ROMANIA

SHADOW REPORT: OCTOBER 1999



GABRIEL ANDREESCU
STRASBOURG OMBUDSPERSONS FOR NATIONAL MINORITIES
(Bucharest, str. Nicolae Tonitza no. 8, tel & fax: (401) 312 4443; apador@dnt.ro)





1. As follows from Article 25 paragraph 1 of the Framework Convention the report is to contain full information on the legislative and other measures taken to give effect to the principles set out in the Framework Convention. The aim of this outline is to facilitate both the work of those providing the information and that of the Committee of Ministers and the Advisory Committee.

2. This outline pertains only to the first reports to be submitted by Parties following the entry into force of the Framework Convention.

The report is to consist of two parts, and is to be submitted in one of the official languages of the Council of Europe as well as in the original language version. It should in its first part (Part I) contain an introduction on the way in which the Party has sought to implement the Framework Convention. This introduction should provide a coherent global overview and framework for understanding the specific information provided in the second part (Part II) of the report. Part I should therefore include:
- (a) recent general statement(s) on the policy of the State concerning the protection of national minorities;
- information on the status of international law in the domestic legal order;
- information on the unitary or federal character of the State;
- a summary overview of the relevant historical development of the country;
- relevant information on the demographic situation in the country;
- information on the existence of so-called minority-in-minority situations in certain areas;
- basic economic data such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and per capita income.

States are invited in this part to highlight measures, practices and policies which they consider to have worked particularly well in promoting the overall aim of the Framework Convention.

Furthermore States are requested to indicate the efforts they have made to promote awareness among the public and the relevant authorities about the Framework Convention.

States are also invited to indicate issues on which they would particularly welcome the support and advice of the Advisory Committee.

COMMENT I, Part I

One of the issues raised by the Romanian Constitution was the interpretation of the constitutional text – more precisely, of Art. 1 (1) and Art. 4 (1) - from an ethnic point of view:

art. 1 (1):

“Romania is a sovereign, independent, unitary and indivisible National State”.

art. 4 (1):

“The State foundation is laid on the unity of the Romanian people.” A consequence of the ethnic interpretation of the constitutional text was the pressure brought to bear upon minorities – especially upon the Hungarian minority –, which had to declare their loyalty to the state and to commit themselves to comply with the Romanian Constitution. Many political leaders, governmental institutions and even the Romanian Parliament have taken stands in this sense. In 1995, such campaign even led to the dissolution of the coalition that included the party representing the Hungarian minority and several Romanian parties. But the requirement to declare one's loyalty to the state introduces a presumption of subversive activity carried out by persons, organisations (parties) belonging to national minorities, which is unacceptable. (The vows taken by the officials of the state or by high-ranking civil servants (oaths of allegiance, etc.) are related to specific responsibilities that introduce specific duties.)

To ask only certain persons – be they members of the minority or of the majority, or their organisations – to make oaths of allegiance introduces an element of anti-democratic discrimination. (The Geneva Report of the CSCE Reunion of experts on minorities of 19 July 1991 is relevant in this sense: “The participating States declare that the persons belonging to a national minority shall enjoy the same rights and shall have the same duties as the rest of the population”).

A commitment to acknowledge the Constitution of Romania can be equated with an oath of loyalty; therefore, such requirement is abnormal. The obligation to comply with the Constitution has nothing to do with the opinion of one (or more) persons that the legislation or the Constitution are (not) perfect or should (not) be modified. It is legal documents and not opinions that can be anti-constitutional (illegal).

These elements have demonstrated that the requirements imposed on national minorities, who must take oaths of allegiance and must acknowledge the Romanian Constitution, are implicitly or explicitly connected with the sense of “National State”, a concept mentioned in Art. 1 (1) of the Romanian Constitution. The terms national and nation can only be interpreted, in the sense of the European Convention on Human Rights and of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, in a civic sense, so as to apply to the community of citizens rather than to a community established on an ethnic basis. But the ethnic sense of ”nation” is highlighted in Romania not just by the political stands, but also by doctrinary writings. For instance, the Constitution of Romania – Comments and annotations, published by the autonomous Administration “Monitorul Oficial” in 1992 under the signature of the very authors of the Constitution: Ion Deleanu, Antonie Iorgovan, Ioan Muraru, Florin Vasilescu, Ioan Vida, defines nation as “a community of ethnic origin…” (p. 7).

Consequently, in the Romanian context, the civic character of the term national should be explicitly defined in order to eliminate its various interpretations, whose negative consequences touch inter-ethnic relations. The German example provides a viable solution to this problem. With reference to Article 20 of the German Constitution, which uses the term “Volk” (people), the German Constitutional Court ruled, in its decisions dated 31 October 1991, that the term “Volk”, in the sense employed in the Constitution, refers to the community of citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Such declaration made by the Romanian Constitutional Court would be welcome in Romania and could be one of the recommendations of the Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

COMMENT II, Part I

According to the decision by which the Inter-Ministerial Committee for National Minorities was established (it was founded on August 7, 1998, by Government Decision no. 460), the national report on the enforcement of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities should have been elaborated by this institution. Neither in the Inter-Ministerial Committee for National Minorities nor the Department for the Protection of National Minorities was informed by the Foreign Ministry about the elaboration of the national report, although these specialised bodies of the Romanian Government had the information and the responsibility to define policies in the field of national minorities. Neither the organisations of national minorities nor those that promote human rights have been involved, one way or another, in discussions regarding the enforcement of the Framework Convention by Romania. Nor was the public opinion informed on the answer of the Romanian state to this extremely important issue. One might even say that the Romanian Foreign Ministry has deliberately kept secret the drafting of this report.





PART II OF THE REPORT

Article 1

The protection of national minorities and of the rights and freedoms of persons belonging to those minorities forms an integral part of the international protection of human rights, and as such falls within the scope of international co-operation.

COMMENT Art. 1

One of the problems created by representatives of the public authorities – be they representatives of the Foreign Ministry or of the domestic ministries – is that they placed Recommendation 1201 and the Framework Convention in opposition. Many times, they have declared that Recommendation 1201 is void as long as the Framework Convention has been adopted. But Romania introduced in its mutual treaties with Hungary and Ukraine the obligation to comply with the provisions of Recommendation 1201. Thus, Recommendation 1201 has become a legally binding document. Some of these provisions are important for the situation of national minorities in Romania, such as the provision related to the right of local councils to decide on the introduction of bilingual inscriptions in various localities, irrespective of the ratio of minority population. That is why it would be useful if the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe made it clear that the adoption of the Framework Convention does not result in the annulment of the international commitments made by the parties to the Convention with regard to the enforcement of Recommendation 1201.



