MINELRES: Romania: Bulletin DIVERS on Ethnic Minorities no. 46 (242) / December 18, 2006

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Divers Bulletin no. 46 (242) / December 18, 2006

News

DOES ASSOCIATION "PRO TINUTUL SECUIESC" TARGET TERRITORIAL AUTONOMY? 
HUNGARIAN TEACHERS DISMISSED BY UBB AWARDED WITH JULIANUS PRIZE 
UNOFFICIAL REFERENDUM IN TWO TOWNS IN HARGHITA 
UDMR: SOMETHING MUST BE DONE WITH THE TERRITORIAL AUTONOMY ISSUE 
PRIZES FOR ARTICLES ON ETHNIC ROMAS 
JOURNALISTS CAN MAJOR IN HUMAN RIGHTS 
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News

DOES ASSOCIATION "PRO TINUTUL SECUIESC" TARGET TERRITORIAL AUTONOMY?
SFANTU GHEORGHE - Association for Inter-Community Development "Pro
Tinutul Secuiesc" (Pro Szeckler's County) was set up Thursday, December
7, in Sfantu Gheorghe. The association meets over 100 local councils in
counties Covasna, Harghita, Brasov, and Mures, a region in central
Romania mainly inhabited by the ethnic Hungarians (also called
Szeklers). The Association focuses on the social and economic
development of the Szeckler's region. The local councils with Romanian
ethnics did not join the Association, fearing it might be a first step
in achieving territorial autonomy. 
Association for Inter-Community Development "Pro Tinutul Secuiesc -
Szovetseg a Szekelyfoldert Egyesulet" aims to jointly draw up a strategy
of regional, social, cultural, and economic development of the area
mainly inhabited by ethnic Hungarians. It also aims to draw up some
local development projects to attract European funds as well as to
jointly provide public services. The Association will have juridical
framework, an administration broad, a president and two vice-presidents. 
Over 110 mayors throughput the Szeckler's County came at Sfantu
Gheorghe, but only 96 signed the Association's setting up document. The
setting up document was signed by 36 local councils in Covasna, 58 in
Harghita and two in Brasov. 
Mures Prefecture appealed some 25 decisions of the local councils in
Mures county, reason for which these towns will later join the
association. Harghita Prefecture sent a warning to the local councils in
Harghita, Thursday, asking for the annulment of the respective
decisions, out of procedural reasons. 
The head of the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania, or UDMR,
Marko Bela, stressed upon the setting up of this association as the
Szeckler's County is far behind other regions countrywide. The
Government is to blame for this situation, as it did not financially
support the steady development of this area. 
On the other hand, the head of UDMR stressed upon the fact the counties
have a joint interest and the same tradition and the Hungarian majority
population in the area aims to keep its national identity. UDMR head
also stressed upon this association is not a means to achieve the
territorial autonomy of the Szeckler's County in the near future, but to
help the local community "showing and imposing a will and strategies,"
which will subsequently be a big step to reach this goal. 
"Despite of the fact the law on the public local administration
authorizes and suggests the setting up of such association, this is
still the first such association in Romania, but hopefully a start for
other associations to be established countrywide, part of a
decentralization process," UDMR head also said. 
Marko Bela added that UDMR will militate for the reorganization of the
current regions of regional development and for transforming them into
administrative-territorial regions, as well as for amending the
Constitutions, within the context of the country's accession to the
European Union. This will help establishing the legal framework to
achieve the territorial autonomy in the Szeckler's County as well as in
other regions throughout Romania. 
UDMR's executive president Takacs Csaba, minister of Communications and
IT Nagy Zsolt, UDMR's senators and deputies took part in the meeting on
setting up the association. Some people disagree with this situation.
The vice-president of the Conservative Party, or PC, deputy Nicolae
Popa, aims at the investigation of the people representing the
Association "Pro Tinutul Secuiesc", as the main ideas they promote
breach the Constitution and Laws of Romania. 
Popa said Sunday, December 10, he will ask the General Prosecutors'
Office to investigate the representatives of Association "Pro Tinutul
Secuiesc" at the association's official registration in court. 
Popa aims to subpoena all people setting up this association for
promoting ideas such as territorial autonomy, which breach the Romanian
Constitution and laws. 
"Unfortunately, I was right accusing Marko Bela and UDMR of having
breached the Constitution and of having endangered the national safety.
I was right they only aim at achieving the territorial autonomy of the
Szeckler's County, endangering the territorial integrity and at urging
the population to secessionist and segregationist actions (...) I will
subpoena the people to set up Association Pro Tinutul Secuiesc", Popa
said. 
PC said that UDMR representatives behaved improperly, especially on the
National Day of Romania, laying crown with mourning ribbons. Popa said
these attacks against the country's fundamental laws should not be
allowed. 
Author: DIVERS - http://www.divers.ro/


