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"Minority Rights in Practice"
CEMO has participated at the Conference organized by the recently established Research Institute on Hungarian Communities Abroad

25 November 2011

On 25 November 2011 Eniko Szigeti has participated at the  Conference "Minority Rights in Practice" organized by the Research Institute on Hungarian Communities Abroad based in Budapest.
The Conference focused on the domain of minority rights which has undergone significant changes in the two decades following the democratic transition and it has been pointed out how the issue of their implementation is still subject of discussions. In spite of the positive processes, none of the numerous national communities of East-Central-Europe is completely satisfied with their rights ensured by the majority society. Besides constrained minority rights, it is a common phenomenon that minority communities do not exercise their political, linguistic, etc. rights because they are not conscious enough of their granted rights. Legal security is also weakened by the fact that members of the national communities are often exposed to physical atrocity against which the majority society provides scant protection.
In the afternoon of the Conference there has been a panel for NGOs' from abroad that are working for and with the Hungarian community living abroad. Eniko Szigeti has presented the mission of Civic Engagement Mission focusing on the grassroots advocacy activities thar our organization has implemented in the field of minority rights focusing mainly on the issue fo language rights. Following her presentation two more NGOs' operating in Slovakia, have presented their activities held in the field of minority and language rights protection. The NGO called ADVANCE based in Ukraine has also presented their activities focused on social aid provided to the members of the Hungarian community and the representative of the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation has presented their history as well as some of the most important advocacy campaigns of the Foundation.
The closing session of the Conference has been held by the state secretary Repassy Zsuzsanna..
The Research Institute on Hungarian Communities Abroad has recently been established in Budapest, Hungary under the Office of Hungarian Communities Abroad.
CEMO has finalized and submitted its  "Shadow Report to the Initial Periodical Report on the Implementation of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in Romania"
March 2011

Romania signed the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in July 1995. Fourteen years later, on 29 January 2009, the country published the Law on the Ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECMRL) (Law nr. 282 from 24 October 2007) that entered into force on 1 May 2008. The Law on Ratification (282/2007, October 24) states that the provisions of the Charter will apply to ten minority languages used in Romania, including Hungarian, the language examined in our Report. The Charter ensures the use of regional and minority languages in various and significant areas of life including education, public administration, the judicial system, and media and in the context of social life and cultural activities.
The Charter promotes the use of regional or minority languages in public and private life, considering that these languages contribute to ?the maintenance and development of Europe's cultural wealth and traditions?. The Charter defines as regional or minority languages the languages which are ?traditionally used within a given territory of a state by nationals of that state who form a group numerically smaller than the rest of the state's population? (Article The Shadow Report (Report) is focusing mainly on the town of Tîrgu Mureº/ Marosvásárhely, the capital of Mureº/ Maros County, which has been examined in this report from the perspective of the ECMRL implementation in relation to the Hungarian language. It is important to mention that the preparation of the Report was entirely funded from our own resources; we have not applied for funding nor received financial support from any other organization, including from any state institutions. Regarding human resources, we worked with our own staff, including the volunteers of our NGO with no support from other NGOs or state institutions.
The Report includes several case studies compiled during our advocacy actions and activities as well as the Report presents a number of field investigations, statistics, and surveys carried out by our NGO with the aim to make visible the results related to the implementation of the ECMRL within Mureº/ Maros County, with a special focus on the county capital, Tîrgu Mureº/ Marosvásárhely. The results of our fact-finding efforts are the consequences of a two-year constant monitoring process related to the implementation of the ECMRL, focusing on the Hungarian language, as this region is inhabited by a large number of Hungarians. The Report presents, in detail, statistics related to the population, as well as the languages spoken within Mureº/ Maros County.
Starting with a broad presentation on Romania and its languages, as well as minority policies, the report continues with a general presentation of Mureº/ Maros County and the county capital of Tîrgu Mureº/ Marosvásárhely. The Report continues with surveys and examinations that focus on the implementation of the ECMRL in two distinct areas - public administration (ECMRL: Part III, Article 10) and Education (ECMRL: Part III, Article 8). Also, it also describes the language landscape of the county capital with the aim to show a clear picture of the present situation from the perspective of the Hungarian language, which is specific to this Region and is spoken by almost 40 per cent of its inhabitants.
We would like to emphasize that our report does not intend to be a negative critique of the Romanian state and public authorities. On the contrary, with our research and analysis, we intend to present data and results of examinations that will enable strengthening and supporting the efficient implementation of the ECMRL within the Mureº/ Maros County, as well as throughout the country. We hope that by revealing best practices models, as well as through the presentations of the implementation's deficiencies and apparent failures, alongside with our recommendations that we consider prospective tools for an efficient creation of a fair and just language policy within and outside of Mureº/ Maros County, we can become reliable partners throughout the future implementation process of the ECMRL.
It is important to mention that our Report has been the sole submitted Alternative/Shadow Report that has examined the ECMRL implementation in relation to the Hungarian language. The members of our NGO as well a group of experts selected by CEMO have participated in a Meeting with the members of the Committee of Experts during their on-the-spot visit to Romania (1st monitoring round with regard to the application of the Charter in Romania).

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