MINELRES: Romania: Bulletin DIVERS on Ethnic Minorities no. 28 (224) / August 14, 2006

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Divers Bulletin no. 28 (224) / August 14, 2006

News
UDMR ANNOUNCES CONSULTATIONS WITH ETHNIC HUNGARIAN REPRESENTATIVES IN
TRANSYLVANIA 
GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT FOR ETHNIC HUNGARIAN EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS 
FREE OF CHARGE VISAS FOR ETHNIC ROMANIAN STUDYING COUNTRYWIDE 
WE SERVE ETHNIC ROMA PEOPLE!!! 
COURSES OF ROMANI LANGUAGE 
CAMP FOR CHILDREN ON TOLERANCE AND NON-DISCRIMINATION 
ROMANIA EMBRACING HOLOCAUST EDUCATION 
----------------------------------------------------------

News

UDMR ANNOUNCES CONSULTATIONS WITH ETHNIC HUNGARIAN REPRESENTATIVES IN
TRANSYLVANIA 

BUCHAREST - Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) aims
to start a domestic renewal, according to Union leaders. "We need an
efficient, unitary, open, and pluralist Union", said the UDMR president
Marko Bela. UDMR announced the organization of complex consultations
with representatives of ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania, with civil
and professional organizations, with representatives of churches as well
as with people criticizing the Union's activity. 

UDMR will organize various consultations in the upcoming period,
preparing next year's Congress, said UDMR president Marko Bela, Friday,
August 4, during a press conference held in Tirgu-Mures. 

Marko said that UDMR will not set closer to the radicals but the
radicals should set closer to the Union. He also said we should all
prevent the setting up of two ethnic Hungarian parties in Romnia, namely
Ethnic Hungarian Civic Union and UDMR, for not disturbing the ethnic
Hungarians' access in the Parliament. Marko Bela aims "the Union becomes
more efficient, more open, and unitary under the sign of pluralism."

Marko Bela said that UDMR guarantees the improvement of the ethnic Roma
community's status in Romania. The organization did its job and achieved
important resulted in the past period. We need changes in the
organizational structure, and we must reconsider the role of our
organization in defending the interests. 

In order to prevent a miscommunication with its own community, Marko
said that UDMR will speed up, as of this fall, the "captatio
benevolentiae" procedure of the Szeckler's county. He will organize the
meeting of UDMR mayors on September 23 and on October 16, and he will
take part in the double anniversary of the national Szecklers' meeting
in 1848 in Lutita commune, Harghita county, and of 500 years since the
first national meeting of this "minority" within the ethnic Hungarians.
UDMR will organize in Cluj, on October, a show in honor of 50 years
since the revolution in Hungary.
Author: DIVERS


GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT FOR ETHNIC HUNGARIAN EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS 

BUCHAREST - Government of Romania authorized Wednesday, August 2 funds
worth RON19,052,000 to support the ethnic Hungarian education
departments. Thus, Alba county receives RON380,000, Arad county
RON282,000, Bihor county RON1,200,000, Bistrita-Nasaud county RON50,000,
Brasov county RON110,000, Cluj county RON3,282,000, Covasna county
RON1,399,000, Hunedoara county RON250,000, Mures county RON1,965,000,
Harghita county RON3,583,000, Maramures county RON580,000, Satu Mare
county RON1,639,000, Salaj county RON1,710,000, and Timis county
RON2,522,000. These counties can invest the money in the rehabilitation
works of education institution teaching ethnic Hungarian. 
Author: DIVERS


FREE OF CHARGE VISAS FOR ETHNIC ROMANIAN STUDYING COUNTRYWIDE 

MANGALIA - Romania will grant after January 1, 2007, free of charge
visas for ethnic Roma studying countrywide and for their companion,
Radio Romania reported on August 9, quoting minister of the Interior
Vasile Blaga. He also said other ethnic Romanians leaving abroad could
benefit from six-month visas on the Romanian territory. The declaration
was made in the opening of the Symposium of ethnic Romanians living in
diaspora taking place in Mangalia, organized by the local city hall and
some non-governmental organizations.
Author: DIVERS


WE SERVE ETHNIC ROMA PEOPLE!!! 

