policies within the European Union, organized at
Bucharest by CNCD and the European Commission. The future bill is meant
to establish a powerful and independent Council to provide the citizens
all the assistance they need. The bill will be submitted to the
Parliament for debate, as of this fall. 
Author: DIVERS


GOODBYE TO SIMON WIESENTHAL 

VIENNA - Hundreds of mourners have attended a memorial service in
Austria's capital Vienna for renowned Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, who
died recently, BBC reports. The Holocaust survivor devoted much of his
life to tracking down Nazi war criminals, including Adolf Eichmann. At
the simple service, Mr Wiesenthal's coffin was draped in a plain black
cloth. Wreaths of flowers, with blue and white ribbons representing
Israel, stood nearby. "Wiesenthal was not a powerful man, yet he took on
the mantle in order to make the world a more just place," Austria’s
Chancelor Schuessel said as he addressed the congregation. 
Vienna's Grand Rabbi Paul Chaim Eisenberg also gave a brief address
before a cantor said the kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead. 
Earlier, the secretary general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, said
Mr Wiesenthal had sent an important message to the world that there
should be no impunity for genocide and crimes against humanity. Mr
Wiesenthal's death was announced by officials at the US-based Simon
Wiesenthal Center. 
He died in his sleep at his home, according to Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean
and founder of the centre, which campaigns against anti-Semitism and
other forms of intolerance. 
"Simon Wiesenthal was the conscience of the Holocaust," Mr Hier said.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said: "Simon Wiesenthal's
passing saddens us all. He was a champion in the fight to bring to
justice the 20th Century's worst criminals who had escaped justice."
Mr Wiesenthal, who grew up in Ukraine, was a prisoner in the Mauthausen
death camp when it was liberated by US troops in May 1945, but dozens of
his family members - including his mother, stepfather and stepbrother -
died in the Holocaust. 
He is a fine role model of what one person can achieve in the fight
against evil Roger Bradshaw, Bristol, UK In the 1950s, he helped to
track down Eichmann, one of the chief architects of Adolf Hitler's Final
Solution aimed at eliminating the Jews, in Argentina.
In 1960, Eichmann was abducted there by Israeli agents and subsequently
tried, convicted and executed in Israel. 
Six million Jews were murdered in the Nazi death camps of World War II,
along with thousands of Gypsies, homosexuals, disabled people and
political dissidents. 
Author: DIVERS


DIVERSFEST – FESTIVAL OF TOLERANCE AND NON-DISCRIMINATION

BUCHAREST – During September 22-25, Bucharest hosts "DiversFEST", a
festival of diversity to promote the equality between the citizens, the
tolerance and non-discrimination. 
The manifestations start with a debate on continuing the process of
settling new affirmative policies and with awarding a Prize for
promoting the equality of chances. On Friday it continues the campaign
to cover in paint the discriminatory slogans on the buildings in
Bucharest and on September 24 is a day dedicated to the national
minorities. 
Altogether, at the National Theatre it is opened the presentation fair
of the nongovernmental organizations with activity in observing the
human rights and organizations of the ethnic minorities. Next day, the
Village Museum hosts the day of the national minorities and the
organization of an exhibition of traditional objects, of culinary
products and a parade of the traditional costumes. The last day of
DiversFEST is dedicated to the children, whom are organized in Cismigiu
Garden a contest of drawings on the asphalt, of mime and plays will be
presented. During the festival, tents will be placed in Bucharest parks
to inform on the human rights, the non-discrimination and the observance
of the principle of equality. 
Author: DIVERS


FORUM OF THE HUNGARIAN MPs FROM THE CARPATHIAN BASIN

BUDAPEST – Instead of “the ethnic Hungarian-ethnic Hungarian face-off”,
it is required an ethnic-Hungarian-ethnic Hungarian collaboration on the
issue of the ethnic Hungarians abroad, stated UDMR president Marko Bela,
on September 16, during the high meeting of the Forum of ethnic
Hungarian Parliamentarians in the Carpathian Basin.
During the meeting in Budapest, the parliamentarians were informed about
the carrying out of the stipulations included in the document of the
Forum of Ethnic Hungarian Parliamentarians in the Carpathian Basin,
enacted on September 10, 2004. Then, the participants debated the
studies on enforcing the territorial, personal autonomy and of the
double citizenship in the European Union, namely as regards the
possibilities to accomplish the minority protection at a European level.
In his speech, Marko Bela showed the ethnic Hungarian community in
Romania considers equally important the double citizenship as well as
the problem of establishing various forms of autonomy. He also mentioned
the law on the minorities submitted to the Parliament of Romania, law
ensuring the establishment of the juridical and institutional framework
of the cultural autonomy.
UDMR president stressed out the support of the Hungarian state and the
functioning of its institutions must be reconsidered. He also said “the
public foundations are obsolete”, namely the Basic Program Homeland is
well-intended but its goals are not put in practice. As for the
ethnic-Hungarian-ethnic–Hungarian relations, Marko Bela said a consensus
must be reached as soon as possible abroad, and he urged the people
present at the meeting that during the upcoming electoral campaign in
Hungary, the issue of the ethnic Hungary communities abroad is not
changed into an instrument of separation. 
Author: DIVERS


HUNGARY MULLS OVER “NATIONAL VISA” SCHEME

BUDAPESTA - Hungary is planning to introduce a national visa which would
enable ethnic Hungarians living outside the country's borders in non-EU
states to cross the Schengen borders and enter the EU. Specifically,
Budapest's aim is to facilitate the ethnic Magyars' access to Hungary up
until the time that the country attains full Schengen status.
Currently, Budapest is co-ordinating the plan with the representatives
of the ethnic Hungarian groups affected as well as with the EU. As for
the latter, government commissioner DezsO Avarkeszi said that no
objections have been raised in Brussels.
Under the plan, special identity cards would be issued to the Magyar
minorities. In December 2004, a referendum on granting Hungarian
citizenship to the 2.5 million ethnic Hungarians in the neighbouring
countries failed because of low voter turnout.
Currently 13 of the EU-25 states are members of the Schengen Agreement
(Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy,
Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden). 
Author: DIVERS


PRM WANTS ETHNIC HUNGARIAN PARTY BANNED

BUCHAREST - Senators from the nationalist Greater Romania Party (PRM)
has submitted draft legislation to change the parties' law to ban the
Hungarian Democratic Alliance (UDMR) from elections as an organization
belonging to the Hungarian minority.
According to the senators, the Hungarian Alliance has benefited from a
privileged status for over 15 years and has refused to register as a
political party.
Senators want to eliminate a law provision which grants certain
privileges to minority parties.
Author: DIVERS


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