MINELRES: Romania: Ethnic Diversity Briefs, No.31

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.delfi.lv
Fri Nov 15 14:56:23 2002


Original sender: Mediafax <divers@mediafax.ro>

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No. 31 / November 11, 2002

DIVERS
- reporting ethnic diversity -

SUMMARY

1. ROMANIA, YUGOSLAVIA SIGN ETHNIC MINORITIES ACCORD
2. BOARD FOR FIGHTING DISCRIMINATION ANNOUNCES FIRST MEASURES
3. GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS REFURBISHMENT OF SYNAGOGUE IN BACAU
4. BOOK ABOUT THE HISTORY OF SAXONS IN TRANSYLVANIA

FEATURE:
5. ROMANIAN PASSPORTS ATTRACT THOUSANDS IN UKRAINE
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ROMANIA, YUGOSLAVIA SIGN ETHNIC MINORITIES ACCORD
BELGRADE - Romania and Yugoslavia last week signed, in Belgrade, a
cooperation agreement in the sector of national minorities protection.
The agreement stipulates the right of the Romanian minorities living in
Yugoslavia, respectively of the Serbian minority in Romania, to
participate to the decisions of their interest and at the same time to
make use of their mother language both in the society as well as in the
private life. A Romanian official stated that over 50, 000 Vlach
Romanians live in Valea Timocului (western Serbia) and, as a result of
this agreement, they can be acknowledged as ethnicity, but not only as
ethnic group. Besides, the number of ethnic Serbs living in Romania is
estimated at around 8,000. President Ion Iliescu admitted the fact that
the Romania not always did its job to uphold the cause of the Romanians
outside the country's borders, but indicated that the authorities from
Bucharest will do more in order to support them, financially speaking
also, yet as much as possible.
On his part, the yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica explained that
the accord, and the recently voted law of ethnic minorities, will
regulate in a satisfactory way, statute of minorities in the two
countries. The following steps, said Kostunica, could be the bilateral
documents on matters of culture and education, which could introduce the
right to education in their native language for ethnic Romanians in
Serbia. Until then, however, reminded the Romanian president, they have
to be supported in asserting their national identities, with the support
of manuals, books and publications in their native language, and through
the financing of schools and churches. The Yugoslav president did not
say whether the widening of rights of ethnic minorities could go as far
as to the designation of a representative in the federal Parliament,
like it happens in Romania. (DIVERS)
 
BOARD FOR FIGHTING DISCRIMINATION ANNOUNCES FIRST MEASURES
BUCHAREST - The Romanian dailies no longer publish adverts of
discriminating character based on ethnical factors, but chiefly based on
criteria likened to age and sex, this is the conclusion of monitoring
study pursued at the end of October by the National Board for Fighting
Discrimination (CNCD). The Board's chairman, Cristian Jura, announced on
November 1, into a press conference, that from now on CNCD is going to
penalize all public manifestations of discriminating character. "So far
no fine has been applied as we consider that first of all we have to get
the public opinion informed and only afterwards we can apply
penalizations ", said Jura. According to the monitoring study made by
CNCD, on October 22-29 period, there were discovered 629 messages
promoting discrimination, out of a total number of 33,972 adverts
published within classified ad of 11 central dailies. Age criteria
seemed to have prevailed, in terms of discrimination, (553 adverts),
followed by sex criteria (62 adverts) and profession (14 adverts). The
racial and ethnic discrimination could not be found within the adverts.
(DIVERS)

GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS REFURBISHMENT OF SYNAGOGUE IN BACAU
BACAU - Romanian Government enacted the allotment from the State budget
for the amount of ROL 800 m (some 24,000 USD) in order to cover the
costs of the repairing works at Cereal Breeders' synagogue from Bacau
(east of Romania). The synagogue is degrading, while the main revenues
of the local jewish community, coming from allowances, taxes and
allotments for the services provided, seem not to be enough to proceed
repairing works. (DIVERS)

BOOK ABOUT THE HISTORY OF SAXONS IN TRANSYLVANIA
BUCHAREST - Romanian Ministry of Culture and Faiths and the National
Museum of History have recently launched the book "Sibiul si Tara Veche"
("Sibiu and the Ancient Country"), written by Martin Rill, focusing on
the history of the Saxons from Transylvania. According to the author,
this history encloses three distinct periods, starting from middle of
17th century. After centuries of economic and cultural flourish, after
1990 most of Saxons preferred leaving Romania. The author stated that he
hoped for his work to be a sort of "memento" for the descendants of
those living in this part of Europe for almost a millennium. (DIVERS)


