‘The signing organisations are once again asking Minister Baconschi to step down on honour or the prime minister to dismiss him. Keeping Minister Baconschi at the helm of the Romanian diplomacy is hurting the dignity of Romanians, irrespective of their ethnic background, and that will really have serious effects on Romania’s picture abroad,’ reads a press release issued by the Centre for Juridical Resources.
The NGOs argue that in any other European country the statements of Minister Baconschi would have lead to dismissal from office. ‘Yet, in Romania an official communiqué is altered to make it sounds that the minister did not mean what he said and an explanation is provided of what he did mean. Unfortunately, the latest MAE release unsuccessfully attempts and once again discriminately to explain the meaning of ‘ natural.’ Minister Baconschi had in mind the existence of a certain crime level he deemed ‘natural’ in any community, but the words he used did not adequately convey the message the minister intended,’ reads the NGOs’ release.
They also point out that in a previous statement Baconschi said there are ‘physiological, natural issues of crime within some Romanian communities, particularly within the community of Romanians of Roma extraction.’
‘Minimal logic shows the minister did not mean ‘any community,’ but ‘ some Romanian communities,’ explicitly mentioning the Roma community. The words ‘ some of Romanian communities’ were left in the altered communiqué as they were thought to ‘adequately convey the message intended by the minister,’ which proves that the minister is indeed differentiating between Romanian communities, of which some have a crime level higher then others, and this higher level, according to the ‘updated’ release of the MAE, has a negative potential on Romania’s picture abroad,’ the NGOs say.
The NGOs also claim that the conclusion from the MAE release is that the Romanian citizens in France are immigrants, not European citizens. The signing NGOs are the Active Watch Press Monitoring Agency; the Civic Alliance of Romania’s Romas; the Centre for Juridical Resources; the Pro Europa League and Romani CRISS.
Foreign Minister Baconschi and the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday ‘firmly’ denied all interpretation ‘on a racial or ethnical note of the words used by the Romanian chief diplomat in his February 11 press statement,’ arguing that crime has to do with individual behaviour rather than ethnic background.
Their reaction came after various anti-discrimination organisations accused Baconschi of having made racist statements in relation to the Romanian citizens of Roma extraction at a meeting with French state secretary Pierre Lellouche and asked for Baconschi’s dismissal.