Article 2

The provisions of this framework Convention shall be applied in good faith, in a spirit of understanding and tolerance and in conformity with the principles of good neighbourliness, friendly relations and co-operation between States.

No comment.



Article 3

1 Every person belonging to a national minority shall have the right freely to choose to be treated or not to be treated as such and no disadvantage shall result from this choice or from the exercise of the rights which are connected to that choice.

2 Persons belonging to national minorities may exercise the rights and enjoy the freedoms flowing from the principles enshrined in the present framework Convention individually as well as in community with others.

COMMENT Art. 3, para 1

A first question is whether the census was correct. The investigations done by APADOR-CH proved that the 1992 census in Romania had certain shortcomings, related to the lower number of Roma – but also of other small communities, such as the Csango in Moldova – reported1.

Another question should be whether there are procedures for recognition of national minorities by the state. In Romania there are no procedures to grant – or deny – the status of national minority to a group that claims such recognition. At least one community needs to apply for such recognition: the Chango2. (There are some villages in the Bacau county, inhabited by Csango, most of whom (more than 90%) regards themselves as Csango of Hungarian origin and speak the dialect in their daily life.) This is one of the reasons which demonstrates the necessity to complete the actual Romanian legislation by a law on the rights of national minorities.



Article 4

1 The Parties undertake to guarantee to persons belonging to national minorities the right of equality before the law and of equal protection of the law. In this respect, any discrimination based on belonging to a national minority shall be prohibited.

2 The Parties undertake to adopt, where necessary, adequate measures in order to promote, in all areas of economic, social, political and cultural life, full and effective equality between persons belonging to a national minority and those belonging to the majority. In this respect, they shall take due account of the specific conditions of the persons belonging to national minorities.

3 The measures adopted in accordance with paragraph 2 shall not be considered to be an act of discrimination.

COMMENT Art. 4, para 1 and 2

It is important to monitor the differences between legal provisions and the actual practice. In Romania there is a significant difference between the value of some provisions and the fact that they are not enforced in practice. This difference is highlighted by the proliferation of hate speech and by the discrimination of Roma in the labour market. The distance between legislation and practice is due to the weakness of the rule of law.

COMMENT Art. 4, para 1

An important threat to "the right of equality before the law and of equal protection of the law" is of an institutional nature. It is headed by the attitude of the Romanian Intelligence Service (Romanian acronym SRI) towards the issue of national minorities in Romania.

Upon its establishment in March 1990, the Romanian Intelligence Service took over the department of the former Securitate that used to monitor the activities of Hungarians in Romania, labelled as "irredentism". National minorities and the Hungarians in particular used to be regarded as a threat to Ceausescu's policy of assimilation. Most members of the former Securitate were trained from the perspective of national-communism whose main guarantors they were. After 1990, many of them have become SRI members. The department on irredentism continued its activity. At a certain point, the department was renamed "defence of the Constitution", but hard facts demonstrate that the SRI attitude has not changed.

The way SRI approaches the issue of national minorities is more clearly illustrated by the Report regarding the fulfilment of the attributions of the SRI in the achievement of national minority.

The October 1993 – September 1994 report starts with the chapter “Defence of the Rule of Law”, where a first threat to national security is identified in the issues related to national minorities, especially those concerning the Hungarian minority and the Romany community3.

The Report points out to the actions aimed at “exacerbating nationalism” and having “extremist and separatist tendencies”. The SRI reports that it has identified actions of an extremist-nationalistic character that jeopardise the rule of law and that these actions belong to the minorities of some “nationalist-extremist organisations abroad”. As an example of initiative of an extremist nature, the Report mentions “the campaign of signature gathering aiming at supporting a draft law regarding education for national minorities” (p. 5). Thus, for the Romanian Intelligence Service, the exercise of a constitutional right, a legislative initiative through the will of the citizens (Art. 73 par. 1) is a threat to national security, becoming a target for its actions in defence of the rule of law.

Along the same line, of considering issues pertaining to national minorities as threats to national security, the SRI Report also deals with the Roma ethnic group. The report considers the exercise of the right to freedom of expression as an intention to “exploit with propagandistic aims some incidents occurred in the relationships between some members of the group and other citizens, on the background of severe anti-social deeds and serious infringements of the law” (p. 7). Further on, the Report continues: “It has to be emphasised that in the respective conflicts the main actors were always the citizens and not the ethnic groups, and their unfolding had a strictly situational, local and inter-personal significance” (p. 7).

The investigations conducted in localities where conflicts between Roma and the other inhabitants took place, show that these conflicts indeed emerged on the background of severe anti-social deeds and serious infringements of the law4. The Romanian Intelligence Service has no competence to qualify as threat to national security those opinions that are contrary to the ones expressed by the government, whether they refer to national minorities or to any other issue of public interest.

The SRI Report states that “… some Roma elements5, by distorting the realities in our country through denigration and accusations, incited to actions of a nature to affect Romania's image abroad…” (p. 7). The example quoted to this effect is that of Csurkuly Sandor (presented as the leader of the Targu Mures branch of the Free Democratic Union of Roma in Romania – in fact, he was the leader of the Roma Union) who “supplied biased information to certain bodies, about the conflict in Hadareni, presenting it distortedly, not as an anti-social, common law criminal offence, but as an inter-ethnic confrontation” (p. 8). The actions given as example in the SRI Report clearly fall into the category of disagreements or protests and the accusations brought by the Report infringe upon the constitutional guarantees and the law on national security6.

The second SRI Report – 1994-1995 – also approaches the topic of “deeds that jeopardise, defy or challenge constitutional order and tend to evade or to oppose the sovereign authority of the Romanian state, deeds that are a threat to national security”. Under this chapter, the Report makes reference to the Hungarian ethnics, incriminating “the establishment of structures that deliberately overstep the bounds of domestic legislation”. Under this heading are listed: “the open, programmatic adoption of objectives counter to the rule of law”, “an ample propaganda that (…) on the one hand disparages the Romanian state, discredits the policies adopted by the authorities and depicts the Hungarian minority as an alleged victim, on the other hand aims to politicise to an unprecedented extent the Hungarian minority”. The means regarded as threat to national security are “programmatic decisions and documents” that “include explicit provisions related to autonomy, territorial autonomy included, as well as to political, administrative and social structures that support and lead to the achievement of autonomy on an ethnic basis (the Council of Union Representatives, the national and territorial self-government councils, etc.)”. SRI is concerned that such documents “reveal the intention to establish a separate institutional system for 'the autonomous community of Hungarians in Romania' and in particular of a constitutional system of local administration, only for the territorial unit inhabited by a high percentage of persons belonging to the Hungarian minority (the National Self-Government Council, the Advisory Committee of the Szekels)”.

