Open Letter to Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Dear Mr. Secretary General,

During the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a Hungarian representative asked you: whether you stand up for the autonomy aspirations of the Szeklers in Romania? In your answer you replied, that you are not aware of the particular Romanian situation, but you stand up for every minority, in general. These sentences are of great importance for us, and we remember, that you also said: “We have to make sure, that everyone abides by the Framework Convention”.
Dear Secretary General, let us inform you about the situation of the Szeklers, and the Romanian conditions.
When Romania joined the Council of Europe it has accepted an abundance of commitments, which it hasn’t fulfilled till this day. The promise, made to fulfill Recommendation Nr. 1201/1993 proved to be in vain. The 13.500 km2 large territory of Szeklerland is inhabited by 700.000 Szekler people, possessing Hungarian national identity. Despite the fact, that we represent an overwhelming 75% majority in this territory, and that we expressed our need for autonomy through a referendum, the Romanian authorities deny even a conversation with us, on this issue.
The Szekler National Council is an NGO, undertaking the autonomy aspiration of the Szekler people. In doing so, we submitted a draft law to the Romanian Parliament, relying on our local traditions, the functioning autonomies of Europe, and the recommendations of the Council of Europe. The Romanian legislature rejected this draft law by referring to Recommendation Nr. 1201/1993. To do so however, they first had to falsify this document, by willfully rewriting article 12 in bad faith, although the correct Romanian translation was also available for them. We lodged a criminal complaint by the competent authority, which denied initiating a procedure, claiming, that the Legislative Council - which rejected our draft-law, and which has a pivotal role in adopting legislation – is a consultative body only!
Whit this measure, it became an accepted practice in Romania for the authorities, to falsify the recommendations and resolutions of the Council of Europe, using them against minorities.
Romania stands before an administrative reform, and though – in reaction to our complaint – the government has made a promise, that Romania will abide by its international commitments, they have elaborated a draft, which would melt Szeklerland into a region, where Szeklers would represent only 29% of the population. This would violate the regulations of the Framework convention, as well as The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, and Recommendation Nr. 1881/2007 of the Council of Europe.
The restitution of private and church properties nationalized by the communist regime has halted. Romania has fulfilled nearly nothing from the commitments in this issue, and is giving more and more signs, that they do not wish to continue, with the restitution process.
Dear Secretary General! It is my firm belief, that the radicalization of minority movements and organizations can be prevented, if the Council of Europe would be able to make the member states fulfill their commitments, and if the Council enforces the rights recognized by these states, and doesn’t allow for anyone to falsify it’s documents, using them against their original purpose.
I humbly ask the Secretary General to receive a delegation of the Szekler National Council, so that we can introduce the aspirations and the situation of Szeklerland personally.

Marosvásárhely, 11. February 2013.
Izsák Balázs
President of the Szekler National Council

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