Last week a bizarre conference took place at Cluj-Napoca/Kolozsvár, aimed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Framework Convention for the Protection of Minority Rights, organized by the Babeș-Bolyai University and the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The topic of the conference was presented as inter-culturality and the motivation of increased minority participation in the political decision-making process. However, the representatives of the minorities living in Romania. However UDMR, the Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities or any other Hungarian minority organization were not invited to participate.
At the conference Gianni Buquiccho, the president of the Venice Commission also participated, where quite surprisingly, he praised the Romanian minority model, saying that in his experience, “the Romanian authorities pay close attention to respecting the Convention and other applicable norms”.
The representatives of the Hungarian community, who were not invited, but some of them entered the conference room, among them András Bethlendi, the activist of the a Musai-Muszáj Group, Tibor Toró, the Vice-President of the Hungarian Popular Party and Balázs Izsák, The President of the Szekler National Council. András Bethlendi asked for the possibility to address the participants, but was denied to do so.
András Bethlendi told the press later on, that he would have liked to address to questions to the President of the Venice Comission, namely if he believes whether it is ironic that the conference was organized at Cluj/Kolozsvár, a city where bilingual signs are not tolerated and also he would have liked to ask him, whether the recommendations of the Convention are mandatory and does their breach mean the infringement of an international treaty.
Bethlendi emphasized, that he believes that Gianni Buquicchio was not given the facts in relation to minorities living in Romania, given that while legislation concerning minority rights was adopted in Romania, these are not being applied.
Balázs Izsák, the President of the Szekler National Council, who also wanted to address the participants, but was not given the chance to do so, also declared it to the press, that in his opinion, Romania celebrates the fact that it keeps breaching the Convention for 20 years now. He said that the Romanian government’s regionalization plan is one of the gravest infringement of the Convention, because it will result in changing the ethnic composition of the regions. „A lot has been said at this conference, except the reality.”- said Izsák.