Location Hungary Hungary

Hungarian community of Ukraine fights for national rights

Attempts by official Kiev to forcibly “ukrainize” the national minorities of Ukraine met with resistance from the Hungarian community of Transcarpathia. The Diaspora experienced a special anxiety due to the draft laws submitted to the Parliament of Ukraine on the restriction of the use of minority languages in the public sphere. So deputies of the Beregovo Regional Council of the VII Convocation of the Transcarpathian region appealed to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko with the demand to prevent Parliament’s adoption of the draft law restricting the rights of national minorities. “The restriction of linguistic rights is a violation of articles 10 and 53 of the Constitution of Ukraine and international commitments such as the Declaration of Principles of Cooperation between the Ukrainian SSR and Hungary,” the deputies said in their appeal.

 Thus, in the opinion of the deputies, the basis of contractual relations between Kiev and the Hungarian community would be broken. “This project in fact displaces the Hungarian language, for example, from elementary schools, which is unacceptable for the Beregovo district, where 76 percent of the inhabitants are Hungarians. Other initiatives will lead to the use of the Hungarian language being reduced to the point that it will only remain on paper,” said Beregovo Regional Council Deputy Fedor Dulu.

Dulu’s opinion was supported by Deputy of the Zakarpattia Oblast Council and leader of the Party of Hungarians of Ukraine (KMKS) Joseph Side, who said: “We believe that the Hungarians on the territory of Ukraine already have autonomy, we just don’t call it that. We have our own schools, kindergartens and higher educational institutions. We can use our native language, and the current law of Ukraine allows us these rights that we want to have. But there are some political forces that violate the Constitution and the Treaty which Ukraine signed and, disregarding the interests of national minorities of Ukraine, want to restrict the rights that we have today.”
Poroshenko announced that the decentralization reform was in reality not effective. “Now the local governments are poor as church mice, so they can’t fully develop. We in the regional council have to allocate funds from the development fund to the local authorities of Beregovo, because there is no money even for wages. Because the funds continue to be concentrated in the center, they make the local government financially insolvent,” said the head of the Beregovo District Council Joseph Shin. Otto Vash, deputy of the Beregovo District Council of the IV Convocation, supported his colleague and cited the experience of his native Hungary: “In this situation specific villages and districts lose, because they simply do not have the means to finance their spending. In Hungary, for example, minorities can create their own institutions. In Komlo, for example, there is a Ukrainian community. And thus they can solve their problems: cultural, economic and the like. And they get help from the state, so they can develop their capabilities that way.”
It is worth noting that in the places where the Hungarian community resides, the Hungarian language is the main language of communication today. In Beregovo, street names, signs and ads printed are in the Hungarian language. In addition, the Hungarian flag flies over the administration buildings and schools. And recently, at the boundaries of the districts densely populated by ethnic Hungarians, commemorative stella appeared, on which residents and guests are welcomed in the Hungarian language. Thus “informally,” the local community supported the words of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban about the fact that foreign Hungarians have the right to dual citizenship and autonomy.
The head of the Democratic Union of Hungarians of Ukraine, Mykhailo Tovt, supports such efforts to defend the rights of national minorities and believes that the situation of ensuring the rights of national minorities in Ukraine has worsened in recent years. “Therefore we must assert our right to our language, our monuments and our national-cultural autonomy,” said the leader of the Hungarian community in Ukraine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *