Declaration of the Cultural Alliance of Hungarians in Sub-Carpathia October 13, 2018
The Cultural Alliance of Hungarians in Sub-Carpathia expresses its outrage and condemnation of the campaign of artificially fomented anti-Hungarian sentiment. In recent weeks, as a result of this campaign of intimidation, members of the Hungarian minority fear for their very existence in their native land.
It is deeply shocking that Ukrainian authorities stood by passively, even after the extremist Ukrainian website Mirotvorets published a list of ethnic Hungarians in Sub-Carpathia together with their personal data. It is the responsibility of the Ukrainian government to guarantee the safety of its citizens. Unfortunately, authorities have yet to take any action whatsoever to have the personal data of these Ukrainian citizens removed from the website. It is our conviction that a state which is based on the rule of law and aspires to membership in the European Union cannot countenance, and cannot fail to penalize, the continued operation and functioning of extremist nationalist organizations and websites which hold that the “solution” to the situation of an ethnic minority – whose members are Ukrainian citizens – is to publish a list of names and call for their physical liquidation. We demand that those responsible be apprehended and prevented from continuing their activities targeting minorities.
Moreover, we are at a loss to understand how the website of the Ukrainian Parliament could publish an unconstitutional petition – styled as a citizen initiative – which collects signatures in support of the collective „deportation, expulsion” of nationals holding dual Ukrainian and Hungarian citizenship. Article 25 of the Constitution of Ukraine states that „A citizen of Ukraine shall not be deprived of citizenship and of the right to change citizenship. A citizen of Ukraine shall not be expelled from Ukraine or extradited to another state”. In accordance with the Constitution, then, we demand that the collection of signatures be stopped, and its organizers be called to account for inciting ethnic hatred.
We firmly believe that Ukrainian citizens who also hold citizenship in an EU country represent a significant resource for Ukraine as it seeks closer ties with European organizations and to strengthen the country’s European integration. It is also evident that a resolution of the issue of citizenship is of crucial importance. We are confident that in the near future our legislators will succeed in creating effective, constitutionally sound and widely beneficial regulations on this important issue, which affects a significant part of the population.
We regret that Ukraine’s political leadership, on the brink of upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections, is seeking political capital by generating ethnic tensions between Ukrainians and Hungarians.
We strongly protest against the recent laws passed by Parliament. The Law on Education, adopted in 2017 and still unsettled, and the Law on Language adopted in first reading in 2018, make impossible the survival of Ukraine’s national minority communities.
Every person has a basic right to native language education. Yet as members of an ethnic minority living in Ukraine, we must fight to practice our fundamental human rights. The submitted and adopted laws on education and language are unconstitutional: they violate, inter alia, Section 5 of Article 53 of the Constitution of Ukraine, according to which „Citizens who belong to national minorities are guaranteed the right to receive instruction in their native language, or to study their native language in state and communal educational establishments…” Furthermore, the laws violate several international agreements. It need hardly be added that a country seeking closer ties with the European Union ought to start off not by restricting minority rights, but rather by demonstrating that it adheres to European values, protects the interests of its people, and guarantees the rights needed for them to live in peace and contentment.
As citizens of Ukraine, we demand that our political leadership refrain from restricting the rights of national minorities to use their native language, and that it pass legislation which is in accordance with the Constitution. Ukraine’s Declaration on the rights of national minorities declares that in regions inhabited by a high concentration of national minorities, their languages may be used at the same level as the official state language. According to the Constitution, „Constitutional rights and freedoms are guaranteed and shall not be abolished. The content and scope of existing rights and freedoms shall not be diminished in the adoption of new laws or in the amendment of laws that are in force”.
We are greatly alarmed by the deterioration in Hungarian-Ukrainian diplomatic relations. We would like to remind Ukraine’s leadership that over the past 20 years, Hungary has always offered a helping hand to Ukraine, assisting our country to strengthen its independence, sovereignty and integration to the community of European states.
We call upon all persons in responsible positions to take effective action to ensure that the current situation be settled as soon as possible, in the interest of peaceful co-existence, cooperation, and the restoration of good-neighborly relations.