Whose interests are the Roma representatives in the Romanian Parliament defending?

By • on June 2, 2011

In recent weeks, the scandal that made the headlines both in tabloid and in quality Romanian press was the divorce of the Columbeanu family. He is 53 years old and is one of the wealthiest businessmen in Romania. She is a supermodel, 30 years younger than her husband. They were married a few years ago and they have a daughter. Earlier this year,they decided to divorce. After the first appearance in court, the judge decided that the girl should be entrusted to her mother. The businessman did not agree with the judge’s decision and started a media scandal. At the beginning, the scandal was covered only by tabloid newspapers and by television shows about the lives of local VIPs.

The scandal has lately elicited the interest of quality newspapers because the divorce came under debate by the Romanian Parliament. This is due to the deputy Nicolae Paun (photo), a Roma member of the Parliament, which in this case took notice and asked that everyone involved in this divorce should be called for hearings in the Chamber of Deputies. The Roma deputy Nicolae Paun asked this because he has been the president of the Commission for the Protection of Human Rights from the Chamber of Deputies since 2000.

When Nicolae Paun decided to put to debate this divorce in Parliament, he received great publicity in all Romanian media. His decision, however, has caused a tough reaction among Romanian Roma. For instance, Roma leaders and representatives of Roma NGOs have debated the curious decision of Paun in online forums. They said that in the last 11 years, the Roma deputy has not reacted in any way to cases of Roma being abused by the authorities, having their homes burned down or being treated as criminals and being expelled from other European countries as criminals. They said that this divorce has nothing to do with the duties of the Parliamentary Committee. He was accused by the Roma representatives of getting involved in this case just for media publicity. This idea was reinforced by the fact that his other 12 colleagues from the Commission for the Defense of Human Rights boycotted Nicolae Paun and refused to attend the hearings in this case. Therefore, Roma civil society asked: whose interests are the Roma representatives in the Romanian Parliament defending?