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SZIJJÁRTÓ: HUNGARY CALLS FOR POSTPONING APPLICATION OF UKRAINE ETHNIC MINORITY LAW

 

The Hungarian government has applied to the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities for help in its effort to have a Ukrainian law postponed under which “minority schools in Ukraine would in effect be closed down”, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in the Hague on Tuesday. Following talks with High Commissioner Kairat Abdrakhmanov, the foreign ministry quoted Szijjártó as saying that the Hungarian government had made a decision at the outbreak of the war “not to raise the issue of curbing the rights of Transcarpathia Hungarians before the conflict ends” and “kept to that decision as long as it was possible but the recent, contested law has even worsened the situation of the Hungarian national community”. Ukraine currently has 99 Hungarian primary and secondary schools which would become Ukrainian state schools from September, Szijjártó said, adding that students could no longer take their secondary school final exams or university entrance examinations in their mother tongue, and vocational training in Hungarian would also be terminated. From the 5th grade on, the classes taught in Hungarian would be reduced to 20 percent, and universities would be stripped of their right to select their language of education, Szijjártó said. Szijjártó noted Hungary’s helping Ukrainian refugees opening “1,300 kindergartens and schools” and said “meanwhile in Transcarpathia 100 Hungarian schools are banned from going on as schools teaching children in Hungarian”. “This is obviously unacceptable and shameful … this is a case against which international organisations and the European Union must or should act up,” the minister insisted. The OSCE High Commissioner has always treated the issue with sympathy and has “always been ready to view the matter factually rather than in line with political expectations or ideologies,” Szijjártó said. “He made it clear that the situation was clearly unacceptable and in conflict with international regulations,” Szijjártó added. The Hungarian government continues to stand by ethnic kin in Ukraine, “many of whom have been conscripted and died on the front,” Szijjártó said.