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(From the New York Times, May 7, 1976)
WILL THE UNITED STATES ENDORSE
CULTURAL GENOCIDE IN ROMANIA?
Two hundred years ago the United States was founded on strong moral principles. The fashionable view today holds that those principles have largely eroded since 1776. We Hungarian-Americans do not adhere to this view.
The United States of America is still the champion of human rights and fundamental freedoms around the globe. It leads the fight for these ideals in the United Nations. It is the hope of oppressed Soviet Jewry and other minorities. As a last resort it gives haven to refugees of tyranny, as many of have reason to appreciate.
There is now an opportunity to take a further step in the spirit of this noble tradition. Rumania's dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, is pursuing an increasingly brazen program amounting to cultural genocide against that country's Hungarian, German, and other minorities. The six major elements of this program are:
1. ELIMINATION OF MINORITY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
Taking full advantage of the State monopoly of education, the Rumanian government eliminates, merges and reorganizes schools at will. As a result, from 1956 to 1974 the number of Hungarian elementary schools dropped from 1515 to 776. Even official statistics show that only 60-65 % of Hungarian children have the opportunity to attend Hungarian grade schools, and only 25% to attend Hungarian secondary schools. Minority origin is a definite handicap when seeking admission to an educational institution. In 1959 the two Hungarian universities were arbitrarily eliminated - and not for the lack of students.
2. SUPPRESSION OF MINORITY LANGUAGES
In addition to manipulating the educational system, the Rumanian government emp1oys other methods to suppress the use of minority languages. Rumanian is the exclusive language used at every level of government bureaucracy. This po1icy encourages chauvinism even in strictly private social situations. Members of minorities often have to put up with derision and threats for using their mother tongue.
3. FALSIFICATION OF HISTORICAL DATA AND POPULATION STATISTICS
The Rumanian Communist Party produces and disseminates its own version of history. Their semi-fictional version of Rumanian history dismisses the significance of the indigenous Hungarian culture which predates the emergence of the first Rumanian state by three centuries.
Through the notorious communist method of manipulating statistics, the population of minority groups is constantly falsified in government records. The Rumanian government thus manages the statistical annihilation of at least -30-% of the actual minority population of the country.
4.CONFISCATION OF CULTURAL ARCHIVES
Even taken alone, this despicable act of the Rumanian government constitutes the crime of cultural genocide. Legislation is now on the books whose sole aim is the destruction of the historical roots of minorities. For instance, Decree-Law 206(1974 (amending Decree-Law 472/1971 on the National Archives) and Act No. 63 of November 2, 1974 on the protection of the national cultural treasury. The State has used these regniations for outright appropriation of historical documents, relics, manuscripts, maps, photos, diaries, posters, engravings, imprints and other material in the possession of church archives, private organizations and individuals. Uncompensated confiscation of this kind was reported by the respectable Swiss daily Neue Zurcher Zeitung ("Bureaucratic Chicanery Against the Churches in Rumania, " February 1(2, 1975. p. 6):
"The material was - in many cases without receipt - loaded onto trucks and carted away. The historical order of the archives has become completely disrupted in the process - one method of "reserving" and "protecting" historical materials - rendering scientific research for the next decades impossible. The Rumanian government has openly embarked on an escalated campaign against the Reformed Church and the Hungarian nationality.
"The intent behind the nationalization of the ecclesiastical archives is to sever the religious communities from their historical roots. A church without a past (tradition) has no future, especially one which represents a religious and national minority. The first victim of these warlike designs against the religious and cultural minorities by the Rumanian regime was the Hungarian Reformed Church ..."
5.OBSTRUCTING CONTACTS WITH RELATIVES ABROAD
Decree-Law 225/1975 prohibits the accommodation of non-Rumanian citizens in private homes in Rumania. Only immediate relatives are exempted. Since relatives from Hungary are usually of modest means and hotel facilities - especially in rural areas - are scarce, visits often become a practical impossibility.
6. DISSOLUTION OF ETHNIC COMMUNITIES
As in all Communist States the Rumanian government has almost complete control over the labor market. Rumania however, utilizes this control to break up homogeneous ethnic groups. University and vocational school graduates of Hungarian origin are routinely assigned jobs outside their own communities. Rumanians are then encouraged to replace them through offers of attractive income and housing opportunities in those communities.
MULTIPLE VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW
The above measures violate not only international standards of human rights, but the Constitution of Rumania itself. Minority populations must bear these outrages in addition to the usual intolerance and terror which affects the life of every citizen of Communist states regardless of ethnic origin.
All of the above abuses continue despite Rumania's ratification of the 1966 U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 27 of the Covenant reads as follows:
"ln those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language. "
The United Nations Ad Hoc Committee on Genocide in 1948 accepted the following definition as one of the ways by which the crime of cultural genocide may be committed:
". . .systematic destruction of historical or religious monuments or their diversion to alien uses, destruction or dispersion of documents and objects of historical, artistic, or religious value and of objects used in religious worship." (U.N. Doc E/447)
Regardless of the fact that the final text of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide did not
incorporate the above language, Rumania's recent behavior exactly corresponds with this definition.