HUNGARIAN TEACHERS DISMISSED BY UBB AWARDED WITH JULIANUS PRIZE 
MIERCUREA CIUC - The Hungarian teachers dismissed from the University
Babes-Bolyai, or UBB, in Cluj Napoca, were awarded Julianus Prize,
Saturday, December 9, in Miercurea Ciuc, for their particular
contribution in keeping the identity of the Hungarians in Romania. 
Lectors Hanz Peter and Kovacs Lehel, as well as Bodo Barna,
representative of Bolyai Initiative Committee, were rewarded for the
entire activity to re-establish the state university in Hungarian
language. Their speech stressed upon the fact "this false interethnic
conflict supported by a dictatorial and communist UBB, does not
represent the teacher's opinion as their Romanian colleagues accept the
multi-culturality". The University's Senate "uselessly turned the
Romanian majority against the minority Hungarians." 
Bodo Barna said it is not aimed at splitting up the University but only
at reorganizing the high education department in order to set up
Hungarian independent departments and an academic line with an
autonomous decision-making forum. 
The former president with the National Szeckler's Council, dr. Csapo
Jozsef, also received the Julianus Prize, for his initiative and fight
in achieving the autonomy of the Szeckler's County, to Eva Maria Barki,
Hungarian-Italian lawyer in Austria, whom the Government of Romania
declared "persona non-grata" back in 1994. The prize awards her entire
activity deployed in defending Hungarian ethnics who were denied the
right to keep the national identity. Kovacs Jeno, in
Szombathely-Hungary, was awarded for having renovated the monuments and
churches that belong to Hungarian minorities in the Carpathian Basin. 
Romanian journalist Dan Manolachescu in Sfantu Gheorghe, president with
Association for Community - Covasna, was awarded for his important role
in enabling the communication between Hungarians and Romanians, for
having publicly agreed to achieve the autonomy of the Szeckler's County
and for his efforts to convince the Romanians of its benefits. 
Julianus Prizes are awarded to important persons countrywide and abroad,
who militate for keeping the Hungarians' identity. Some 80 persons in
Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Austria, Turkey and USA
were awarded until this year's 14th edition. 
Author: DIVERS - http://www.divers.ro/


UNOFFICIAL REFERENDUM IN TWO TOWNS IN HARGHITA 
MIERCUREA CIUC - National Szeckler's County, or CNC, organizes an
unofficial referendum in two towns in Harghita, on the territorial
autonomy of the Szeckler's County.
The vice-president of the Szeckler's County in Odorhei, Dosa Barna, said
the referendum will take place during December 15 and 22, in Odorheiu
Secuiesc municipal and in the village of Mugeni. 
Ten voluntary people will go to every house with the mobile poll, asking
people of all ethnics whether they agree with the territorial autonomy
of counties Harghita, Covasna and a part of Mures. The quiz will be
bilingual and the inhabitants with voting right should answer the
question "do you agree the Szeckler's County get the autonomous statute
inside Romania?". Odorheiu Secuiesc and Mugeni village have some 26,000
persons with voting right. 
Dosa Barna said the results will be made public around Christmas, and
the poll will subsequently extend to all towns in Odorhei area. 
The Szeckler's Council in Odorheiu is the second to organize unofficial
referendums on the territorial autonomy of the Szeckler's County. The
first council to organize such a referendum was the Szeckler's Council
in Baraolt, Covasna county. Harghita Prefecture appealed all decisions
to organize official referendums on this issue, on grounds of being
unconstitutional. 
Lazarea and Ciumani are the last two local councils in Harghita to take
such decisions. Prefect Constantin Strujan said the decisions will be
appealed. 
Author: DIVERS - http://www.divers.ro/


UDMR: SOMETHING MUST BE DONE WITH THE TERRITORIAL AUTONOMY ISSUE 
SFANTU GHEORGHE - The head of Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania,
or UDMR, Marko Bela, said Thursday, December 7, the Union has no
intention of submitting draw laws on the territorial autonomy, but
"actions should be taken" on the Szeckler's County autonomy. 
Marko said he does not intend to submit a draw law on the territorial
autonomy of the Szeckler's County. 
"We do not intend to submit other draw laws except for the status of
national minorities, but we aim to settle the debates on this draft. We
currently focus on the minorities' laws," he also said. As regards the
autonomy of the Szeckler's County, Marko Bela said that actions should
be taken "for a real autonomy of this area, which is enabled by the
existent legal and constitutional framework." 
"We should not only change the legislation or the legal framework and
draft projects on this issue, but we should use the existent legal and
constitutional framework as the law on the public local administration
recommends the setting up of associations such as Szeckler's County
Association," Marko said. 
He also said the status of the recently established Inter-community
Association Pro tinutul Secuiesc, makes no reference to the territorial
autonomy of the Szeckler's County. "The utility of the association is
the most important," Marko said. 
UDMR head also said the Union aims to continue the decentralization
process. 
"The entire ruling alliance has been making nice statements on the
transfer of the de-concentrated institutions, subordinated to the
Government, but we did nothing and we are only working at drafting some
strategies. I believe we do not necessary need to amend the Constitution
in order to set up a legal framework assigning special tasks to certain
areas, to settle administrative frameworks. We could assign higher
tasks, more money and special powers to certain areas. We also envisage
various alternatives, for example the development regions that are
currently inadequate; we want to take some decisions," Marko Bela also
added. 
Marko questions whether the Government draft law on the statute of
national minorities has a chance. 
Author: DIVERS - http://www.divers.ro/


