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The United Nations should ensure protection to the identity of national minorities, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in New York at a conference on the Declaration of Minority Rights at the United Nations General Assembly. Protecting national identity should be recognised as a fundamental human right at the international level, he said. A statement from the foreign ministry quoted Szijjártó as saying that protection for ethnic minority rights was a central component of Hungary’s foreign policy, for which the government was ready to “fight” in international forums. Noting that one third of the Hungarian nation lived in communities outside Hungary, Szijjártó said “the principle of reciprocity should apply in this field”, and he called for the rights of ethnic Hungarians to be fully respected “in the same way Hungary treats ethnic minorities living in the country”.
Ensuring the rights of ethnic minorities is an international rather than a national responsibility, Szijjártó said, calling for international guarantees that minorities may preserve their identity. He noted that national identity did not always coincide with citizenship, adding that those belonging to ethnic minorities should “always be considered constituents of the society they live in”.