During the Communist era all citizens of the Soviet bloc were subject to major infringements of their human rights. However, since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 the restitution of rights has not been universal and ethnic Hungarians in
Established by the UNHRC, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism that is intended to ensure that every member state to the United Nations has its human rights record accessed periodically. Submissions are invited from the member state, civil society, nongovernmental organizations, and other relevant stakeholders. The resulting report is subsequently examined by a UPR Working Group, consisting of Members of the UNHRC, with other appropriate stakeholders as observers. States under review and relevant stakeholders are then invited to respond to any questions or issues that may have arisen. The outcome of the working group and subsequent presentations is then adopted by the plenary.
Below is the statement which was communicated by UNPO to the UNHRC as part of its call for early submissions in the review of
Hungarian Minority in
The Hungarians in
The grievances of the Hungarian minority have been focused on several issues: restitution of church property confiscated by the communist regime; the right to use their mother tongue in their public administration and tribunals; the right to have instruction at all levels of education in their mother tongue; and limited local autonomy in the regions where they form the majority. Having been a member of the EU since 1 January 2007, UNPO expected
Restitution of Property
The ‘restitution of property’ law passed in July 2005 permits religious denominations to reclaim previously nationalized properties. While the government made some improvements, it failed to return property to numerous religious denominations. In many cases religious minorities have not succeeded in regaining possession of properties that were confiscated under Communist rule. Many properties meant for return to religious denominations contain government offices, schools, hospitals, or cultural institutions that would require relocation, and lawsuits and protests by current possessors have delayed restitution of the property to rightful owners. Although some progress has been made, for example the legislation has been modified to streamline the regime of establishment and payments of compensations, the pace of restitution has been extremely slow and the large majority of religious property restitution cases remain unresolved. Between 2003 and 2006 the Special Commission for Restitution restituted 599 of the approximately 2,700 claimed buildings. UNPO therefore urges all parties involved to significantly increase the pace of property restitution in order to fully comply with the implementation of the restitution of property law.
Public Administration Reform
One of the most important changes of the last decade was the constitutional referendum held in
Law on Education
Article 14 paragraph 2 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities which Romania signed and ratified in 1995, states that “in areas inhabited by persons belonging to national minorities traditionally or in substantial numbers, if there is sufficient demand, the parties shall endeavor 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.” In areas of significant populations of the Hungarian minority, for example in
Recent Ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
With the publication of the Law on the Ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML),
A Member of the Romanian Parliament, Mr. Árpád Márton, stated that as far as the opportunities to use the Hungarian language are concerned, the ratification will not significantly change the existing situation, but it can contribute to the adoption of new, improved legislation in the area of education and minority protection in general. UNPO hopes that new, improved legislation in the area of education and minority protection will follow and authorities will fully comply with Charter standards.
Draft Law on the Statute of National Minorities
One of the main DAHR achievements in the period of 2004-2007 is the elaboration of the Draft Law on the Statute of National Minorities living in