Fund Raising for a Mini Bus – 2018

fotoIn 2017 the National Alliance of Hungarians in Canada launched a campaign that raised $7,550.00 to purchase the mini-bus seen above for use in transporting children to Hungarian language schools in isolated Hungarian communities in Transylvania.

Since more vehicles are needed to transport children to Hungarian schools, the NAHC has organized this campaign again between June 4 and October 23 to raise funds for yet another vehicle.

Donations can be made by:

  • direct transfer to the NAHC bank account: 34096-004-3409-5011541
  • cheque mailed to NAHC, 100 Glouchester Street, Suite 352, Ottawa, ON K2P 0A4. Please make it payable to the ”National Alliance of Hungarians in Canada” and specify ”nahcminibus2018” as memo
  • E-mail transfer addressed to the Treasurer of the NAHC at using ”nahcminibus2018” as the password

Help support isolated Hungarian communities maintain their language and culture, together we can achieve more!

kis busz csoportkép

Ukraine’s Continued Discrimination of National Minorities and the Sanction of Dual Citizenship a Worrying Sign of the Degradation of Minority Rights and European Values

The National Alliance of Hungarians in Canada (NAHC) is highly concerned with the degradation of Hungarian and other national minority rights in Ukraine. An untenable situation has developed in Ukraine that jeopardizes individual and minority rights as a result of aggressive and discriminatory action taken by the Ukrainian government against its own citizens. The NAHC calls on the European Union, NATO, the OECD and other organizations to take note of a true and genuine backsliding of democratic and human rights in Ukraine and to take immediate action to defend the rights of all national minorities.

The NAHC has voiced its concern before when Ukraine enacted an Education Law last year which targeted Hungarian and other national minorities by restricting their use and access to education in their native or ethnic language. This move by Ukraine stands in direct violation of European values and should be considered in light of Ukraine’s desire to join the EU and other western alliances. Debate over the new Education Law, and amendments to this restrictive Act, have only exacerbated the desire of the Ukrainian government to make the Education Law even more restrictive than it already is. For example, the current ratio of ethnic speakers of ten percent or higher in a given region are permitted to have access to education in their ethnic language. Talk of raising this requirement to thirty-three percent would be a death knell to the vibrant Hungarian community in Transcarpathia who strive to protect their language, culture, and traditions against oppressive schemes like this.

Most recently, the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has instructed Parliament to consider stripping citizenship from those who carry dual citizenship and vote in elections outside the Ukraine. This again specifically targets Hungarians who, after almost a century of discrimination and oppression, have acquired Hungarian citizenship in order to maintain their link to Hungary, their families, and their ethnic kin. The NAHC calls on the international community to increase pressure on the Ukrainian government to bring their laws and their practices in line with European and international obligations.

More worrying has been the military buildup in Transcarpathia. Ukraine has decided to deploy 800-1000 military personnel to within ten kilometres of the Hungarian border. The redeployment of military to an old base near Beregovo (Beregszász) is an open and blatant aggression toward Hungary and the Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia. Hungarians pose no national threat to Ukraine or its territorial integrity. To suggest otherwise is representative of a paranoid state targeting its own citizens. The NAHC finds this military move alarming, and hopes for the easement of the tension at Beregovo (Beregszász).

It is tragic that in Twenty-First Century Europe we are faced with the obligation of bringing awareness to continued acts of discrimination and injustice perpetrated toward proud, peaceful, law abiding national minorities. The Ukraine can have a proud place in Europe if it respects the rights of its own people. The NAHC and other organizations will support, protect, and advocate for Hungarian and all ethnic minorities in Europe.

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.

Protest against Ukraine’s education law

On September 5, 2017 the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada) passed an education bill that will prove to be detrimental to Hungarian and other minority communities and their ethnic languages. The new bill stipulates that Ukrainian should be the official language of instruction from grade five onwards, limiting access to education taught in the Hungarian language for kindergarten and primary school students and making Ukrainian the sole language of secondary and higher education. The law will greatly curtail linguistic rights and must be closely followed to determine if it violates Ukrainian constitutional law and European values. Hungarian Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto noted that Ukraine has “stabbed Hungary in the back” with the new law.

