Hungarian Flags, Inscriptions and Heads of Institutions Removed in Mukachevo Region, Ukraine

The party representing the 150,000-strong Hungarian minority in Ukraine has protested official action against the display of minority symbols and Hungarian-language inscriptions, all protected by law.

In Mukachevo (Munkács) and some villages of the surrounding sub-region, where the majority of the population is ethnic Hungarian, national flags and signs in Hungarian were removed from public institutions. Well-respected heads of several Hungarian institutions were also dismissed. The actions appear to be locally driven.

Beginning January 13, the leaders of local institutions in and around Mukachevo were instructed to remove the Hungarian national flag and Hungarian inscriptions from the buildings of their institutions. In at least one case, the Mukachevo municipal police carried out the act without force.

Furthermore, on January 17, István Schink, the 17-year veteran director of the II. Hungarian language Ferenc Rákóczi Secondary School in Mukachevo, and Valéria Korolovics, head of the Cultural Center of Dercen for 18 years, were both dismissed from their positions without cause.

Mindful that these acts can show Ukraine in a negative light, on January 26, representatives of the Hungarian minority addressed their concerns to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at a meeting in the Transcarpathian County Council. József Barta, executive vice-president of the Cultural Alliance of Hungarians in Sub-Carpathia (KMKSZ), said in his speech that the Hungarian national symbols were removed without consultation with the Hungarian community, and without approval by representatives of the Munkachevo Regional Council.

Previously, on January 24, the leadership of KMKSZ had issued a statement protesting these actions which come upon the heels of consternation caused by the removal of a significant Hungarian symbol, the Turul statue, from Mukachevo castle.

Statement by the Cultural Alliance of Hungarians in Sub-Carpathia (KMKSZ)

The Board of the KMKSZ protests against the removal of the heads of Hungarian educational and cultural institutions belonging to the Mukachevo microregion and considers the unjustified dismissal of the director of Mukachevo II. Ferenc Rákóczi Secondary School to be an illegal measure that threatens the quality of Hungarian-language education.

The nationalities law currently in force ensures the free use of the national symbols of minorities, such as the flag. The provisions of the Language Act allow the posting of public signs in minority languages in addition to the state language in settlements inhabited by minorities. Therefore, the Presidency considers the removal of Hungarian flags and inscriptions in the settlements of the Mukachevo micro-region to be an arbitrary move, contrary to the laws in force, and will take official legal action.

Uzhhorod, January 24, 2023

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Hungary and Romania Join Forces in the Council of Europe For Review of the New Ukrainian Law on National Minorities

At a joint Hungarian-Romanian initiative, the monitoring committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (CoE) unanimously decided to ask the CoE’s constitutional advisory body, the Venice Commission, to examine whether the Ukrainian minority protection law is in line with international standards.

Zsolt Németh, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Hungarian Parliament stated that despite Ukraine’s obligations and pronouncement, it did not in fact hold consultations with the Venice Commission or the representatives of the national minorities before adopting the law. “The fundamental condition for Ukraine’s integration into the EU is compliance with international minority protection legislation, which is also required by the Copenhagen criteria for accession,” emphasized Zsolt Németh.



Photo: Kárpá

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