Misinformation visit to Rosia Montana: the Minister of Culture and the UNESCO commission refused dialog with the opponents to the mining project!
20. August 2013 - Today, August the 20th, Rosia Montana received a so-called 'information visit' from the Minister of Culture, Daniel Barbu and the Senate and Chamber of Deputy's Common Permanent Commission for the Relationship with UNESCO. This visit took place – from the moment the invitations were sent to the civil society organizations and up to the time the Commission left Rosia Montana - under the explicit patronage of the mining company. Although its purpose was to gather information and to evaluate the project on the site regarding risks for cultural heritage, this visit was not announced to the professional organizations which actually prepared the documentation and formal request for including Rosia Montana on the World Heritage List. These requests were communicated to the Ministry in 2009 already and they were again brought to attention of the officials on the occasion of this visit.
Although representatives of the Commission said that the whole trip was exclusively organized by the authorities, we need to bring into light the following grave facts:
The meetings took place in spaces owned by the mining company, in the building of the old town hall - a reason for which Alburnus Maior invited the members of the Commission to come to the association's headquarters in order to have an equal dialogue.
Both the representatives of local authorities and the members of the Parliament's Commission were transported in cars offered by the mining company.
The mining firm organized a manifestation in the center of the town - one to which participants were brought by bus (even in buses designed for the transport of school pupils) from several localities.
The visiting itinerary for Rosia Montana's monuments only comprised objectives owned by Gold Corporation. The houses restored through the continuous effort of NGOs and volunteers were carefully avoided. Even more: the access to one of these buildings - the Unitarian priest's house, was blocked by the mining company's employees, so that no member of the Commission can accept the invitation to enter.
Throughout the visit, journalists and simple citizens who were filming the events and asking questions unwanted by the mining company were aggressed, hit and sworn at by people wearing RMGC uniforms.
It was the mining firm who insured security for the members of the Commission, the minister and the building in which the discussions took place. The Gendarmerie only used 4 people to control the miners‘ manifestation, but sent 8 persons to Alburnus Maior's headquarters, in order to supervise the locals who were waiting for the Commission's visit.
On all the trajectory of the visit only the vehicles of the mining company were allowed to circulate; the access was blocked for anybody else.
The Alburnus Maior Association invited the Parliament's Commission to come to the headquarters of the association in order to also discuss with locals who oppose the destruction of heritage - so that the hostile environment created by the mining company's employees at its headquarters could be avoided. But the Commission sent their representative to negotiate with the locals their taking part in the debates. Ionut Munteanu, adviser of the Commission, who also used a car provided by the mining company, admitted to the members of Alburnus Maior that the members of the Commission actually did not want to talk to the mining project's opponents (see video).
"We, in Rosia Montana, are fed up with seeing the authorities behaving like departments of the mining company. We've watched today the same type of tourism which was offered by the company to journalists taken to New Zealand a few years ago. From Rosia Montana to Bucharest, all of Romania is under RMGC's siege. But there is one thing that the representatives of the authorities, the company and the press all forget, and this is that we were not joking when we said that the revolution starts in Rosia Montana" - Eugen David, president of Alburnus Maior, said.
"It was disgusting to see how the representatives of a Parliament Commission, in charge of the fate of heritage, which maintained in the past a totally different position from the present one, now have set themselves at the disposal of the mining company. They preferred visiting the place by jeep, under the strict protection of miners, instead of directly meeting with the young people who have been volunteering for weeks in the restoration of old Rosia houses. Unlike the members of the Commission, each and every volunteer enjoys our full respect for their contribution to the salvation of Rosia Montana's heritage" - Claudia Apostol, architect, a member of the ARA Association.