SRI also accuses the intention to establish “an unauthorised network of Hungarian education in Romania”, by creating, in some localities from Transylvania, “higher education and post graduate education institutions subordinated to higher education institutions or other bodies from abroad, subsidised and provided with educational materials and staff from abroad”.

Surprising as this may seem, the menacing character of SRI report towards national minorities, the continuous surveillance policy of this institution, have not disappeared even after November 1996, when a party representing a minority – the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania – acceded to power. The “Report on the fulfilment of duties by the Romanian Intelligence Service, according to the law, for the achievement of national security in the period May 1997 – May 1998”, the chapter on “national minority issues” includes the following:

“By means of specific means of propaganda, the domestic and international public opinion have been stubbornly intoxicated with ideas regarding the 'legitimacy' of changes in the status of some Romanian regions, the alleged discrimination of ethnic groups, the so-called comeback of xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Romania and others, promoted by extremist elements in the country.

In connection with the objectives mentioned above, some circles of the ethnic communities in our country have been penetrated by representatives of the entities concerned, which resulted in extremist tendencies took over by the respective circles, and even in the conveyance of ideas focused on gaining potential administrative autonomy and economic separatism for certain areas with a specific demographic profile.”

Consequently, SRI continues to believe that the opinions related to the existence of xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Romania, or the opinions discussed by national minorities related to various forms of administrative autonomy, are a threat to the Romanian State. It follows that the persons belonging to national minorities – especially their leaders – or those who approach the issue of national minorities continue to be threatened to be placed under surveillance by the SRI. This is a gross violation of inter-ethnic relations in Romania, stemming not (necessarily) from the particular person appointed as Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service, but rather from an institutional behaviour.

That is why the Romanian authorities must take visible and radical measures in order to eliminate any ethnic bias in the behaviour of institutions competent in the field of national security. Until then, national minorities and the majority will continue to suspect each other, and this situation will influence the behaviour of various ethnic groups7. Such situation is counter to the letter and the spirit of the Framework Convention.



Article 5

1 The Parties undertake to promote the conditions necessary for persons belonging to national minorities to maintain and develop their culture, and to preserve the essential elements of their identity, namely their religion, language, traditions and cultural heritage.

2 Without prejudice to measures taken in pursuance of their general integration policy, the Parties shall refrain from policies or practices aimed at assimilation of persons belonging to national minorities against their will and shall protect these persons from any action aimed at such assimilation.

COMMENT Art. 5, para 1

The system created for the protection of national minorities is relatively extensive in Romania, at least at the legal level. The practical instruments that allow the enforcement of this system, however, are much less developed. Obviously, one of the reasons is the acute lack of resources.

There are no indigenous people in Romania; therefore the issues related to national minorities have no connection with the property over the territory. Still, there are issues related to the property that some national minorities – the Hungarians, the Armenians and the Jews – have raised, namely those related to the properties their traditional churches used to own. Except for the Jews religious identity is not equated with national identity in Romania; still, certain Hungarian reformed and Roman-Catholic churches and the Armenian Orthodox Church are closely related to the live of these minorities. Consequently, the requests of their churches, which have applied for the restitution of properties seized by the communist regime, are also promoted by their cultural organisations. In my opinion, this issue falls in Romania under the mechanism instituted by the European Convention for Human Rights.

A serious reason for such interpretation is the fact that the properties of some churches belonging to the majority population were also confiscated; such is the case of the Greek-Catholic Church in Romania. It would be a negative discrimination to request the restitution of properties belonging to churches connected to national minorities pursuant to the guarantees provided by the Framework Convention and not to be able to do so with regard to the properties of the Greek-Catholic church. Obviously, the European Convention for Human Rights provides general guarantee.



Article 6

1. The Parties shall encourage a spirit of tolerance and intercultural dialogue and take effective measures to promote mutual respect and understanding and co-operation among all persons living on their territory, irrespective of those persons' ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious identity, in particular in the fields of education, culture and the media.

2 The Parties undertake to take appropriate measures to protect persons who may be subject to threats or acts of discrimination, hostility or violence as a result of their ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious identity.

COMMENT Art. 6, para 1

A fundamental issue related to ethnic relations in Romania is the use of hate speech, either as the racist, chauvinistic and xenophobic propaganda of political leaders or as dissemination through the media of negative stereotypes related to national minorities.

The examples are much too numerous and widely spread in order to give a comprehensive image of this type of discourse. It has been constantly used immediately after the December 1999 revolution up to now.

We have enclosed below several “classical” examples that have been previously invoked in various case studies, because they have created a specific style of the hate speech discourse.

(1) "I very much fear that, at this rate, if they keep rubbing it in for ever, we shall again run a healthy race to that wonderful town of the czardas and available women and there we shall stay for a while, to ensure peace in that zone, at least till the year 2000 - we do not wish things to get that far, nobody likes military campaigns, but faced with the alternative Hungarians in Bucharest or Romanians in Budapest you can imagine what variant we will choose and which music we like..." - Corneliu Vadim Tudor, "Beware of Hungary (4)", in Romania Mare, No. 17, Year I, 28 September 1990.

(2) "And a parallel between our care about the Romanians in Bessarabia and Budapest's care about the Magyars in Transylvania cannot be drawn, for the simple reason that we have historic rights upon the land between the Prut and the Dniester, while the Hungarians have no rights either upon Transylvania, or upon the Pannonian Plain, because it was inhabited by our forefathers, the Geto-Dacians. Tolerated in Europe, these noble representatives of the most primitive Asiatic tribes came to chase people out of their homes, to police the area, to threaten and to bully populations much older and more civilized than they are” - Corneliu Vadim Tudor, "Beware of Hungary (5)", in Romania Mare, No. 18, Year I, 5 October 1990.

(3) "On top of that all, we have the beastly attacks in the trains by the Asiatic hordes besotted by alcohol and sanguineous hatred who thrash and club the poor Romanians just for the mere fact that they speak Romanian!" - Corneliu Vadim Tudor, "Beware of Hungary! (5)", in Romania Mare, No. 18, Year I, 5 October 1990.

