U.N. rapporteur emphasizes need for majority-minority dialogue in Romania

We have to make sure, that there is communication between minority and majority. It’s a two way road. – U.N. special rapporteur for minority rights Fernand de Varennes.

The expert in minority rights of Canadian-Australian citizenship during a conference held at Sapientia University in Kolozsvár, Cluj has been informed about various problems, that Hungarian minority faces in Romania and he also presented the possibilities the United Nations can offer in terms of protection of Minority Rights.

U.N. special rapporteur for minority rights Fernand de Varennes:

“Now I am not here as part of a mission, so I did not meet with Romanian authorities. On a mission it is usually more official and you meet government representatives. Now I am here to participate at the conference, which raises the awareness of what can be done through the Human Rights system of the United Nations. So I am not trying to solve minority problems here, but to indicate, what we do at the United Nations in terms of the human rights of minorities and this mechanism, that is called the special Rapporteur of Minority Issues.

I’ve heard many issues, that were raised during the conference. I think there is a number of very important issues. I don’t want to prioritize among them, because that would be my subjective list.

One thing, that I retained from this conference is, that, yes, there are challenges. One thing, that I noted was that, yes, there needs to be improvement, but there are also opportunities. I was very pleased to hear for example of the website created by RMDSZ (www.ezer100.ro), that tries to establish a dialogue between members of the Hungarian community and the Romanian majority. I think that is important. We have to make sure, that there is communication. It’s a two way road. So I think, that was quite positive. On the other hand we have to recognize, that there are problems in terms of implementation of certain laws, areas, where the minorities feel, that their rights are not fully respected. We also discussed how we can improve on that.

In many parts of the world there are also issues around education, and services. It is important to look at what is already done in a positive way, what is possible to do to recognize the rights of minorities in areas such as education, public services and others, what is perhaps done quite well in some countries, there are examples of good practices. We have to learn and try to improve based on those.”

The expert of the UN informed that his priorities are the following: the national minorities without a citizenship, the education in the minority languages, hate speech against minorities and the conflict prevention character of the protection of minority rights. He said that in 2019 the United Nations will organize three conferences on the language rights of minorities related to education, one of which will be held in Europe and the representatives of Hungarian minority are very welcome to participate.

Vincze Loránt, the president of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) emphasized: ”This is the first time, when we step out with the Hungarian minority issues from the European framework of minority rights protection.. Thus, we open up new possibilities, because we are able to directly inform the U.N. of our situation. We are counting on Fernand de Varennes taking all this information with him and when the different reports are made in the U.N.’s Human Rights Commission, our problems arisen during these days will appear there.”


Featured Image: Fernand de Varennes. U.N. special rapporteur for minority rights.





Author: Blanka Székely