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On November 21. 2002, a N.A.T.O. summit will convene in
Prague with the purpose of inviting new members to join the alliance.
Among those states under consideration are Romania and Slovakia, both of
which have atrocious Human Rights records.  An intensive lobbying effort
has already been initiated by various special interest groups (Lockheed-Martin
is pushing hard for Romania) to influence the course of those events.  While it
is the belief of the author that anyone who hears of what is happening in
Transylvania (a similar situation exists in Slovakia) will support it's cause,
your voice must be heard, so contact your representative.

Although it is more effective to write your own personalized letter when
you contact your representative, feel free to use the following letter if
you choose.  If you have time, forward the reply to one of the Hungarian
Human Rights organizations listed on the main page.  It is also recommended
that you write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and help inform
your community about this important decision.  Use this address to find your
Senator:   http://www.congress.org/
 

June 17, 2002

The Honorable Robert Torricelli
United States Senate
Committees on Foreign Relations, Joint Economic, Finance, Governmental Affairs,
Rules and Administration
113 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-3003
 

Dear Senator Torricelli,

I am writing to urge that you oppose Romania's candidacy to join the N.A.T.O.
Alliance.  Romania's persecution of the Hungarian population in Transylvania is
well documented, and has been described in the Congressional Record as
'ethnocide', and 'cultural genocide'.  It has now been twelve years since the fall of
communism in Eastern Europe, and the more than 2 million Hungarians of
Transylvania still suffer from discrimination, and attacks by Romanian extremists.
Romania's failure to fulfill both it's obligations to respect Human Rights, and it's
promises to comply with these obligations, make that country undeserving of
joining the N.A.T.O. Alliance.

Part of Hungary for 1000 years,  Transylvania was transferred to Romania after the
first World War, by the Treaty of Trianon.  Despite the clauses in the Treaty of
Trianon that require Romania to observe Human Rights norms, the Hungarian
population living in Transylvania has been subjected to institutionalized
discrimination, as well as state sponsored terror. This has ranged from the
dismantling of the Hungarian language educational system, to the confiscation of
private and Church property, to the arrest, imprisonment and torture of community
leaders.  Since the fall of the communist regime, Romania has failed to provide the
necessary financial restitution, and the return of property confiscated to their
rightful owners, while continuing policies designed to ethnically cleanse the
Hungarian population.

Recently, Romania has embarked upon a policy designed to improve its
international image, while simultaneously continuing their policies of forced
assimilation and "colonization" of Hungarian majority areas.  The main tool in this
effort is the state funded building of Romanian Orthodox Churches in Hungarian
majority areas  (most Hungarians being Catholic or Protestant).  The deliberate
design in this is to attract Romanian settlers, dilute the Hungarian presence, and
change the ethnic balance of the region in favor of Romanians.  This occurs while
Hungarian churches, and even Romanian ones in other parts of the country remain
underfunded.

A closely related issue is the failure of the Romanian government to return church
properties that were illegally confiscated during the communist era.  The four
historic Hungarian religious denominations (Roman Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran
and Unitarian) have extensive documentation of at least 2,091 church properties
illegally confiscated from them between 1945-1989.  None of these properties-save
six- have been returned to their rightful owners.  A similar situation exists in
regard to private property that was confiscated from their legal owners.  No
meaningful restitution has of yet been provided.

Hungarians in Transylvania have been continually harassed and treated as second
class citizens. This has been especially true in the towns of Cluj Napoca
(Kolozsvár) where the ultra-nationalist Mayor, Gheorghe Funar has repeatedly
violated the Law on Public Administration, adopted May 23, 2001  This law
mandates the use of the native language in localities where the given minority
population exceeds 20 percent and includes the display of bilingual government
institution, street- and place name signs in these settlements.  Outside of compactly
Hungarian-inhabited areas though, this law is blatantly ignored despite the will of
the people. Moreover, those in a position to intervene on the part of the central
government refuse to do so.

The refusal on the part of the Romanian authorities to restore the Hungarian
territorial autonomy that had existed from 1952-1968, as well as the independence
of the Hungarian Bolyai University, which was forcibly merged with the state run
Babes University in 1959 are also matters of great concern.  In addition, Antal
Reiner, the last ethnic Hungarian still imprisoned for participation in revolutionary
acts related to the 1989 overthrow of communism must be immediately released
from prison.

There are those who believe that by extending N.A.T.O. membership to Romania,
that country will respond by adopting western norms of Human Rights,  I believe
that respect for Human Rights should be a precondition to membership in the
N.A.T.O. Alliance, otherwise we run the risk of weakening N.A.T.O.  Until
Romania faithfully fulfills it's Human Rights obligations, Romania should not be
admitted into the N.A.T.O. Alliance.  What is your position on this important issue?
 
 

Sincerely,