(4) "And now what! The Hungarians, who are Asiatic, hinder us, who are Latin and European on our way to re-enter the concert of values of our continent!" - Corneliu Vadim Tudor, "Transylvania, Transylvania calls us" (Open letter addressed to Mr Ion Iliescu), in Romania Mare, No. 27, Year I, 7 December 1990.

(5) "Recently, several itinerant criminals operating on the trains, have been arrested; of course, all of them are of Magyar nationality - Corneliu Vadim Tudor, "Beware of Hungary! (6)", in Romania Mare, No. 19, Year I, 12 October 1990.

(6) "No trespassing, dear Magyar irredentists and highly cherished Romanian traitors, we do not believe in your variant of the Common European Home. That's how we are, more boorish, more primitive, we do not like being other people's servants and grooms, we want to be our own masters in our souls' home, you can make no headway, think better of it and rather colonize that steppe of yours or rent some lands in Siberia and Asia, but get used to the idea that Transylvania will be for ever Romanian." - Corneliu Vadim Tudor, "Beware of Hungary (3)", in Romania Mare, No. 16, Year I, 21 September 1990.

(7) "We do not wish to make anyone angry, but if this people [Hungarians] will continue to be scoffed at and provoked on purpose, the time will come when the healthy forces of this country will demand a National Referendum to establish whether the confirmed country traitors may or may not stay here anymore, and if not - they should then be expelled for good! For the peace of 20 million Romanians, it is worth doing without some scum, no matter what the Western occult circles might say" -Corneliu Vadim Tudor, "Country Betrayal", Romania Mare, No. 9, Year I, 3 August 1990.

(8) "For Romania's peace and welfare, it is imperative that a NATIONAL REFERENDUM be organized through which the people of this country should decide the immediate expulsion of all those [Hungarians] that are guilty of being injurious to national dignity of plotting against the Romanian state, of betraying Romania's vital interests! It is the only way to get rid of the bandits and to protect them at the same time - because otherwise, the population will lynch them!" - Corneliu Vadim Tudor, "Abolition of borders?", Romania Mare, No. 20, Year I, 19 October 1990.

The use of hate speech and negative stereotypes continued even after the nationalistic-extremist political parties entered the opposition. A study dated 1998 provided as examples of hate speech against the Roma community the following excerpts: “the Roma, who steal, rob and attack Romanians'” (TVR1); “People have a right to know their rights, but also their duties. It seems that Roma ethnic group still has much to learn in this respect” (Vocea României). Sometimes, the speech against Roma is mixed with the speech against Jews: “Those who have set the to lay hands – by means of administrative positions – on these resources are Gypsies and Jews. Gypsies and Jews (including those recently arrived in Romania) stand out amongst the other ethnic groups that populate our country and that have become integrated alongside Romanians in the Romanian society. [It seems] they have schemed to subdue the Romanians by making use of various plans and means; but with the same goal: to enslave Romanians economically speaking, to annihilate their freedom in their own country” (Romania Mare)

From July 1997 to November 1998, Minister Gyorgy Tokay (UDMR), who was in charge of the Department for the Protection of National Minorities, informed the General Prosecutor's Office on the use of statements (made by Senator Corneliu Vadim Tudor), banners (the Steaua-Miercurea Ciuc and Dinamo-Rapid footbal games), chauvinistic articles (published by Ion Dragusanu in the newspaper Bucovina). The Prosecutor's Office turned down the request to start proceedings on the basis of Art. 317 of the Romanian Penal Code, with the following contents: “Any nationalist chauvinistic propaganda or incitment to racial or national hatred which does not constitute an offence under the Article 166 shall be punishable by a term in prison of 6 months to 5 years”.

Consequently, we can state that although some public institutions have attempted to restrict racist, chauvinistic, anti-Semite manifestations (either used as political propaganda or consisting of dissemination of negative stereotypes), the Romanian state has not succeeded in complying with the duties following from Art. 6 of the Framework Convention. Hate speech is widely spread and very vocal. Only one person was sentenced in Romania on the basis of Art. 317 of the Penal Code, to a two-year suspended sentence, for an anti-Semite article, despite the virulence and expansion of this kind of language.

Through its offending, menacing character, the chauvinistic and anti-Semite language continuously jeopardises inter-ethnic relations in Romania. Although the Romanian Penal Code sanctions such deeds, the respective provision is not enforced. Few other things are as important and imperative as a policy meant to bring hate speech to an end.

Some of the measures to be taken are:

- the state representatives (the President, ministers, etc.) should take a stand against such manifestations;

- a policy regarding the public media able to counteract racism, chauvinism and anti-Semitism;

- the enforcement of the current legislation – the Law on the Audio-Visual Media, the Penal Code – able to [restrict] the use of hate speech;

- the development of anti-discriminatory legislation.

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe could recommend the adoption by the Romanian state by a draft bill on the elimination of all forms of discrimination, submitted by the Department for the Protection of National Minorities, which includes provisions related to the use of hate speech in the media and of the negative stereotypes related to national minorities.



COMMENT Art. 6, para 2

In Romania, the Roma are the most common target of discrimination. The Hungarians are also discriminated, especially with regard to the opportunity to be appointed in high positions in the army, the police and the intelligence services. Except for the small numbers (under the percentage of the Hungarian population in Romania), it is hard to demonstrate that their ethnic identity is the reason for which the Hungarians are seldom appointed in leading positions in the military structures.

The main forms of discrimination against the Roma are as follows:

- discrimination in economy, in terms of employment and profession;

- discrimination with regard to access to public administrative and legal services, health, other services, goods and facilities;

- discrimination in terms of access to education;

- discrimination related to access to public places;

Adds as the ones below are hard proof of such discrimination:

- “we employ…/no gypsies”;

- “no gypsies allowed in this restaurant”;

- “we sell apartment/no gypsies in the building”.

None of the companies or journals that have placed/printed such adds has been sanctioned so far; neither have those who employ discrimination in terms of employment or the sale of goods, services, etc. In 1998, the Department for the Protection of National Minorities urged the Prosecutor's Office to institute proceedings against the companies that have placed ads such as: “S.C. GRIZZLY GUARD hires… bodyguards. No Roma should apply”, or “We select [S.C. MGD STYLE SRL] 500 security guards from sector 2, 3 and 4 Bucharest. Age: 21 to 45. The Roma are excluded.” The Prosecutor's Office turned down the request to institute proceedings.

