Szekler National Council

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  • Székelyföldért megmozgatjuk Európát - Polgári kezdeményezés a nemzeti régiókért
  • Székelyföldért megmozgatjuk Európát - Polgári kezdeményezés a nemzeti régiókért

Preservation of the defencelessness of Hungarians in Transylvania, prevention of the creation of the autonomy of communities

The draft Act on the Status of Ethnic Minorities, which has been submitted to Parliament by the Romanian Government in agreement with RMDSZ, subordinates the Hungarian ethnic community living in Transylvania to a government-committed organisation, misleads the general public in Romania and in other countries, gives rise to the belief that it protects the identity and guarantees the equality of Hungarians, applying the principles of self-governing!


No! The defencelessness of Hungarians in Transylvania and its subordination would become even stronger and, instead of creating personal autonomy for Hungarians in Transylvania and autonomy for Székelyföld, the act even increases the powers of the political group that is a partner of those in power in Romania – in detriment and jeopardising real community self-government!

According to Article 2, ethnic minorities form part of the state in Romania. If this is true, further provisions of the Act should guarantee for all citizens full and real equality, “minority” rights (which are among the rights of all individuals) for every person, and should grant indigenous national communities the right to self government (autonomy), which is a basic human right of communities!

This is a powerful statement and means, in practical terms, that in Romania all ethnic communities should be guaranteed equality with the majority nation: full and real equality! The right to self-determination, the right for the community to self-government and the right for Székelyföld to autonomy! However, the draft act provides the minimum – as regards the requirements of the Hungarian ethnic community in Transylvania, European charters and common practice in the European Union!

As to individual rights, the draft act tries to keep the persons belonging to this large ethnic community deprived of their basic human rights (let us remember that “minority rights” are among human rights!). One proof of this statement is the fact that „individual minority rights” can be exercised only by those who belong to an ethnic minority which forms over 20 percent within the given local administrative unit! Thus many Hungarians in Romania, for example those living in Kolozsvár (Cluj), would lose (have lost) the right to freely use their mother tongue as in this historical Hungarian city the proportion of Hungarians is below 20 percent!

The draft act does not regulate collective human rights. The chapter entitled „Cultural Autonomy” does not create a person-based autonomy for the community, but the “autonomy” of the political group that rules over the community and that puts the ethnic community in the hands of those in power in Romania!

The definition of “ethnic minority” in Article 3 suggests that those who wrote this text used Recommendation no. 1993/1201 of the European Council as a starting point – but changed one of its most important parts: „an ‘ethnic minority’ is a group of people within a state whose members … have an old, firm and permanent relationship with the state”! This definition is replaced with the following: „The term “ethnic minority” means any community of Romanian citizens whose members lived in the territory of Romania at the time of the formation of the modern state,...”. Does this mean, then, that Hungarians in Transylvania are a community of Romanian citizens which lived in Romania in, for example, 1919? Despite our will, great powers put us under the rule of a new state 85 years ago! Do we not have a past, then, that shows that indigenous Hungarians in Transylvania, together with the whole Hungarian nation, had their own state in their motherland for 1000 years?!

According to Section (2) of Article 9: „ For the purposes of this Act, the following are elements of the national identity: language, culture, historical memories, mobile cultural heritage, traditions and religion.” Does it mean that national identity is rooted not in the history of the nation to which the given community belongs but „historical memories”? Thus the identity of Hungarians in Transylvania contains not the history of the Hungarian nation but some undefined „historical memory”, perhaps „the history of the national minority”, as is taught in school books?! Not to mention the statement that „these elements are preserved, expressed and developed through educational and cultural institutes, mass media and church institutes recognised by law”. In other words, though the right to national identity is granted to both individuals and communities, it is not exercised by individuals or communities and these individuals and communities do not exercise this basic human right as part of their own self government! In actual fact, the community is deprived of the possibility to express and practice their belonging together as members of the same nation!

As regards education in the mother tongue, the case is not that members of ethnic minorities could study in their mother tongue in all areas of education! The re-establishment of the State Hungarian University is not mentioned! State-run Hungarian colleges are not planned to be reopened! The act proposed by citizens in 1994 (which proposal was signed by 500,000 people) is not even mentioned! There is no plan to create an independent network of state-run educational and cultural institutes and supervisory organs operating in the mother tongue of an ethnic minority!

According to Chapter III, the Act regulates only those organisations, established by persons belonging to ethnic minorities, which are listed in Section (2) of Article 62 of the Constitution and which participate in parliamentary, presidential and local elections. In other words, the Act puts Hungarian in Transylvania in the hands of RMDSZ, a political group, which – cooperating with those in power in Romania and serving the interests of the state and certain interest groups – does not represent the Hungarian community living in Transylvania! Acts currently in force make it impossible and governments in partnership with RMDSZ prevent the registration of any other representative body or political organ of Hungarians living in Transylvania! The monopoly of RMDSZ deprives the Hungarian ethnic community of the possibility to represent the national community!

The “cultural autonomy” described in Chapter V is nothing else but granting culture-related competences to minority organisations with a monopoly and already registered – which organisations defined rules not representing the national community but its members about the way to exercise rights and to distribute subsidies provided by the state! Some proofs: in internal elections only such persons, belonging to national minorities, may be nominated who are members of the organisations listed under items a) and b) of Section (1) of Article 39. Only the members of these organisations may participate in the internal elections held to establish the Cultural Autonomy National Council. These elections are called in a government decree and organised by a representative body of persons belonging to the given ethnic minority!

This is the interpretation of “cultural autonomy” by those who wrote the draft act, the Government and its partners! The body authorised to exercise cultural autonomy – the Cultural Autonomy National Council – is established not by the actual national community but an organisation of the ethnic minority approved and registered by state authorities and having representation in Parliament, in internal elections! This is neither more nor less than what is happening today: the members of an organisation decide at internal elections organised by themselves about the establishment of a body that will exercise the autonomy of an national community – and not the national community itself! This is not a community autonomy! This is a monopoly of an organisation – against the interests of Hungarians living in Transylvania and to serve the interests of those in power in Romania!

To the Hungarian ethnic community indigenous in its motherland, to the Székelys, the draft act is unacceptable! Hungarians living in Transylvania need a “Person-based Autonomy Statute” and Székelys need a “Székelyföld Autonomy Statute”! This is the will of the community!

27 October 2005

Dr. Csapó I. József,
President, Székely Nemzeti Tanács

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SzNT cimerSzekler National Council
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Covasna County – Romania
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Email: szntiroda@gmail.com

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