WHAT CAN THE UNITED STATES DO?
As a.reward for her "independence" from Moscow, Rumania was granted most-favored-nation status by Congress last year. That decision overlooked the fact that this "independence" is not founded on decency and a healthy respect for human liberty. The fact is that Rumania today is guilty of the most blatant internal oppression of all the Soviet satellites. The only condition upon which "most-favored-nation" status was granted was the requirement of free emigration. Such systematic oppression cannot offset by an easing of restrictions on emigration. Such a "solution" could well be just what the Rumanian government needs to justify a policy of exiling minorities from home, property and country. The net effect would visit even more hardship and misery on those left behind. Free emigration may solve the problem of a handful of people, but the 2.5 million Hungarians and the 400,000 Germans want to live work and prosper in a land which, in the case of Hungarians, they have inhabited for over one thousand years.
We urge Congress to reverse last summer's decision making "most-favored-nation" status solely dependent upon the easing of emigration restriction. Congress should revoke that status from Rumania until she completely satisfies the just and reasonable needs of her minority populations to maintain and develop her own contribution to Rumania's rich ethnic mosaic.
We urge the American Government to exert pressure on Rumania in any other manner to conform to enlightened standards in its treatment of minorities. The December 5, 1973 American-Rumanian joint statement specifically allows parties to raise humanitarian issues with the other.
We urge the American public to show the same sympathy and solidarity toward these people as it has toward so many other victims of political and cultural persecution over the last two hundred years.
Tomorrow, Saturday, May 8th at 2 P.M. a demonstration will be held in tront of the Rumanian Permanent Mission to the United Nations, 60 East 93rd Street, New York City. The rally is sponsored by the Committee for Human Rights in Rumania, an ad hoc organization supported by all major associations of Hungarians in America. We urge you to lend your presence to this demonstration.
H. CON. RES. 326
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
JUNE 26, 1975
Mr. He1stoski (for himself, Mr. Addabbo, Mr. Bell, Mr. Crane, Mr. Dominick V. Daniels, Mr. Patten, and Mr. Pepper) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means
Whereas the cu1tural, educational, and economic situation of the Hungarian minority in Romania, concentrated primarily in the historical province of Transylvania, continues to deteriorate as a result of oppressive government policies aimed at the ultimate denationalization of the Hungarian minority;
Whereas job, housing, and other forms of economic discrimination continue to exist as a result of the policies of the Romanian Government; and
Whereas both the Human Rights Declaration of the United Nations and articles 2, -17-, 22, and 102 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Romania guarantee the human and civi1 rights of Romanian citizens irrespective of nationality: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of the Congress that the "Agreement on Trade Relations between the United States of America and the Socialist Republic of Romania" signed on April -2-, 1975, and the Presidentia1 proclamation of April 24, 1975, implementing such agreement, which would extend most-favored-nation status to Romania, should be approved contingent upon the President's certification to the Congress that he has
(1) discussed with the Romania Government the situation of the Hungarian and other ethnic and religious minorities in Romania,
(2) has received assurances from the Romanian Government that the guarantees of the Romanian constitution will be observed and enforced and that redress will be granted to members of the Hungarian and other ethnic and religious minorities in Romania who have been discriminated against because of their ethnic origin or religious affiliation, and
(3) has received assurances from the Romanian Government that the provisions of The Trade Act of 1974 regarding the free emigration of
immediate relatives of American citizens to the United States will be complied with.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
SEPTEMBER 2, 1976
Mr. Patten (for himself, Mr. Annunzio, Mr. Cleveland, Mr. Conlan, Mr. Conte, Mr. Coughlin, Mr. Crane, Mr. Fish, Mr. Forsythe, Mr. Gude, Mr. Horton, Mr. Hyde, Mr. Johnson of Pennsylvania, Mrs. Meyner, Mr. Murphy of New York, Mr. Rinaldo, Mr. Winn, and Mr. Wydler) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means
Whereas section 402 of the Trade Reform Act of 1975 clearly established the dedication of the United States to the cause of fundamental human rights as the main purpose of the Trade Reform Act; and
Whereas such dedication has recently been reconfirmed by the signing of the Helsinki Declaration on Cooperation and Security in Europe signed also by thirty-three European states and Canada; and
Whereas curtailment of fundamental human rights and cultural freedoms persists in the Socialist Republic of Romania with special emphasis upon the national minorities,especially in the fields of educatlon, public use of minority languages, and religious 1iberty; and
Whereas such discrimination is repugnant to the observance of fundamental rights and cultural freedoms: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, that it is the sense of the United States House of Representatives that the President shall submit a full report to Congress on fundamental human rights and cultural freedoms in Romania with special emphasis on the national minorities, showing concrete measures taken to ameliorate their situation by the Romanian Government, by September 15, 1976, and in the future, such a report will accompany each request for extension of authority to waive the application of section 402(a) and (b) of the Trade Act of 1974, or request of authority to extend the 1975 United States-Romanian Trade agreement itself; be it further
Resolved, That should no ameliorative measures occur, it is the sense of the United States House of Representatives that the 1975 United States-Romanian Trade Agreement and the most-favored-nation treatment of the Socialist Republic of Romania shall not be extended.