In Romania, the principle of non-discrimination is enshrined in the Romanian Constitution and in the international documents in the field, which are part of the internal legislation. But no piece of legislation incriminates discrimination as such, and the use of arts. 317 or 247 of the Penal Code in the field of discrimination is difficult, disputable and insufficient. In the fall of 1999, the Department for the Protection of national Minorities submitted to the Government a draft bill on the elimination of all forms of discrimination, that lists all possible forms of discrimination and introduces means – fines included – to dissuade those who practice discrimination. Once turned into law, the current draft bill would be the first effective instrument against discrimination in Romania.

That is why the Committee of Ministers with the Council of Europe could urge Romania to adopt this draft bill, as a measure of enforcement in good will of the principles of the Framework Convention.



Article 7

The Parties shall ensure respect for the right of every person belonging to a national minority to freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association, freedom of expression, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

COMMENT Art. 7

It should be noted that several cases of violation of freedom of conscience and religion have occurred in Romania, but that they have not been connected with the “national” feature of the respective persons8.



Article 8

The Parties undertake to recognise that every person belonging to a national minority has the right to manifest his or her religion or belief and to establish religious institutions, organisations and associations.

COMMENT Art. 8

See COMMENT Art. 7: Between 1990 and 1999, a long list of violent acts – from threats to physical assaults – against the members of smaller religious communities were reported9. Starting from March 1997, the limitation of the freedom of religion of the non-recognised cults became the policy of the State Secretariat for Cults.



Article 9

1 The Parties undertake to recognise that the right to freedom of expression of every person belonging to a national minority includes freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas in the minority language, without interference by public authorities and regardless of frontiers. The Parties shall ensure, within the framework of their legal systems, that persons belonging to a national minority are not discriminated against in their access to the media.

2 Paragraph 1 shall not prevent Parties from requiring the licensing, without discrimination and based on objective criteria, of sound radio and television broadcasting, or cinema enterprises.

3 The Parties shall not hinder the creation and the use of printed media by persons belonging to national minorities. In the legal framework of sound radio and television broadcasting, they shall ensure, as far as possible, and taking into account the provisions of paragraph 1, that persons belonging to national minorities are granted the possibility of creating and using their own media.

4 In the framework of their legal systems, the Parties shall adopt adequate measures in order to facilitate access to the media for persons belonging to national minorities and in order to promote tolerance and permit cultural pluralism.

COMMENT Art. 9, para 1-4

The basic question would be whether the measures taken by the state in this sense are sufficient. In Romania, there are media available to various minorities. National minorities also have access to the state media. But national minorities have complained of “inequitable” access to public media.



Article 10

1 The Parties undertake to recognise that every person belonging to a national minority has the right to use freely and without interference his or her minority language, in private and in public, orally and in writing.

2 In areas inhabited by persons belonging to national minorities traditionally or in substantial numbers, if those persons so request and where such a request corresponds to a real need, the Parties shall endeavour to ensure, as far as possible, the conditions which would make it possible to use the minority language in relations between those persons and the administrative authorities.

3 The Parties undertake to guarantee the right of every person belonging to a national minority to be informed promptly, in a language which he or she understands, of the reasons for his or her arrest, and of the nature and cause of any accusation against him or her, and to defend himself or herself in this language, if necessary with the free assistance of an interpreter.

COMMENT Art. 10, para 1 and 2

In Romania, there are several arguments to consider that a substantial number that ensures the use of “the minority language in relations between those persons and the administrative authorities” is 20%, the figure used in the actual draft bill on local administration: there is a historical tradition in this sense (Decree no. 1 of January 1919 of the Administrative Council in Transylvania, the Hungarian Governmental decrees of 1919 and 1923); this percentage is placed between the percentage proposed by the UDMR (10%) and the percentage proposed by the draft bill of the National Minority Council; it covers important cities with traditional minorities, such as Cluj – 23%.

A support of the 20% standard by the Committee of Ministers is appreciated.



Article 11

1 The Parties undertake to recognise that every person belonging to a national minority has the right to use his or her surname (patronym) and first names in the minority language and the right to official recognition of them, according to modalities provided for in their legal system.

2 The Parties undertake to recognise that every person belonging to a national minority has the right to display in his or her minority language signs, inscriptions and other information of a private nature visible to the public.

3 In areas traditionally inhabited by substantial numbers of persons belonging to a national minority, the Parties shall endeavour, in the framework of their legal system, including, where appropriate, agreements with other States, and taking into account their specific conditions, to display traditional local names, street names and other topographical indications intended for the public also in the minority language when there is a sufficient demand for such indications.

COMMENT Art. 11

All remarks made above for Art. 10 are valid to Art. 11.



Article 12

1 The Parties shall, where appropriate, take measures in the fields of education and research to foster knowledge of the culture, history, language and religion of their national minorities and of the majority.

2 In this context the Parties shall inter alia provide adequate opportunities for teacher training and access to textbooks, and facilitate contacts among students and teachers of different communities.

3 The Parties undertake to promote equal opportunities for access to education at all levels for persons belonging to national minorities.

COMMENT Art. 12, para 1-3

Romanian textbooks have many shortcomings. Traditionaly, they “remove” the history of national minority from the country's history. A significant evolution, in the right direction, happened in 1999, when the first alternative manuals were published. Changes of the content of the “national” and “patriotic” education within the Romanian military system and of the intelligence services system is also required and would be the concern of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Another issue raised in connection with Art. 12 is that of quotas for minority students/ the enforcement of affirmative action. Affirmative action has already been applied in more universities – especially, for Roma.



Article 13

1 Within the framework of their education systems, the Parties shall recognise that persons belonging to a national minority have the right to set up and to manage their own private educational and training establishments.

2 The exercise of this right shall not entail any financial obligation for the Parties.

COMMENT Art. 13

The principle is entirely fulfilled by Romania.



Article 14

1 The Parties undertake to recognise that every person belonging to a national minority has the right to learn his or her minority language.

2 In areas inhabited by persons belonging to national minorities traditionally or in substantial numbers, if there is sufficient demand, the Parties shall endeavour to ensure, as far as possible and within the framework of their education systems, that persons belonging to those minorities have adequate opportunities for being taught the minority language or for receiving instruction in this language.

3 Paragraph 2 of this article shall be implemented without prejudice to the learning of the official language or the teaching in this language.

COMMENT Art. 13, para 1 and 2

In connection with public debates on this topic, I consider that Romania must act in the spirit of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted by the UN in 1996 and ratified by Romania in 1974. Art. 27 of the Covenant reads: "In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language". In accordance with the interpretation of the Geneva Committee for Human Rights which examines violations of the Covenant, art. 27 enshrines a right of persons belonging to national minorities and the state that is a party in the Covenant has the obligation to take motivated and realistic steps to meet with their aspirations.

