Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Ukraine must maintain the level of protection for the rights of national minorities in order to remain anchored to its European trackThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs is watching most attentively the decisions of the new authorities in Kiev, particularly those concerning the redefinition of the normative framework, given the abrogation or cancellation of certain laws passed in the previous period.
Given that on 23 February 2014 the Parliament of Ukraine abrogated the Law of Ukraine concerning the principles of state policy in the linguistic field, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses profound concern over a possible deterioration of the protection system for the rights of persons belonging to national minorities.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers that, in order to remain anchored to its European track, Ukraine must maintain the level of protection for the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, including the linguistic rights acquired as an effect of the law adopted in 2012 and cancelled yesterday, 23 February 2014, by the authorities in Kiev. Moreover, this system must be consolidated with systematic and efficient implementation measures, which has not happened in the past.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminds that, at the time it was adopted, the Law of Ukraine concerning the principles of state policy in the linguistic field was the object of a number of observations and improvement suggestions made by the OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, which adopted two opinions regarding that law. To note, moreover, that at that time, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs criticized the text of the law as it mentioned, among the minority languages within its purview, the so-called “Moldovan” language, and proved the inadequacy of that provision.
Concurrently, we have taken note of the motivation underlying the abrogation of the said law, that is, the fact that the law allegedly had been adopted in disregard of Ukraine’s Constitution and of the European Charter of Regional or Minority Languages. Moreover we have taken note of the statements of Ukrainian officials to the effect that a new normative act in this field would be drafted, in consultation with the national minorities in Ukraine.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expects the authorities in Kiev to undertake demarches as soon as possible to draft and adopt a new, comprehensive regulation on this matter, which should take into account the provisions of international conventions Ukraine is a party to, notably the provisions of the European Charter of Regional or Minority Languages and of the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities, and correct the deficiencies noticed before. A legislative vacuum should not be allowed to persist, and so much the less should a setback be allowed, leading to a return to unfavourable previous legislation in a field of crucial importance for Ukraine’s statehood and territorial integrity, as well as for its progress on the pro-European path.
The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers that only this way can Ukraine meet the interests and expectations of minorities in its territory, including the Romanian minority, as well as the international obligations assumed as a party to international conventions on protection of the fundamental rights, including those of persons belonging to national minorities.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminds, in this context, of its full support for the European aspirations and goals of the neighbouring state, Ukraine, and of the Ukrainian people. At the same time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs underscores that these can only be attained based on observance of the political criteria, including, which is very important, insurance of adequate protection, in every respect, of the rights of national minorities. Preserving the Romanian identity in Ukraine is part of the ensemble of such responsibilities. In this respect, we will keep watching most carefully the situation of Romanian ethnics in Ukraine as well as the way their rights are respected and promoted.
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