Tag Archives: national minorities

Hungary steps up pressure on Ukraine over new education law

By The Associated Press

Hungary will ask the European Union to revise its association agreement with Ukraine, claiming the country’s new language law limits the rights of minorities, the Hungarian foreign minister said Tuesday.

Ukraine | Ukraine’s New Education Law Undermines Minorities’ Rights – PACE Resolution

 

On Thursday, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution on the new Ukrainian law on education. This controversial law has already attracted harsh criticism from Ukraine’s neighboring states.

Ukraine | Discrimination of national minorities in Ukraine

September 28 a new law on education came into force in Ukraine. The law introduces an actual ban on education in any language other than Ukrainian. Since 2018, classes with the teaching of subjects in the languages ​​of national minorities will remain only in the junior school. Since the 5th grade, the teaching of subjects in the languages ​​of national minorities will have been almost completely eliminated. Since 2020, education in Ukraine will become fully Ukrainian-speaking. The national minorities will be allowed teaching only individual subjects in native languages.
The law reduces the number of subjects required for study from 22 to 9. Integration courses “nature and man”, “man and the world” will be created instead of physics, chemistry, biology, geography and astronomy. Languages ​​and literature will merge into the subject of “literature”, and algebra and geometry will return to the general course of mathematics.
The law increases the lack of rights of teachers in relations with the administration. Teachers will be short-term contracted for labor instead of a unlimited labor contract. Directors of schools will be allowed to hold this position for no more than 6 years.
The law allows dramatically reducing the number of schools in rural areas, and shifts the funding of vocational schools to local budgets. This will lead to a mass closure of schools and colleges.
The law infringes the interests of millions of national minorities – Russians, Hungarians, Romanians, Moldovans, Greeks, Poles and Bulgarians. In this connection, the diplomatic representatives of Russia, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece and Moldova condemned the new Ukrainian law on education. The toughest position was taken by Hungary. The Foreign Minister ordered that Hungarian diplomats should not support and even block any Ukrainian initiative in international organizations.
On September 14, the foreign ministers of Bulgaria, Hungary, Greece and Romania signed a warning letter to the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry because of the new law on education. They hoped that the president of Ukraine would veto this law. However, Petro Poroshenko signed it.
The US was the only country where the law was perceived positively. The United States Embassy in Ukraine responded to the adoption of the new law on education by tweeting: “Congrats to Ukraine on moving forward w education reform–investing in youth Key 4 future.”

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.

Poland | Polish Left Are Interested How Russians Live In Ukraine

On April 20, 2017, an international round table was held in Warsaw on the theme: “Ukraine – Three Years After Maidan. PATHOS OF DESTRUCTION.” Public event was organized by various Polish left activists. It brought together scientists, human rights activists, political and trade union leaders of Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Syria. The round table attracted interest of representatives of Polish scientific and political circles who made up the audience of the event and who actively participated in the discussion of all submitted papers. They were interested not only in ordinary life in the country of victorious coup d’état but were also occupied with problems of language minorities. Polish public opinion knows very well how ethnic Poles live in Ukraine, so they invited guests who can describe situation with Russians and Trancarpathian minorities.