It should be mentioned that the Hungarians in Romania are the most numerous minority in Europe (apart from former CIS countries). The urge to establish their own higher education institutions was expressed following a broad consultation and through the DAHR programs (DAHR stands for the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania), a political party that has been voted by the vast majority of the Hungarian population. It should also be noted that higher education in Hungarian has a historical tradition in Transylvania. Consequently, I considers that the stands taken against the possibility to establish, in principle, a state university in Hungarian represents a violation of the very spirit of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

It is significant the manner in which political leaders governing the country, the Ministry of National Education and a significant part of the press have responded to the claims of the Hungarian minority .Certain political figures and state officials presented a false image of education institutions in the mother tongues of minorities, prone to confuse and manipulate public opinion'. One of the most significant documents of this kind was published in August 1998 by the State Secretariat for Higher Education, titled "Ethnic segregation of higher education in Romania is untimely". The document states that "the State Secretariat for Higher Education has been constantly faced with urgent requests for ethnic segregation, under various institutional forms which, if categorised, range from establishing self-managed sections and faculties on ethnic criteria to establishing state universities with tuition in Hungarian". (The wording used by the Ministry of National Education add up to others of this kind, such as "federalization of education", "enclavzsation of education", "development of education on ethnic bases"10.) The document asserts: "frankly, one should admit that the scope and quality of mother tongue higher education, as it is organised nowadays in Romania, are beyond comparison with the situation in Europe or indeed any other part of the world".

The subject of international standards relating to higher education in minority languages

One of the subjects invoked to turn down the establishment of a university in Hungarian is the absence of international standards in the field. Indeed, none of the international documents Romania has joined, adopted by important inter-governmental structures, include as a standard the establishment of state universities in the mother tongue. Actually, the notion of "international standard" applicable to higher education is devoid of content. International standards represent minimal measures states have to comply with in order to ensure the protection of national minorities (in this case). As the issue of higher education is posed exclusively in the case of well-represented minorities, with a well-developed culture, therefore in exceptional cases, no international standards are applicable - as long as they apply "in general". That is why in the field of higher education the spirit rather than the rules of international law could be invoked. A significant role is played by the models by means of which certain states have solved similar issues under analogous circumstances. National models are not part of international law, but somehow play the role of customary law.

The spirit of international documents

The spirit of international documents in the field stems from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. There are, on the other hand, recommendations on "specialized" fields, endorsed by inter-governmental organisations not through a validation procedure as such but rather through positions expressed by groups of experts under their aegis. Such are for instance "The Hague Recommendations on the Rights to Education of National Minorities" (elaborated under the aegis of the Foundations of Inter-Ethnic Relations with the High Commissioner on National Minorities/OSCE, 1996). Art. 17 of the document stipulates: "Persons belonging to national minorities have the right to access to higher education in their own language if a genuine demand has been demonstrated and if there is a numerical justification. ... Persons belonging to national minorities can also pursue ways and means to establish their own higher education institutions". Art. 18 is particularly significant: "In the situations when a national minority has maintained and controlled, in its recent history, its own higher education institutions, this fact shall be recognized in determining the models to be followed." Actually, the right to institutions with an identity value represents a requirement of all international conventions on the protection of minorities which are legally binding for Romania.

We would also remind that Recommendation 1353 of the Council of Europe on access of minorities to higher education, adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly on January 27, 1998 asserts in art. 6 (iv): "governments should recognize the fundamental liberty to engage in higher education activities and to establish institutions for that purpose; such institutions should be officially supported once their satisfactory quality has been established - on a non-discriminatory and fair basis - and a genuine demand has been demonstrated; language should not be a criteria for recognising institutions or qualifications".

Taking into consideration the numbers and cultural development of the Hungarian minority in Romania, one could state that if the documents quoted above do not apply to it, they would not apply to any other community in Europe.

Therefore, The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe would recommend to the Romanian Parliament to interpret the provision of the actual Law on Education/ 1999, which stipulates the possibility of persons belonging o national minorities to enjoy state multicultural universities, as the possibility to have state universities in mother tongue.



Article 15

The Parties shall create the conditions necessary for the effective participation of persons belonging to national minorities in cultural, social and economic life and in public affairs, in particular.

COMMENT Art. 15

In its Report regarding the fulfilment of the attributions of the SRI in the achievement of national security (October 1993 – September 1994), the Romanian Intelligence Service mentions as example of initiative of an extremist nature “the campaign of signature gathering aiming at supporting a draft law regarding education for national minorities”. Thus, for the Romanian Intelligence Service, the exercise of a constitutional right, a legislative initiative through the will of the citizens was a danger for the national security, becoming a target for its actions in defence of the rule of law. This was an obvious attempt to intimidate, carried out by a security institution.

The new RIS Reports prove that this approach is not entirely rejected. More than that, recent investigations against people expressing their support for a more comprehensive system of decentralisation (particularly, their support for a federal system: Sorin Gherman case, Cluj/1999) represent a threat for those members of national minorities thinking to a specific understanding of the evolution of the country.

Such actions should be documentated as running counter to the right of participation spelled out in Art. 15.



Article 16

The Parties shall refrain from measures which alter the proportions of the population in areas inhabited by persons belonging to national minorities and are aimed at restricting the rights and freedoms flowing from the principles enshrined in the present framework Convention.

COMMENT Art. 16

In Romania, there have been allegations related to the alteration of the ethnic proportions in connection with the establishment of orphanages (Odorheiu-Secuiesc/ 1997) and military units in areas inhabited by Hungarians (Harghita county). However, one must make the difference between a measure meant to change the ethnic proportions and one meant to control a national minority (military units). The latter kind of action is also counter to the spirit of Framework Convention, but in the sense that it represent a hostile measure taken against a national minority.



Article 17

1 The Parties undertake not to interfere with the right of persons belonging to national minorities to establish and maintain free and peaceful contacts across frontiers with persons lawfully staying in other States, in particular those with whom they share an ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious identity, or a common cultural heritage.

2 The Parties undertake not to interfere with the right of persons belonging to national minorities to participate in the activities of non-governmental organisations, both at the national and international levels.

