Two days ago the Romanian Parliament adopted a law about adopting and using the flags of the municipalities and counties. Although Romania ratified the European Charter of Local Self-Government, this law stipulates that these flags should be adopted by the Government, establishes a series of restrictions in using them and severe penalties (up to 2300 euros) for those who do not comply with its provisions. And what is really shocking: it also stipulates, that if one uses another flag than those adopted by the government (without making it clear where, when and in what circumstances), than besides that it will be fined, that flag will be confiscated.
It is a strong political dogma in Romania that the country solved in an exemplary way the protection of national minorities. But if one takes a closer look to the real situation will observe that the reality is totally different. Just some recent examples:
An alarming case
The Democratic Alliance of the Hungarians in Romania held its congress last week. For this occasion a public message of President Klaus Iohannis appeared on the official homepage of the Romanian presidency addressing the participants of the congress. There was great satisfaction among the local Hungarian media regarding this message, as it happened for the first time that a Romanian political leader admitted, that there is much to do regarding the respecting of the rights of national minorities in Romania. More importantly, – Iohannis added that the authorities must also take into consideration the culture and identity of the people living in specific areas of the country, when creating administrative regions.
In the document on public order and public safety for the 2015-2020 period, recently released for public discussion, the Ministry of Internal Affairs is interpreting its own responsibilities in a way that is unworthy for a constitutional state. The twenty-page long text adopted by the government is calling a legitimate community demand, the Szekler autonomy aspiration, a “criminal phenomenon” that "poses a constant threat to the citizens' welfare and safety”. According to the document, the demand for territorial autonomy is a “racist, xenophobic and extremist manifestation”. To make things worse, according to the superficial wording, racism and xenophobia can only be considered a source of threat if it is aimed at achieving a region’s autonomy. In other words, racism and xenophobia is permissible, according to the Romanian government, as long as its aim is a national minority’s violent assimilation, expulsion or extermination or any other criminal offense against a person or group.
Bucharest considers autonomy requests a safety threat
Despite the hopes that had arisen from the election of a minority candidate as President of the country last November, Romania lately seems to return full-speed to the darkest pages of its recent past.
After the unlawful ban of the anti-government protest in Marosvásárhely/Targu Mures, we have to raise awareness of a new infringement of the Romanian authorities.
Every year the Szekler National Council organizes the Day of the Szekler Freedom in order to demonstrate against the planned administrative reform of Romania, which would be extremely detrimental for the Szekler community as Szeklerland would be incorporated into a region in which Hungarians constituted less than 30% of the total population. A major challenge of organizing this event year by year, is that Romanian authorities are not always cooperative, and often use various means to put obstacles in front of the organizers, including unlawful ones. The Day of the Szekler Freedom consisted of two parts: 1) A demonstration held at an obelisk commemorating the martyrdom of Szekler’s who fought for Hungarian freedom under Habsburg oppression, and 2) a march from the obelisk to the building of the local government of Maros County.
Dear Chairman, fellow participants, ladies and gentleman!
It is an honour to be here again, representing the Hungarian speaking Szekler community of Romania. “The Draft recommendations on preventing and addressing violence and atrocity crimes targeted against minorities” are of utmost importance to us, as a community that has previously suffered from violence. Although our situation has improved since the political transition of 1989, and the election of Klaus Werner Johannis as President of Romania has opened up a realistic chance of deepening democracy, we still live in a country where ethnic tensions continue to exist. According to the Council of Europe‘s Recommendation 1334 (2003), which was adopted based on the report of Andreas Gross, the roots of these tensions in most countries, including Romania, “can very often be traced to the dichotomy between the principle of indivisibility of states and the principle of identity, and are rooted in tensions between states and minority groups which demand the right to preserve their identities.”
In the previous months the attention of the whole world, and that of the European Union as well, was captured by Ukraine and Scotland. The events taking place in these two countries have a number of similarities, but a major difference must be noticed: In Scotland the question regarding the independence of the country was decided – based on an agreement of the interested parties – through a referendum, whereas in Ukraine, violence came to the fore, instead of democratic solutions claiming not only material damages, but human sacrifices as well.
One year after the Great March of the Szeklers, we are pleased to note that the event still has a decisive impact on public life, can open new perspectives for dialog and its international effects are no less noteworthy. The re-appearance of the Project on Ethnic Relations in Romania is a consequence of this, and this needs to be taken into account, at least during the started negotiations.
On the 18th of September, the Bucharest Court of Appeal has discusssed in substance Izsák Balázs’s application. The president of the Szekler National Council has turned to the National Anti-Discrimination Council, against Prime Minister Victor Viorel Ponta, President Traian Basescu, Deputy Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea and former Chairman of the Senate Crin Antonescu, because they previously declared, that the creation of a region having Hungarian majority as part of Romania’s administrative reform is out of the question. The Anti-Discrimination Council led by Asztalos Csaba rejected the complaints on the grounds that the freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, and fundamental human rights apply also to the public institutions of the state.
Regarding the holding of the referendum on Scottish independence to be held on 18 September Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) and Eusko Alderdi Jeltzalea-Partido Nacionalista Vasco (EAJ-PNV) wish to make the following points:
George Maior, Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), has recently declared that he considers preventing the implementation of all forms of territorial autonomy in Romania to be the duty of the institution he leads. The administrative organization of any democratic country is a result of political decisions that are exclusively within the competences of the legislative branch. By violating this principle, the above affirmation of the Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service implies that the institution he leads operates as political police. This is not only antidemocratic and unconstitutional, but also confirms the wide spread opinion that the SRI is not only the legal successor of the Securitate, but also its spiritual successor, and preserver of its methods.
