Anti-discrimination NGOs are demanding the resignation of the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Baconschi
The signatory organizations are protesting against the public racist statements of the Romanian minister of Foreign Affairs, Teodor Baconschi, on the occasion of an official meeting with the French State Secretary for European Affairs, Pierre Lellouche, on 11.02.2010, as well as against the content of the press release of the Romanian Government on the same date, which supposedly informed the public opinion on the discussions between the Prime Minister Emil Boc and the French State Secretary Pierre Lellouche.
When referring to the Roma community in France, Minister Baconschi is saying, according to the official press statement on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
“We have some natural, physiological problems, of criminality within some of the Romanian communities, especially among the communities of the Romanian citizens of Roma ethnicity”.
The Minister associates directly criminality with ethnicity. Furthermore, in an extreme manner, he is offering a biological explanation when associating criminality to ethnicity, explanation common to the Holocaust justification in Nazi Germany.
Mr. Baconschi is probably not aware that associating the criminality with ethnicity, the so called “racial profiling” is not either in the spirit of the European law and the democratic values of the 21st century. Mr. Baconschi’s statements bring severe prejudice to the dignity of the Roma ethnics as Romanian and European citizens. Further more it constitutes a breach of Romanian and European legislation in the field of anti-discrimination.
A similar type of discourse is present on the official press release of the Romanian Government released on the same date, after the official meeting between the Romanian Prime Minister Boc and French State Secretary Lellouche.
“An important issue on the agenda of the meeting concerned the measures taken into account by the Romanian authorities for preventing and discouraging the crimes committed in France by the Romanian citizens of Roma ethnicity.”
Through its content, the press release of the Romanian Government is explicitly and deliberately linking criminality to an ethnic group.
This type of message, issued by the Romanian Government, is aimed at strengthening the generalized hate and the negative stereotypes against the Roma. Furthermore, arguments pertaining to physiology and nature as those put forward by Mr. Baconchi, bring Romania in a dark moment of history. In our opinion, the public speech promoted by a fundamental institution of the Romanian state, especially by two out of 3 citizens with the right to engage Romania in external relations, should represent o position common for a democratic state. As well, it should be a catalyst for a responsible public speech when it comes to the perception of Romani people in society.
We consider the way in which the ethnic origin of the community accused of committing crimes in France was established is not legitimate. More than that, it is illegal to make public any type of supposed data linking criminality and ethnicity, and this fact could lead to inter-ethnic conflicts.
We condemn the “natural” way of approaching the criminality with a racist perspective within bilateral meetings among governmental officials representing EU member states.
Because of the gravity of the statements of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Baconschi is requested to resignate or be dismissed from the high position he is holding. Keeping Mr. Baconschi at the helm of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs brings severe prejudice to Romanian citizens in general. In addition, we request the Romanian government and Embassy of France in Romania to publicly clarify their position regarding the association of Roma ethnicity with criminality. As well as the initiation of a genuine dialogue with civic organizations aiming at identifying durable solutions to issues that neither the Romanian government or the French one have been capable to address.
We highlight that the worsening situation of Roma communities in Romania, deepened by the economic crisis - extreme poverty and lack of revenues – is transforming many Romani families into victims of human trafficking networks. We strongly believe that criminality has no ethnicity and that all too often Roma are trapped into the net of organized crime.
We remind the Romanian and French governments that copying the “solutions” of the Italian government, dealing with Roma issues only from a national security perspective, based only on increased police and judicial cooperation, is not legal. There is a need for a genuine action towards the social inclusion and guaranteeing of fundamental rights.
- Active Watch-Press Monitoring Agency, Razvan Martin, Coordinator Anti-Discrimination department
- Roma Civic Alliance of Romania (ACRR), David Mark, Executive Director
- Asociation ACCEPT, Florin Buhuceanu, Preşedinte
- Center for Legal Resources, Delia Niţă, Coordonatoare program anti-discriminare
- Euroregional Centre for Oublic Initiatives, Iustina Ionescu, Manager de Programe
- The network of the Roma Civic Alliance:
1. Romani CRISSS, Bucureşti
2. Centrul Rromilor AMARE RROMENTZA, Bucuresti
3. Asociaţia 'DIVANO-ROMANO', Botoşani
4. Asociaţia Agenţia de Dezvoltare Comunitară INTER-ACTIVA, Botoşani
5. Association 'Şanse Egale', Zalău
6. Asociaţia 'ROMII ROMAŞCANI', Roman
7. Fundaţia Ruhama, Oradea
8. Asociaţia Parudimos, Timişoara
9. Asociaţia Roma ACCESS TOMIS, Constanţa
10. Asociaţia Şanse Egale pentru Femei şi Copii, Zalău
11. Centrul Tinerilor Romi 'Amare Suno', Craiova
12. Asociaţia Şanse Egale pentru Romi şi Sinti ADOSER/S, Zalău
13. Alianţa pentru Unitatea Romilor, Brăila
14. Asociaţia 'O Del Amenca', Feteşti
15. Asociaţia Thumende, Petroşani/Valea Jiului
16. Asociaţia Romilor Ursari, Iaşi;
- Asociaţia Comunitară Împreună, Giana Prisan, Preşedintă executivă
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- Asociaţia Pro Nobis, Kernaszt Huba Attila, Director executiv
- Asociaţia Romii in Europa, Bratu Sorinel, Director
- Centrul de Dezvoltare Comunitară Neamţ, Carmen Andrei, Directoare executivă
- Organizaţia Amare Prhala Cluj-Napoca, Doghi Pavel, Preşedinte
- Policy Center for Roma and Minorities, Valeriu Nicolae, Director executiv
- TRUST - Tinerii Romi pt Unitate Solidaritate si Transparenta, Craiova, Alin Banu, Preşedinte
- Uniunea Democratică Culturală Valea Jiului, Marcel Rad, Preşedinte
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