COMMENT Art. 17, para 1-2

One question that may be asked is whether, when a state declares a person “non grata” due to his/ her opinions related to the rights of national minorities, this does not represent a violation of Art. 17. Such is the case of Austrian citizen Ana Maria Biro, declared person non grata by the Romanian state two times (the second time, in 1998). Together with some members of he Hungarian minority she had asserted that Romania's federalisation is a prerequisite for the Hungarians in Romania to fully enjoy their rights.

A similar case but which has a clearer answer that the one above is the attempt to intimidate some minority members who communicate with foreign persons and organisations, the topic of such communication being their situation in Romania.

In 1999, a meeting of the UDMR-leaders with more officials from Hungary (among them, the representative of the Hungarians from the World) held in Odorheiu Secuiesc was closely monitored by the Romanian Intelligence Service. RIS let its car in front of the building where the conference was taking place. When his officers using cameras were discovered by the inhabitants from Odorheiu Secuiesc, SRI representatives expressed their irritation against those who interfere with their work.

This is another examples which proves the negative impact of the activities of the Romanian Intelligence Service on the status of the national minorities in the country. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe is entitled to ask for a report on the violation of the national minority rights by the Romanian intelligence services.



Article 18

1 The Parties shall endeavour to conclude, where necessary, bilateral and multilateral agreements with other States, in particular neighbouring States, in order to ensure the protection of persons belonging to the national minorities concerned.

2 Where relevant, the Parties shall take measures to encourage transfrontier co-operation.

COMMENT Art. 18 para 1

Several treaties concluded by Romania contain provisions related to the protection of national minorities, some important – such as the treaty with Germany, signed in 1991. Romania has signed mutual treaties with four of its five neighbours.11 The Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Neighbourliness between Romania and the Republic of Bulgaria was signed in Sofia, on January 27, 1992 and does not include any special norm regarding the national minorities' protection. The Basic Treaty with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was signed in Belgrade on May 16, 1996 and contains only general principles and the reference to multilateral international norms. The Basic Treaty with Hungary was signed in Timisoara on September 16, 1996. The particular importance attached to the national minority protection is highlighted by the inclusion of this issue already in the treaty preamble. Within the basic treaty, the issue of national minorities' protection is to be found in Art. 15, the most important one from the quantitative point of view.

The treaty on the Relations of Neighbourliness and Cooperation between Romania and the Ukraine was signed in Constanta, on June 1, 1997. The Art. 13 on national minorities protection is the most extended one of the treaty.

The evolution of Romania's mutual treaties demonstrates the increased importance attached to the issue of minorities. The policy in this field changed from exhibiting no interest in minorities (the treaty with Bulgaria) to minimising the subject (the treaty with the Federative Republic of Yugoslavia), to accepting the importance attached by the other party to the issue of minorities (the treaty with Hungary) and even to promoting a substantial chapter on the protection of national minorities (the treaty with Ukraine). The latest mutual treaties have turned the CSCE, UN and Council of Europe norms with a binding character for Romania.

That is why the formulation in the national report: “Romania has not concluded special bilateral or multilateral agreements with other States designed to ensure the protection of persons belonging to national minorities” suggests that Romania strays from this policy. At least two of Romania's mutual treaties have been concluded, among others, in order to ensure the protection of national minorities; the treaties concluded with Hungary and Ukraine. Unless both parties accepted high standards in the field of minorities, the treaties would not have been signed. Moreover, the two basic treaties also laid the basis for the establishment of an inter-governmental body that supervises the enforcement of provisions related to the protection of national minorities in each separate case.

That is why the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe could ask Romanian to provide information on the activity of these inter-governmental bodies, in order to assess the enforcement of the Framework Convention. The stand taken by the Romanian Government in these bodies could be accurate proof of its “good will”.



COMMENT Art. 18 para 2

Up to 1996, all initiatives aiming at trans-border co-operation taken by the local authorities were discouraged by the Romanian state. By the “Joint Circular Letters no. D3/6291/1994 and no. IV/561/1994 of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Department for Local Public Administration, the Romanian central authorities introduced extremely restrictive norms that ran against the principle of local autonomy considered from its international perspective.

Initiatives such as the following were blocked:

- the establishment of a “Banat Union of Economic Promotion”, by the decision of the Timis County Council (of November 18, 1993) ;

- the association to the Assembly of European regions, by a decision of the Valcea County Council (of February 24, 1994).

It is significant that in the trials that took place on such occasions, hierarchically inferior instances were reluctant to the idea of local autonomy under its international dimension, while the Romanian Supreme Court of Justice has evolved from a rigid conception of denial to a liberal one, undergoing to protect the external dimension of local autonomy in accordance with international legal acts12.

After 1996, trans-border co-operation initiatives have intensified and centralized control was eliminated from all local initiatives. But the fact that important political forces in Romania – who might still have a major part to play in the future – have contested the right of local authorities to enter collaborations at the international level must be taken into consideration. Consequently, firmer regulations on the international competencies of local authorities should be introduced in the new law on local administration that is now under debate in the Parliament. A recommendation in this sense will be welcome.



Article 19

The Parties undertake to respect and implement the principles enshrined in the present framework Convention making, where necessary, only those limitations, restrictions or derogations which are provided for in international legal instruments, in particular the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, in so far as they are relevant to the rights and freedoms flowing from the said principles.

COMMENT Art. 19

Romania have made no limitation, restriction or derogation to the principles of Framework Convention



Article 20

In the exercise of the rights and freedoms flowing from the principles enshrined in the present framework Convention, any person belonging to a national minority shall respect the national legislation and the rights of others, in particular those of persons belonging to the majority or to other national minorities.

COMMENT Art. 20

See the COMMENT I, PART I.



Article 21

Nothing in the present framework Convention shall be interpreted as implying any right to engage in any activity or perform any act contrary to the fundamental principles of international law and in particular of the sovereign equality, territorial integrity and political independence of States.

COMMENT Art. 21

The Hungarian minority in Romania has constantly been accused by various political forces in Romania that its requests for various forms of autonomy represent a violation of sovereign equality, territorial integrity and political independence of the state. It is well known that Romania is not the only country where this situation has occurred. Consequently, if the Committee of Ministers reproves the political forces and states that use the requests for autonomy of national minorities as a pretext to incite to hostility against these minorities, such declaration would have an important impact in the internal policy of the states parties to the Framework Convention.



Article 22

Nothing in the present framework Convention shall be construed as limiting or derogating from any of the human rights and fundamental freedoms which may be ensured under the laws of any Contracting Party or under any other agreement to which it is a Party.

