Report submitted by the Hungarian community of Ukraine
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.”
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.