H. RES. 1547
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
SEPTEMBER 15, 1976
Mr. McDonald of Georgia submitted the following resolution;
which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means
Resolved, That the House of Representatives does not approve the extension of the authority contained in section 402(c) of the Trade Act of 1974 recommended by the President to the Congress on June 2, 1974, with respect to the Socialist Republic of Romania.
-94-th Congress Calendar No. 1 194 2nd Session
S. RES. 555
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
SEPTEMBER 20, 1976
Mr. Helms submitted the following resolution; which was ordered to be
placed on the calendar by unanimous consent
Relating to the Socialist Republic of Romania.
Resolved, That the Senate of the United States of America does not approve the extension of the authority contained in section 402(c) of the Trade Act of 1974 recommended by the President to the Congress on June 2, 1976, with respect to the Socialist Republic of Romania.
AN APPEAL TO THE HONORABLE JIMMY CARTER
TO DEMONSTRATE A CONCERN OVER
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AGAINST THE 2.5 MILLION
HUNGARIANS IN RUMANIA
Your eloquent statements on the importance of morality in foreign policy have instilled a new hope in the approximately one million Hungarian-Americans throughout the United States. We wholeheartedly agree with your position that this nation "can not look away when a government tortures people, or jails them for their believes or denies minorities fair treatment." (Speech to National Convention of B'nai B'rith, September 8, 1976). All too often over the past years our leaders have, as you said, "rationalized that there is little room for morality in foreign affairs" and have placed a higher value on commercial and political considerations. In contrast to this trend, you have not only expressed the need for our country to restore a healthy respect for fundamental human rights, but you have pointed out the means, United States trade policy, for achieving this end. We applaud the position which you summed up in the following manner: "lf other nations want our triendship and support, they must understand that we want to see basic human rights respected, and this includes the rights of Hungarians wherever they may be. " (Cablegram to Hungarian organizations, October 23, 1976).
Our purpose now is to ca1l your attention to a concrete and specific opportunity for implementing the ideals you have espoused. Rumania is one country which, by any definition of the phrase, "denies minorities fair treatment." The dictator of that country, Nicolai Ceausescu, is currently waging a systematic and increasingly aggressive campaign of forceful assimilation against the 2.5 million native Hungarian inhabitants of Rumania. The principal elements of this brazen assault consist of falsification of population statistics; gross discrimination in the field of education; dissolution of compact minority communities and dispersion of ethnic professionals; curtailment of cultural opportunities for minorities; refusal to permit bilingualism; falsification of history; confiscation of ethnic church archives; obstruction of contracts with relatives abroad; and persecution of minority religious institutions. Each of these abusive measures is fully documented in the material attached to this memorandum.
As President of the United States, you will have several means at your disposal to exert pressure on the Rumanian Government to reverse this policy of oppression. Your Administration will, as a matter of course, be making contacts with representatives of the Rumanian Government. We appeal to you, and those representing you, to use the opportunity offered by such meetings to express a serious concern for the fate of the Hungarian minority in Rumania. The Ford Administration, through it's State Department, has failed to treat this question with any degree of objectivity. We urge you to direct a thorough and unbiased investigation and it institute a dialogue with the appropriate representatives of the Rumanian Government.
Finally, we call upon you to inform the Rumanian Government that you will not recommend extension of Most Favored Nation status until that Government has imp1emented concrete measures to ameliorate the situation of the Hungarian minority.
We are certain that your firm stand on basic moral principles will restore the prestige of this nation, and we pray that God give you the strength, the wisdom and the clear sight needed to fulfill this great mission .
Hungarian-Americans in defense of human rights
" ... I AM COMMITTED TO DOING WHATEVER I CAN TO ASSURE BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS ARE HONORED HERE AT HOME AND AROUND THE WORLD. I HAVE READ YOUR APPEAL AND HAVE FORWARDED IT TO CYRUS VANCE SO THAT HE, TOO, MIGHT KNOW OF YOUR CONCERN AS WE PREPARE FOR OUR ADMINISTRATION ..."
President of the United States of America
" ... I PLAN TO MAKE IT UNDERSTOOD THAT IF ANY NATION, WHATEVER ITS POLITICAL SYSTEM, DEPRIVES IT PEOPLE OF BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS, THAT FACT WILL HELP SHAPE OUR PEOPLE's ATTITUDE TOWARD THAT NATION's GOVERNMENT. IF OTHER NATIONS WANT OUR FRIENDSHIP AND SUPPORT, THEY MUST UNDERSTAND THAT WE WANT TO SEE BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS RESPECTED, AND THIS INCL UDES THE RIGHTS OF HUNGARIANS WHEREVER THEY MAYBE ... "
President of the United States of America
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