BOTOSANI - The owner of a pub who refused to serve three ethnic Roma
youngsters back in 2002 was ruled against in court to receive the
claimants in the pub and to pay moral damages worth RON600. 

During the evening of December 4, 2002, three ethnic Roma citizens,
including a representative of Romani CRISS Organization, headed to
"Complex Moldova" pub in Botosani, managed by SC Aurelu SRL. They simply
wanted to have a drink in the pub. 

When entering the pub, the three youngsters noticed a discriminatory ad
saying "We have the right to choose our clients - We do not serve ethnic
Roma people". Despite this ad, Romani CRISS representative tried to have
a drink but the waiter refused to serve him, claiming the owners'
specific orders not to serve ethnic Roma clients. The waiter said "the
owner does not want to serve any ethnic Roma in this pub". 

Two months later, in February 2003, Romani CRISS filed a complaint to
the National Council to Fight Discrimination, or CNCD, on the fact the
ethnic Roma people were denied the access to Complex Moldova pub. Based
on CNCD's Decision no. 165/27.05.2003, this was a discriminatory action,
which was penalized with a fine worth RON800 enforced to Complex Moldova
in Botosani. 

SC Aurelu SRL appealed the decision in Botosani Court, which decided to
replace the fine with a "warning". The court's decision was declared
definitive. Romani CRISS subsequently supported the victims of
discrimination to submit a civil action to Botosani Couthouse, against
SC Aurelu SRL, to repair the discriminatory attitude. 
Thus, on July 8, 2004, Botosani Courthouse gave the civil sentence no.
3211, accepting the claimants' request "to be allowed in the pub in
Botosani…", and to pay each claimant some RON200 as moral compensation.

Romani CRISS is currently developing the legal procedure to enforce
other three court orders aiming to undo the prejudice caused the ethnic
Roma by restricting their access to the places open to public, or by the
publishing in the media of some articles against ethnic Roma human
dignity. 
Author: DIVERS


COURSES OF ROMANI LANGUAGE 

COSTINESTI -The 9th edition of National Courses of ethnic Roma language
and teaching was held during July 20 and August 3, 2006 in Costinesti
(southern Romania), being organized by the General Academic Department
in the Monther Tongue of Minorities within Ministry of Education and
Research and the financing partner Unicef Branch in Romania. 

This year's courses met 40 ethnic Roma students throughout almost all
counties countrywide, who teach ethnic Roma tongue in schools.

The students are studying common ethnic Roma tongue (the common
morphological and lexical elements in the ethnic Roma dialects) and
receive information about the teaching method of this language.

The teachers of Ethnic Roma language are conf. univ. doctor. Gheorghe
Sarau and prof. Camelia Stanescu, while instit. Daniela Chircu Cristil
is language method-teacher.

Over 250,000 ethnic Roma pupils are being taught in the Romanian
educational system (starting with elementary to high-school education),
and some 10 % of them are studying upon request some 3-4 hours per
week/ethnic Roma course and/or ethnic Roma history and traditions. 
Author: DIVERS


CAMP FOR CHILDREN ON TOLERANCE AND NON-DISCRIMINATION 

BUCHAREST - Organization Save the Children is organizing during August
14-20, 2006, in the camp from Arbanasi, Buzau county, two parallel
activities targeting a better knowledge, understanding and collaboration
between children of different ethnics within the project "Compliance
with the rights of ethnic Roma children - a means to prevent social
exclusion". 
Two groups of different ethnics - ethnic Roma, Romanians, ethnic
Hungarians, Turkish citizens, - some 90 pupils with schools in Coltau -
Maramures, Balta Arsa/Corni - Botosani, Calvini - Buzau, Glina - Ilfov
and Secondary school no. 1 in Mangalia, included in the project- will
develop specific activities in view of a better knowledge, understanding
and elimination of discrimination among people of different ethnics, of
acceptation and appreciation of multicultural diversity.

Some of them will take part in debate workshops on child's rights,
stressing upon the nondiscrimination, and the other part will work in
artistic workshops (painting, literature, music). The results of the
activity will be subject to a joint mini-magazine of the camp. The
children could practice sports and could play various games.
Author: DIVERS


ROMANIA EMBRACING HOLOCAUST EDUCATION 

TORONTO - The former director of the Holocaust Education and Memorial
Centre of Toronto is helping Romania develop its Holocaust education
teaching strategy, Jewish Telegraph Agency reports. 