PRIZES FOR ARTICLES ON ETHNIC ROMAS 
BUCHAREST - Romani CRISS awarded Monday, December 11, journalist Adrian
Mogos with Jurnalul National daily and Televiziunea Romana, on the
occasion of the International Day of human rights, for his professional
and objective articles on ethnic Romas, during 2006. 
Adrian Mogos received the Prize for professional reports on ethnic Romas
for two articles on the ethnic Romas in Darmanesti, and for the
relationship between ethnic Romas and the police. The prize consisted in
a diploma and a voice recorder. 
Televiziunea Romana received the special price for objective reports on
ethnic Romas, in 2006, PR coordinator with Romani CRISS Cezara David
said. 
Romani CRISS also disclosed the results of a press monitoring during
December 2005 - October 2006, aiming to stress upon ethnic Romas image
in the central dailies and journalists' attitude against the members of
this ethnics. 
Romani CRISS monitored the reports on ethnic Romas in five central
dailies, namely Adevarul, Evenimentul Zilei, Jurnalul National,
Libertatea and Romania Libera. These dailies accounted for one article
daily, more or less referring to ethnic Romas. Adevarul accounted for
the bulk or 93 articles on ethnic Romas out of the aggregate 355
articles, and Romania Libera for 84 articles. Most of the aggregate 355
articles during the monitored period accounted for a neutral attitude of
journalists towards the ethnic Romas. Some 20.5% of the articles
accounted for a negative attitude of journalists and 15.8% articles for
a positive one. Romania Libera, Adevarul and Libertatea accounted for
most of the negative articles on ethnic Romas, while Adevarul, Jurnalul
National and Evenimentul Zilei for the most positive articles on the
ethnic Romas. 
The ethnic Romas were mostly associated with neutral or negative
actions, rather than with positive ones. Romania Libera, Adevarul and
Libertatea accounted for 12.1% of the articles needlessly stressing upon
the ethnics, which was considered "intentional discrimination". Some 217
articles presented ethnic Romas in non-conflict situations, while 159
presented them in conflict ones. As for the last type of articles,
ethnic Romas were the conflict target, the target and the conflict's
initiators. 
The awards was followed by a round table "Anul 2006: intre respectarea
principiului tratamentului egal si discriminare" (Year 2006: between
observing fair treatment principles and discrimination), organized by
Romani CRISS and the National Council to Fight Discrimination, in
partnership with ACCEPT association. The round table aims to present and
debate upon the human rights status in 2006, out of the perspective of
anti-discrimination legislative framework, as well as the equal
treatment on gender, sexual orientation, ethnic minorities, and
disabilities. 
Author: DIVERS - http://www.divers.ro/


JOURNALISTS CAN MAJOR IN HUMAN RIGHTS 
BUCHAREST - Organization Romani CRISS launched Monday, December 11, the
project "Romii si Mass-media: instruire in domeniul promovarii si
respectarii drepturilor omului" (Ethnic Romas and the media aiming to
increase the briefing degree on human rights observance, stressing upon
the ethnic Roma community. 
European Union financed the project through Program PHARE 2004. The
project takes place during October 2006-September 2007 in Romania's
capital city Bucharest, counties Timis, Iasi, Brasov, and Constanta and
it is coordinated by Romani CRISS. 
The project's organizers aim to improve the expertise skills of the
journalists, NGOs and public local institutions in the field of human
rights and anti-discrimination legislation. 
Romani CRISS team aims to promote the communication between the
journalists, NGOs and the representatives of the public institutions as
well as the population's briefing degree upon human rights and
anti-discrimination issues, qualitatively as well as quantitatively. In
order to meet these tasks, the team will draw a legislative and
institutional guidebook for journalists, on the national and
international legislation in human rights field, as well as case study
and practical examples to promote and observe human rights, project
assistant Cristina Soare said in a press statement. 
Five training classes on human rights will be held in counties Timis,
Iasi, Constanta, Brasov, and Bucharest, as well as two seminaries on the
ways to promote and observe human rights in Romania. 
Cristina Soare said the classes also include press monitoring activity,
during the first and antepenultimate month of project, monitoring the
articles in the central dailies as well as in six local dailies. The
best three feature reports or investigations in the promotion and
observance of ethnic Roma rights will be awarded with specialty
literature in anti-discrimination law and human rights compliance, worth
an aggregate of EUR750. The project supposes the setting up of a
briefing portal on human rights issue. 
Author: DIVERS - http://www.divers.ro/


---------------------------
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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