The Romanian Senate wants to dub the Roma “gypsies”
Romanian senators from the two parliamentary committees decided on 2 February 2011 to dub Romanian Roma “gypsies” in all official papers. To be more precise, they have approved a law project which changes the name of the Roma minority into gypsy. Paradoxically enough, the senators who decided this are members of the Commission for the Protection of Human Rights, Religions and Minorities and the Commission for Equal Opportunities. Last year, this law project had been approved by the Romanian Government as well. Once it is approved by Deputies Chamber, it becomes law.
During the discussions held in the above-mentioned committees, the leader of the liberal party senators, Mr. Puiu Hasoti, declared that this law project must be approved. He declared that the word”Gypsy” is neither offensive nor pejorative, and that none of the countries of the European Union, including Romania, has a special law providing for the obligatory use of the name “Roma”. The vice-president of the Commission for the Protection of Human Rights, Religions and Minorities, the liberal senator Emilian Francu, declared that the word “Gypsy” has no negative connotation and some Roma leaders want to keep the name “Roma” only in order to create confusion.
The senator Constantin Cibu said that Parliament made a mistake “out of tolerance” when it introduced the requirement of using the term “Roma”, which made it such that the name of the country- Romania- became the synonym of an ethnic name, “with all the negative consequences ” entailed by the decision.The president of the Commission for Equal Opportunities, Mrs. Olguta Vasilescu, voted for the adoption of this legislative initiative as well.
The president of the Commissionfor for the Protection of Human Rights, Religions and Minorities, Mr. Gyorgy Frunda (an ethnicHungarian) voted against this law project. He declared that word “Roma” does have a pejorative connotation. The senator Gyorgy Frunda told his colleagues that all the international treaties ensure each nation’s right of self-determination. He warned the members of the two committees that if they approved this legislative initiative, Romania risked being sentenced by the ECHR, in view of the European Convention and of the Union Treaty, which prohibited discrimination and the right of non-involved players to decide the fate of other ethnicities. “It would be against the right of Romania as a country to use the word “gypsy” in official documents, official language statements, or speeches held in the parliament “, said Senator Gyorgy Frunda. The law project was approved with 10 votes “for” and 2 votes “against”. After this decision, Roma civic organizations announced that they will hold protests during the next couple of days.