FEATURE

ROMANIAN PASSPORTS ATTRACT THOUSANDS IN UKRAINE
Thousands of Ukrainians are applying for Romanian citizenship in an
effort to gain better travel opportunities once Romania joins the
European Union.The interest in obtaining Romanian citizenship has
rekindled fears that Romania is promoting its citizenship among
Ukrainians to increase its influence over an area it once controlled.
Advertisements appeared recently in local newspapers in southwestern
Chernivtsi Oblast inviting local residents to apply for Romanian
citizenship. The advertisements claimed Romanian passport holders will
soon have a chance to travel freely throughout Europe once Romania joins
the EU.
Romania is slated to join the EU in 2007, while officials in Brussels
say Ukraine will not be able to do so for at least another 10 years. In
the meantime, Ukrainian citizens will need visas to enter most European
countries. The advertisements, which contained telephone numbers and
addresses of offices processing applications, encouraged Ukrainians to
apply if they could prove that their ancestors lived in the region prior
to 1940.
Romania controlled Bukovyna, a region encompassing Chernivtsi oblast,
from 1918 to 1940, when the area was transferred to the Soviet Union.
Romania made territorial claims to Northern Bukovyna after the Soviet
Union collapsed in 1991, but Ukraine resisted the move. Romania and
Ukraine eventually signed a bilateral treaty confirming the existing
border in 1997. Now, Romania has consular offices in Kyiv, Chernivtsi
and Odessa. Officials at the Romanian Embassy weren’t able to say how
many Ukrainian citizens have acquired Romanian citizenship recently.
Petro Kobevko, editor-in-chief of the Chernivtsi-based weekly newspaper
Chas, estimated that more than 20,000 of the oblast’s 940,000
inhabitants have already applied for and received Romanian passports.
According to the 1989 Soviet census, about 135,000 ethnic Romanians and
325,000 ethnic Moldovans lived in Ukraine, an amount equal to about 1
percent of Ukraine’s population. Ethnic Romanians make up the majority
of the population in some districts of Chernivtsi Oblast, and more than
30 percent of television programming in the oblast is broadcast in
Romanian.
"Most people in these parts can prove, if they want to, that their
ancestors resided in Bukovyna before 1940," said Volodymyr Mrachkovsky,
head of Chernivtsi’s passport registration and migration office. He said
many residents in the economically depressed region believe that
Romanian passports will give them more freedom to travel and work
abroad.
Romania’s campaign has drawn the ire of rightist Ukrainian political
parties, who accuse the neighboring country of brutal interference in
Ukraine’s internal affairs. A statement issued by the Sobor party and
the Stepan Bandera Tryzub nationalist organization on Oct. 24 charged
that Romania was using simplified procedures for granting citizenship to
residents of Chernivtsi Oblast. It said that by promoting the practice
in the local media, Romanian officials were sparking separatist trends
in the region and threatening Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The
parties called on the Ukrainian government to respond to what they
described as Romania’s "provocative actions."
In an Oct. 30 address on local television, Chernivtsi Oblast Governor
Teofil Bauer warned Ukrainians applying for Romanian passports that they
will lose their Ukrainian citizenship upon acquiring citizenship of
another country. Ukrainian law does not recognize dual citizenship.
Bauer said that local authorities would take "adequate measures" to
punish persons who had failed to inform authorities that they had
accepted Romanian citizenship. Dan-Marin Cruceru, consul at the Romanian
Embassy in Kyiv, said that embassy officials in Ukraine were adhering to
Romanian law. "For us, it is not important who asks for citizenship,"
said Cruceru. "The [Romanian] law is for everybody." He said Romanian
law grants citizenship to former Romanian citizens who have been
deprived of their citizenship for various reasons. He said those also
include citizens of other countries who do not intend to move to Romania
for permanent residence. He said that more than 300,000 Moldovans,
including more than half of Moldova’s lawmakers, hold Romanian
passports. He couldn’t specify how many Ukrainians have Romanian
citizenship. He also denied allegations his embassy was using simplified
procedures to grant Romanian passports to Ukrainians living in
Chernivtsi Oblast.
"The Ukrainian authorities think that we permit too many Ukrainians to
receive Romanian citizenship," Cruceru said. "This perception is false."
(By Peter Byrne, Kyiv Post)

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