Minister of Foreign Affairs Cioroianu thinks of deportations to the Egyptian desert
Related Case Studies
In 2007, against the background of the situation of Romanian Roma in Italy, who were being the target of a media campaign, starting from the presumed rape and murder of an Italian woman by a Romanian man of Roma ethnicity (which also ignited fierce debates in Romania), the Conservative Party in Romania proposed that people who commit such crimes should not be allowed to leave the country. Asked what he thought of the Conservative’s proposal, Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, Adrian Cioroianu, declared: ‘Please believe me. I have also been thinking for days what the situation could be. I tell you openly that this does not seem to be the best solution to me, to not allow them to leave (…). This should be, how should I put it, the easiest punishment. These people who, (…) commit such crimes, these people must not be sent to a prison cell regime, with a TV, and with (…) they should be put to the harshest labour and formed probably those disciplinary battalions (...) I was thinking that maybe we could buy some land in that Egyptian desert, to put there those who….such people make a fool of us’
In a letter to Prime Minister at the time Calin Popescu Tariceanu, Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels expressed astonishment that the PM was still accompanied by Mr. Cioroianu in a visit to Italy and asked the PM to dismiss Mr Cioroianu. Dr Samuels explained to Mr Tariceanu: “Mr Prime Minister, such a concept is redolent of the early Nazi plan to deport the Jews to the island of Madagascar, turning it into a massive reservation/ concentration camp. Indeed, such a statement was the seed from which gestated the Holocaust in which millions of Jews and Roma perished – including those on the soil of Romania (…)Your silence would passively endorse racism and the violation of Romania's commitments to its membership in the European Union, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)”
Later on, the Minister apparently apologised saying, according to media accounts, that he was surprised himself by what he had said.
The National Council for Combating Discrimination (NCCD) issued in 2007 a press statement expressing concern over the events in Italy and also the political speech which could lead to discriminatory acts. They also publicly condemned Mr Cioroianu’s declarations considering that these declarations created a degrading, humiliating and offensive atmosphere at the address of some communities. As far as we are aware however, although the NCCD characterized the assertions of Mr Cioroianu in the language from the Anti-discrimination Law which describes discrimination acts, there was no sanctioning of Mr Cioroianu by the NCCD.
1. Conservative Party Website, Interdictions for criminals to leave the country. The Proposal of the Conservative party might be discussed under an emergency procedure in the Parliament, 10.11.2007, available at: http://www.partidulconservator.ro/2007/11/interdictie-pentru-infractori-de-a-iesi-din-tara-propunerea-pc-ar-putea-fi-discutata-in-procedura-de-urgenta-in-parlament/ (Date of access: 29.02.2012)
2. ‘Stirea zilei’ - moderator Gabriela Vranceanu Firea, on Antena3, 02.11.2007, phone intervention of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Adrian Cioroianu.
3. Simon Wiesenthal Centre Europe, Wiesenthal Centre to Romanian President: Dismiss Foreign Minister for Proposal to Deport Roma to Egyptian Desert Reservation, Paris, 9 November 2007, available at: http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/s/content.asp?c=lsKWLbPJLnF&b=4442915&ct=5851135 (Date of access: 16.03.2012)
4. Mediafax, ‘Cioroianu surprised by his own statements’ 05.11.2007, available at: http://www.mediafax.ro/politic/cioroianu-surprins-de-propriile-declaratii-1026123 (Date of access: 29.02.2012)
5. NCCD Press release, 06.11.2007, available at : http://www.cncd.org.ro/noutati/Comunicate-de-presa/Comunicat-de-presa-49/ ( Date of access: 29.02.2012)