Peninah Zilberman, who was director of the Holocaust Education and
Memorial Centre of Toronto from 1989 until 1998, spent three weeks this
past spring in Romania holding seminars for teachers. She made
presentations in the capital, Bucharest, and the city of Cluj, in
central Romania. 

"As a child of Romanian Holocaust survivors, it was of utmost importance
for me to have the opportunity to address Romanian teachers about the
Holocaust," said Zilberman, whose father currently spends half a year in
Romania. 

Zilberman's mother grew up in Sighet and lived on the same street as
novelist and activist Elie Wiesel. 
"My paternal grandparents brought me up with many stories about Romania,
and in their memory and in the memory of my maternal grandparents, which
I never knew, as they were gassed in Auschwitz, I felt very good for
being able to guide Romanian teachers in their quest in teaching the
Holocaust."

Zilberman spent a day in May in Cluj, at Babes-Bolyai University, where
she lectured to 30 teachers. 
The seminar at the University of Bucharest's Goren-Goldstein Hebrew
studies Center ran from May 10 to 12 and 58 teachers, ranging in age
from 28 to 60, participated. Zilberman said the seminar was not as
intense as the program in Cluj, which had three parts." 

"They spent a whole week in February learning about the history of the
Holocaust and how it [affected] the state of Romania. In May, they
[learned the] methodology," she said. 

Each participant will now write an essay on subjects concerning the
Holocaust, which they will present at their third and final seminar this
October, before travelling to Auschwitz. 

According to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 15 years following
the fall of communism in Romania in 1989, there still had not been any
acknowledgement of the Holocaust. This is an added challenge when
teaching Holocaust education, Zilberman said. 

"The person who co-ordinated the program in Cluj insisted that those who
attend have to be fluent in English and not older than 32, because they
[don't] come with preconceived ideas," Zilberman said. 

"Until 1989, nobody spoke about the Holocaust. Nobody taught [Holocaust
education]. They completely denied that there was a Holocaust." she
said. Zilberman said the underlying motive for this new interest in
Holocaust education in Romania is political.

"One has to understand that this is a growth that Romania wants to be
accepted in 2007 as a member of the European Union," she said. "Part of
the requirement is acknowledging the Holocaust."

On June 13, 2003, the Romanian government released a statement denying
any Romanian responsibility in the Holocaust. Five days later, following
a spate of international condemnation, a statement was released by the
government, acknowledging what had occurred more than 61 years ago.

On Oct. 22, 2003, the former president of Romania, Ion Iliescu,
announced the establishment of a commission to investigate the Holocaust
in Romania and on November 11, 2004, a 400-page Final Report was
released. According to Yad Vashem, the report documents the history of
the Holocaust in Romania as well as recommendations on how the
government can promote Holocaust education, remembrance, research and
awareness.

This year, a Holocaust memorial will be unveiled in Bucharest on Oct. 9,
Romania's Holocaust Remembrance Day.
On Oct. 9, 1941, the deportation of Jews to local concentration camps in
the regions of Bukovina, Bessarabia and Transnistria began. Zilberman
said that in Transnistria victims died of hunger, beatings and
malnutrition, and also because of environmental factors.

"October is pre-winter, lots of rain, and it's in the northern part of
Romania, which means that it's cold and it snows. What happens is… the
ground, turns into a mud, that if you put one foot [down], and you don't
lift it up immediately, you get stuck," she said. 

"It's a terrible thing because when you talk to some survivors, they
sometimes say that they saw their parents get stuck to the ground." The
deportation of Jews from the Transylvania region, which was the center
of Chassidism, to Auschwitz began on May 15, 1944. According to the
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in 1933, Romania's Jewish
population was approximately 980,000. Today, Romania is home to a Jewish
population of about 14,000. 
Author: DIVERS

---------------------------------------------------
DIVERS - News bulletin about ethnic minorities living in Romania is
edited every week by Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, 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 and suggestions regarding the content
of DIVERS bulletin at Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, at the
e-mail address:
marian@birn.eu.com

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