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ERRC Letter of Concern: Anti-Roma Racism Developments in Romania

26 August 2005

Prime Minister Urged to Act

The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) today sent a letter to Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu urging him to take action against a recent outburst of racist speech in Romanian media. The recent announcement by the European Court of Human Rights of two judgments concerning the 1993 pogrom in the village of Hadareni, and subsequent measures by the authorities taken against the perpetrators of the pogrom, have been seized upon as an opportunity by a number of politicians and journalists to launch verbal attacks against Roma in Romania, significantly degrading the public space.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled twice in July in connection with the 1993 pogrom in the village of Hadareni, Mures County, central Romania, and its aftermath. The case involved the killing by a mob of three Romani men and the subsequent destruction of fourteen Romani houses in Hadareni, as well as the degrading circumstances in which the victims were forced to live after the event. The Court issued two decisions on the matter in July, the first affirming a friendly settlement between the Romanian government and 18 surviving victims of the pogrom, and the second finding Romania in violation of multiple provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and awarding damages to 7 victims who had declined amicable settlement.

Following the ruling, and in the wake of measures by authorities to seize property belonging to the perpetrators of the pogrom in order to award damages to victims, prominent public figures have spoken out to provoke, reinforce and incite popular anti-Romani sentiment. Major media outlets have provided such persons with space to air their views. The ERRC letter calls the particular attention of Prime Minister Tariceanu to one very extreme example of anti-Romani hate speech undertaken by the prominent politician Mr. Corneliu Vadim Tudor, and currently still available to the public on an Internet website.

In the letter sent today, the ERRC also urges Prime Minister Tariceanu to ensure that the Romanian Government takes all necessary measures to provide full redress to the victims of the pogrom, as well as to swiftly prosecute those persons responsible for inciting and participating in the pogrom who have not yet been brought to justice. The latter category includes a number of police officers. The ERRC also urges that legal action be brought against those authorities responsible for the deficiencies of the criminal investigations in the 1993 events as found in the judgments by the European Court of Human Rights.

Finally, the ERRC letter notes the detailed commitments undertaken by the Romanian government as part of the friendly settlement decision to alleviate the very extreme conditions of the Roma in Mures County, as well as to dampen the very high levels of hatred against Roma there. The letter urges Prime Minister Tariceanu to take an active role in supervising the measures set out in the friendly settlement decision.

Further information on the Hadareni case is available at: http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2282 .

The July 5 decision by the European Court of Human Rights affirming the friendly settlement between the Romanian government and 18 victims of the pogrom is available at: European Court of Human Rights.

The July 12 decision by the European Court of Human Rights finding Romania in violation of a number of provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights in relation to the remaining claims is available at: European Court of Human Rights.

Persons wishing to express concerns on the matters above are urged to contact:

Mr. Calin Popescu-Tariceanu
Prime Minister of Romania
Piata Victoriei, nr. 1, sector 1
Fax: +(40)-21-318 11 45

Ms. Monica Macovei
Minister of Justice
Str. Apolodor, nr. 16, sector 5
Fax: +(40)-21-310 16 64

Ms. Beatrice Ramascanu
The Government Agent for the European Court of Human Rights
Aleea Alexandru nr. 31, Sector 1
Fax: +(40)-21-231 06 20

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