Ever since President Woodrow Wilson formulated it in 1918, the right of peoples to self-determination received universal recognition. If the European Union is the land of law and democracy, than this right should prevail not only in the legal system of the Union, but also in its everyday practice.
On the 10th of March, The Day of the Szekler Freedom once again tenth of thousands demonstrated for the autonomy of Szeklerland. The participants at the commemoration and the rally covered with blue and gold the monument of the szekler martyrs and the streets of Marosvásárhely/Tg-Mures, proving, that their support for the basic rights of our people is the same. Thanks to all of those, who came from all around Szeklerland, and also to the citizens of Marosvásárhely/Tg-Mures, who were present in great number at our National Day.
Last year, on the 10th of March more than 30.000 szekler people gathered at the monument of the szekler martyrs to manifest in a peaceful way, to express their support for the autonomy of Szeklerland and to call the government to begin dialogue about that.
Twenty five years after the fall of the dictatorship Romania has yet to restore most of the properties confiscated from the Hungarian churches, even though this was one of the conditions for its entry into the Council of Europe.
One month has passed since the Great March of the Szeklers. Nearly one month ago, Victor Ponta, prime minister of Romania, has promised to answer the Szeklers' demands in the spirit of the constitution, and the EU legal system. This is exactly what the participants of the March, and the hundreds of thousands of people who watched the event on television are waiting for. The event's manifesto, has been sent to the Romanian Government, to facilitate the response.
Officers of the Szekler National Council, President Izsák Balázs, Foreign Affairs Commissioner Dabis Attila, and Vice-President Márton Zoltán, met with Falah Mustafa Bakir, Foreign Affairs Minister of the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan on the 15th of November in Budapest.
EFA calls on all European peoples to express their solidarity with the Szeklers by supporting their march for autonomy on Sunday.
On Sunday 27th October the Hungarian-speaking Szekler people of Transylvania will march to demand autonomy for Szeklerland.
Brussels, 24 October 2013.
The European Free Alliance (EFA) works to make the idea of a “Europe of the Peoples” a political and cultural reality at the European and international level. It is an umbrella organisation that gathers 40 progressive nationalist, regionalist and autonomist parties throughout the European Union (EU), representing stateless nations, regions, and traditional minorities in Europe.
Committee on National Cohesion
of the National Assembly
6/2010-2014. NOB. (15 October 2013)
of the Committee on National Cohesion
of the National Assembly
regarding the Grand March of the Szeklers
of 27 October 2013
As the Romanian government didn’t give any answer to the Petition adopted on The Day of the Szekler Freedom in Marosvásárhely/Targu-Mures, the Szekler National Council is going to organize a major event on the 27th of October for the cause of the Autonomy of Szeklerland and against the regionalization plans of the government, that ignores the will of the Szekler people.
Seeing the project of Romania’s administrative reform, which is hostile towards the Szekler people and violates the country's international commitments, and which aims only to eliminate the Szekler counties, the last remnants of the Szeklers' decision making institutions, the Szekler National Council calls all Szeklers, to a protesting march on the 27th of October, at Háromszék. Let us form the longest protesting march-column of all time, between Bereck and Kökös, Gábor Áron's birthplace, and the site of his death respectively. Let us gather in the designated locations, in Kökös, Uzon, Szentivánlaborfalva, the crossroads near Réty, Eresztevény, Maksa, Dálnok, Csernáton, Kézdivásárhely, Nyújtód, Lemhény and Bereck, so that the 22 march-columns can start moving towards the neighboring village at 12 o’clock, following an ecumenical worship service.
The Citizens’ Committee aimed to submit the Szekler National Council's EU citizens’ initiative was formed
Information material 5/2010-2014. NOB. (12 March 2013)
of the Committee on National Cohesion of the National Assembly
EUZKADI BURU BATZARRA - Presidentea
Bilbao, 6 March 2013
Mr. Balázs Izsák
President of Szekler National Council
The administrative reorganization of Romania brings the question of Szeklerland inevitably to the fore. Unfortunately the opinion leaders – politicians and journalists as well – are on the wrong way. The correct starting point should be not what the government wants, or one or another party-leader thinks, but the will of the involved local communities. In the case of Szeklerland the people who live here should be asked about what they really want. There are, and there will be politicians, who will try to convince us to accept an “achievable” solution, having in mind their own personal comfort, trying to save effort, by suggesting the community to ask for a solution that is easier to achieve. They forget and try to make us forget as well that Romania’s international commitments, the domestic and the EU-law, but also the international law says, that when delimiting an administrative unit, the will of the concerned population is to be taken into consideration.
On the 10th of March 1854, in Marosvásárhely/Targu-Mures, on the field of Postarét, three Szekler Martyrs were executed. The college teacher Bágyi Török János, the lawyer Martonosi Gálfi Mihály and Nagyváradi Horváth Károly, members of the so called Makk-conspiration tried to revive the flame of the fallen Hungarian revolution. Their goal was to reach national self-determination and they gave their lifes for it, showing an example of courage and loyalty to the posterity.