Hate crimes agains Hungarian minorities in Ukraine

The National Alliance of Hungarians in Canada (NAHC) is greatly concerned and strongly condemns the increasing rate of hate-filled ethnic attacks against Hungarians in Ukraine and the organizations that represent Hungarian minorities in the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine.

Recent Molotov cocktail and timed petrol bomb attacks against the Transcarpathian Hungarian Cultural Association (KMKSZ) in Ungvar (Uzhgorod) is a direct threat to Ukrainian Hungarians who yearn to protect their culture, practice their language and customs, and live peacefully in Ukraine. These attacks are a calling to all organizations, including the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Union (EU), to step up their monitoring efforts in Ukraine and to pressure the Ukrainian government to comply with their European and international obligations as it pertains to protecting national minorities.

NAHC welcomes the arrest and detention of three individuals believed to be the perpetrators of the February 4 th attack and the two suspects apprehended for the February 27 th attack, and implore Ukrainian authorities to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation and bring those responsible to justice. Justice however must be accompanied by more stringent protection for Hungarian communities and organizations.

In addition to the violent manifestations of anti-Hungarian propaganda and actions against Hungarian minorities, the Ukrainian government continues to promote a national law on education that openly discriminates against national minorities and jeopardizes the linguistic and cultural rights of Hungarians in Ukraine. A recent letter on February 1, 2018 by the Ukrainian Minister of Education, L.M. Hrinevics, to all schools and educational administrators, attempted to allay any fears by confirming that subjects can be taught in two or more languages based on agreed-upon school curriculums. This however was followed by an affirmation that all teaching staff are required to use and teach in the official state language which, in turn, negates the right to teach in the language of the national minority. This move by the Ukrainian government further limits the use of minority language and is above and beyond even what the law on education stipulates. This alarming action must be brought to the attention of European and international organizations and addressed.

Considering these developments, NAHC supports the actions of the Hungarian government to question Ukraine’s European integration efforts until proper measures are taken to ensure the rights of Hungarian and other national minorities in Ukraine.

The National Alliance of Hungarians in Canada will not remain silent as long as Hungarian minorities anywhere are under threat or face institutional discrimination or intimidation that impedes their right to practice their language, culture and traditions.