The National Alliance of Hungarians in Canada, NAHC (Kanadai Magyarok Országos Szövetsége, KMOSz), officially submits its protest to the new education law and vows to bring further attention to the discriminatory nature of the law and its harmful regulation against the Hungarian language and those of Ukraine’s other minorities. The survival of Hungarian linguistic and cultural heritage and identity in the Ukraine depends on its ability to use and learn its ethnic language as a means to protect and preserve more than a millennium of Hungarian heritage in Transcarpathia. We call on all organizations to demand that the President of Ukraine send this bill back to parliament for review, and that ethnic minorities in Ukraine be allowed fair input to determine educational reform that befits Ukraine’s European integration.

Ukraine’s new education law further restricts the Hungarian language by regulating the use of the Hungarian language in school from grade five onwards, where only two subjects may be taught in a minority language of the European Union (of which Hungarian is a part). Similarly, there are Hungarian language schools and colleges in Transcarpathia which remain a vital component of Hungarian minority education in Ukraine. The NAHC/KMOSz fears for the future of Ferenc Rákóczi II Sub-Carpathian Hungarian College and the Uzhgorod National University both of which currently instruct in the Hungarian language. We understand that Ukrainian must undoubtedly remain the official language of Ukraine, but almost 20 percent of Ukraine is comprised of ethnic minorities. Their culture must be defended and protected equitably.

Some in the media and among opposition parties in Hungary have shamelessly labeled Hungary’s call for the protection of minority rights for Hungarian minorities in Ukraine as mere nationalism. However, the only culprit responsible for stoking the cauldron of nationalism are those nations that continue to refuse their ethnic minorities the rights and protection guaranteed by both national and European laws and convention. Ukraine has despairingly abandoned its promise to further European integration. If Hungary is not allowed to stand up for its ethnic kin in neighbouring states without rebuke then the whole mechanism for which the protection of minority rights in Europe exists must be called into question. Hungary has witnessed almost a century of ethnic cleansing, discrimination, and assimilation of its ethnic kin in neighbouring states without the voice or means to affect change. It is within Hungary’s right – indeed obligation – to defend the rights of Hungarian minorities and for organizations around the world to raise their concerns to such a discriminatory Ukrainian law.

Hungary has taken every diplomatic effort, including blocking membership to international organizations and turning to the United Nations, to affect change in Ukraine and other neighbouring states who have ignominious records of minority rights protection. It is both ironic and hypocritical that Romania for example has aggressively lambasted the new Ukrainian education law when in fact Romania has denied on numerous occasions those same rights to the sizable Hungarian minority in Transylvania. Further, it is unfortunate that Hungarian minorities in Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, and to a lesser extent in Croatia and Slovenia, must face continuous efforts by national governments to suppress the rights of Hungarian minorities.

A local Transcarpathian politician Andrea Bocskor noted:

“The anti-minority measures of the educational reform are highly disappointing, because Ukraine had already pledged its commitment towards European integration several times. It is impossible to foster the learning of the state language with coercive methods.

Appropriate means, motivation and good examples are the better approach. The forced integration of Ukrainian minorities is a sign of a policy of open assimilation. Adopting this legislation reflects Ukraine’s true standpoint on European integration, European values and the rule of law.”

The Reformed Youth Organisation of Transcarpathia (KRISZ) also:

“Noticed with consternation and was shocked about the decision of the Ukrainian Parliament adopting a law on education which restricts the basic rights of minorities of the country regarding the use of their mother-tongue, including Hungarians, and contradicts European democratic principles.”

The National Alliance of Hungarians in Canada (Kanadai Magyarok Országos Szövetsége) pledges its continued solidarity with the Hungarian minorities in the Ukraine and calls on all international organizations, the European Union, national governments, and concerned citizens to demand that the destructive nature of the new Ukrainian educational law to minority languages and cultural identity goes against the fabric of a democratic and multi-ethnic Ukraine.

Greetings from Budapest

The Petőfi Sándor and the Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Program of the year 2016-2017 is coming to an end. The students of the programs are returning home and new students will replace them in their role to support the Hungarian community living in diaspora around the world. Members of these two programs send their greeting with this shot flash-mob video…