Government announces they would not submit the nomination file for including Roșia Montană in the UNESCO World heritage List in Paris. In the latest press release the Government spokesman mentioned the international arbitration as the main reason for the Government not undertaking this submission.
In terms of declarations the current Prime Minister Dacian Cioloș has repeatedly affirmed the need for international recognition of the universal value of Roșia Montană site. He declared he would undertake all the necessary steps in this line and thus created a legitimate expectation of the public opinion for a healthy development of Apuseni Mountains. Although the proposal file was completed at the end of December, only a few days before the end of his mandate, Prime Minister Dacian Cioloș has diametrically changed his position, placing mining industry's interests above the public interest.
The international arbitration initiated by Gabriel Resources against Romania was used by the mining industry to determine the current decision. According to the legal analysis by Laurens Ankersmit, EU Trade & Environmental Lawyer at ClientEarth, “the process of including Roșia Montană in the World Heritage List cannot be blocked as a result of the claims made by Gabriel Resources in the international arbitration case against the Romanian State. The bilateral investment treaties signed by Romania with the United Kingdom and Canada do not grant investors such rights.”
As a sovereign state, Romania is fully entitled by such treaties to adopt reasonable, predictable and non-discriminatory measures for the public interest, such as the nomination of Roșia Montană for UNESCO. Unquestionable scientific evidence certifies that Roșia Montană hosts the most complex and extended network of Roman mining galleries ever studied. Therefore its nomination is a fully justified governmental measure and is required for the protection of a higher public interest.
“The nomination file for Roșia Montană in UNESCO is not a response of the Romanian State to the arbitration process initiated by Gabriel Resources or a repressive measure taken by the Romanian State against the investment project of Gabriel Resources company. The Gabriel Resources project has long been buried in its own illegalities and flaws and it is not as if it faced one last barrier to its materialisation. The decision to include Roșia Montană in the World Heritage List is not taken unilaterally by the proposing state, but will be taken by the rightful bodies of UNESCO based strictly on the World Heritage Convention. Therefore invoking the fact that submitting the nomination file would endanger the Romanian State's position in the arbitration process not only has no legal grounds, but is also a perfidious mechanism to avoid accountability and a defiance to the efforts of dozens of specialists and thousands of citizens who asked for this governmental commitment by petitions and in the street", said Ștefania Simion, legal coordinator of Alburnus Maior.
“For all of us who believe in Roșia Montană, for all of us who fought for more than fifteen years for saving it, the mandate of Dacian Cioloș will remain a sad memory - a PM who breached his word, ignored the expertise of specialists and gave in to corporative lobby. If this government was successfully blackmailed by the industry, what comes next with the international arbitration will be even more dreadful. The fight is anyway won at Roșia Montană by us, the local people who keep the mountains in place,” said Eugen David, president of Alburnus Maior, the local association in Rosia Montana.
Roşia Montană's historic site, is part of humanity's most important heritages. “The Roman mines at Roşia Montană are the most extensive and most important underground Roman mines known worldwide”, shows a study made by experts from Oxford and Leicester university. Also known as the Roman site of ‘Alburnus Maior’ Rosia Montana’s cultural heritage has been important for a long time as gold mining has taken place since at least Roman times. The Romans stayed for a short time but left a rich heritage, ranging from trapezoid-shaped mine shafts and underground worlds to cemeteries and fortifications above the ground. Since then Rosia Montana has been continuously mined for gold/silver and therefore houses a unique landscape embracing all epochs since antiquity.
”Statement of Significance. Cârnic Massif, Roşia Montană, jud Alba România” - http://goo.gl/mJw1zA
Professor Andrew Wilson (University of Oxford, Institute of Archaeology), // Prof. David Mattingly (University of Leicester, School of Archaeology and Ancient History) // Michael Dawson FSA MIfA, Director of CgMs Consultancy Ltd.
Foto credit: Edmond D. Kreibik