COMMENT Art. 22

The need to pay attention to the discrimination against the Roma community, as a minority group, must be complemented with the need to take actions on the discrimination within the Roma community. The most discriminated Roma group is obviously the group of Roma girls and women. In Romania, at least, one of the most serious issues is that Roma girls are prevented from attending school; Roma girls (in some places: Roma boys) are sold and Roma girls and boys are married at 13 or 14,ages way below the age of consent; another issue is the pressure exerted over Roma women not to use contraceptives and not to take part in family planning projects.

As a rule, the state is bound to watch over how the fundamental rights and liberties of persons under its jurisdiction are observed and to step in, in order to prevent any violations hereof, whether they are perpetrated by individuals or private institutions.

It is true that we are faced with a delicate topic: the above mentioned human rights violations are consistent with Roma traditions, with their cultural realities. However, a well-established fact, accepted by the international agreements on minority rights – particularly, stipulated by Art. 22 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of Human Rights - is that group and cultural rights should not prevail. On the contrary, fundamental individual rights should be pre-eminent. This idea represents, actually, the famous thesis of the universality of human rights.

If Roma girls and women are granted the dignity each human being is entitled to, it is not just them who are going to benefit from it, but the whole community. Due to their marginal status, Roma encounter problems not just with protecting their identity, but also with emancipating themselves. It is a fact that demographic growth, education and quality of life and inter-related and form a vicious circle. In order to break the circle, education and family planning policies should be attached utmost importance.

It would be an tremendous importance the issue of a statement by which the Committee of Ministers will make specific reference to the justice and equality that should prevail within Roma communities.



Article 23

The rights and freedoms flowing from the principles enshrined in the present framework Convention, in so far as they are the subject of a corresponding provision in the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms or in the Protocols thereto, shall be understood so as to conform to the latter provisions.

COMMENT Art. 23

See Comment Art. 22.



Article 30

1 Any State may at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, specify the territory or territories for whose international relations it is responsible to which this framework Convention shall apply.

2 Any State may at any later date, by a declaration addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, extend the application of this framework Convention to any other territory specified in the declaration. In respect of such territory the framework Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date of receipt of such declaration by the Secretary General.

3 Any declaration made under the two preceding paragraphs may, in respect of any territory specified in such declaration, be withdrawn by a notification addressed to the Secretary General. The withdrawal shall become effective on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date of receipt of such notification by the Secretary General.










(1) See Human Rights Developments in Romania - 1997 Report, APADOR-CH, Bucharest, 1997

(2) In March and April 1997, the Association of Csango Magyars in Moldova asked for assistance to achieve the following objectives: (a) optional classes for teaching the Csango language, history and traditions; (b) the use of the Hungarian language in religious ceremonies; (c) legal protection granted by lawyers for the Csango facing persecution due to their appartenance; (d) the financing of a monthly publication; (e) the setting up and financing of a local radio station.

(3) It is true that the Report uses euphemistic formulations such as "actions such as those mentioned above… had an isolated character and they did not find the expected effect with the members of the targeted ethnic minority…" (p. 4) or "It is worth mentioning… that the persons of Magyar nationality in our country displayed a constructive position and a correct attitude in relation to the majority population…" (p. 5). This actually stresses the message that the members of the two minorities become a danger for the Romanian state the moment they militate for rights other than those accepted by the authorities or when they give another interpretation than the public authorities to events that involve people belonging both to minorities and to the majority.

(4) Considering both the evolution of the events and the general context, the conclusions drawn by some organisations in Romania (such as the Romanian Helsinki Committee) and by international organisations (Human Rights Watch/Helsinki, International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, Amnesty International a.s.o.) were that the respective incidents did have an inter-ethnic dimension and that they were in no way confined to a local, situational and inter-personal significance. Besides, this conclusion was inherent given the non-enforcement (of defective enforcement) of the law in more than 30 cases of violence perpetrated against Roma.

(5) This phrase, where the word "elements" is used, is very offending, depersonalising on the criterion of ethnic affiliation.

(6) The Romanian Intelligence Service infringes Art. 4 par. 1 of the Law on the National Security of Romania, which stipulates that "the provisions under Art. 3 (listing the threats to national security in Romania – our note) cannot be interpreted or used with a view to restrict or forbid the right to defend a legitimate cause, to express a protest or disagreement of an ideological, political, religious or any other nature…".

(7) The stands taken in the SRI report offer argument to those members of the national minorities who speak about the feeling of insecurity experienced by the minorities and of the need for some collective measures to manage their lives, going as far as internal self-determination, local and personal autonomy. For instance, the request of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania that the minorities become a constitutive factor of the state – a standpoint which is difficult to uphold if we have in view the political-juridical criteria that govern the life of a modern state – finds an emotional justification in the way the SRI report deals with the Hungarian and Roma minorities (In this respect, see G. Andreescu, V. Stan, R. Weber, Study on the Conception of Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania on the Rights of National Minorities, Centre for Human Rights, Bucharest, 1994).

If the SRI, a state body which is in duty bound to watch upon national security in an equal way – i.e. relative to all the citizens of the country – refers to minorities as a potential danger for national security, it is then not absurd (in relation to subjective factors) that these minorities consider themselves endangered and estranged from the existing state and that they wish to be defined as a distinct component of the state. ("Consequently, the Magyars who have developed an acute consciousness of their specific cultural and national identity are looked upon as being disloyal to the Romanian state.": Anna-Maria Biro, "The Hungarian Minority in Romania", Background information during the United nations Sub-Commissions on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, August 12, 1994).

(8) See Gabriel Andreescu, "International Relations and Orthodoxy in Eastern and Sout-Eastern Europe", International Studies no. 4, 1998, pp. 3-35

(9) See Human Rights Developments in Romania – 1996, 1997 and 1998 Reports, APADOR-CH, Bucharest

(10) Qualifying the claims of the Hungarian minority to establish a state university in Hungarian as "ethnic segregation of education, "enclavization of education", "development of education on ethnic bases", etc. represents an attempt to lay the blame on the Hungarian minority for the "guilt" of requesting certain conditions deemed necessary in order to protect and develop its national identity. Blaming a minority community for expressing its ideals represent an act of hostility and an incitement to a chauvinistic response towards that minority. The right of a minority to make public its ideals represents a component of its right to an identity. It is not this right that can be contested but rather, if such be the case, the motivation and realism of the community's options.

(11) See Liviu Popescu, "National minorities protection under Romania's basic treaties with its neighbours", International Studies no. 4, pp. 47-57

(12) See Liviu Popescu, "Legislation and Legal Practice to the International Relations of Local Communities", International Studies no. 2, pp. 43-57