Hungarian minorities need your help

December 22, 2022

Dear Friend and Supporter,


The Hungarian Human Rights Foundation (HHRF) – and the Hungarian minority communities we serve – met this year’s challenges with ingenuity and determination. 


As we marked 46 years of service in 2022, the fate of the Hungarian communities in Ukraine, Romania, and Slovakia dominated the news and our focus of activities. 


The 150,000-strong Hungarian national minority community in Kárpátalja – Transcarpathia, Ukraine is meeting unimaginable hardships with courage and hospitality. Thankfully, the region has not been a battleground or missile target so far, but people live in cold and darkness, energy rationing, and relentless air raid sirens. Since the very beginning of the war, the number of refugees in Transcarpathia from other parts of Ukraine has equaled half the province’s population, about 600,000! See how we’re helping below.



Watch displaced people speak of the support and compassion they have received in a recent clip made by TV21 Ungvár.


Unfortunately, on December 13, the Ukrainian Parliament (Rada) adopted a new, flawed “Law on National Minorities (Communities),” by a vote of 324 out of 450 deputies. A necessary requirement for Ukraine’s ultimate EU and NATO membership, the legislation ignores prior recommendations made by the organizations representing the interests of the Hungarian community. Read the HHRF, and joint statement issued by the Cultural Alliance of Hungarians in Sub-Carpathia (KMKSZ) and the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Ukraine (UMDSZ) here.


Full religious and communal property restitution for the Hungarian community in Romania continuously faces impediments and lack of progress. On a positive note, linguistic rights received a boost in November.


More new outlets are now reporting on the shocking ongoing legalized ethnic discrimination in Slovakia. In October, Politico was the latest to reveal that the infamous Benes Decrees are used to confiscate private property from those of ethnic Hungarian and German ancestry  on grounds that these lands should have been confiscated from their ancestors in the 1940s. Despite our ongoing efforts, the U.S. government continues to ignore this extraordinary human right violation.


We are exceedingly grateful to you, our supporter, who during these extraordinary times has made HHRF’s mission your own, through your engagement, donations and commitment.


Whether through monthly or annual gifts, matching corporate contributions, Facebook fundraisers, or the Amazon Smile giving program – it all matters and it all adds up. Thank you to our donors who are contributing to the success of our organization.



Stay current by following us on Facebook and signing up for HHRF Alerts.


Highlights from HHRF Initiatives in 2022:


Ukraine: Providing Emergency Humanitarian Aid


Medical Unit Donated By Hungarian Human Rights Foundation


HHRF partnered with the Hungarian American Coalition (HAC) and Carpathian Foundation to purchase and deliver a mobile medical pediatric unit to Odessa Memorial Hospital,which arrived there August 3rd. The mobile medical pediatric unit consists of two 20-foot foldable, fully equipped containers (CN20) constructed by Continest Technologies, a Hungarian company that develops container solutions for short-term use. The arrival and placement of the two containers was coordinated by the Ukrainian army. Read more here…


Relief Aid to Refugees in Bordering Towns


Beginning in February, a wave of refugees seeking for aid and shelter arrived in the Transcarpathian region. To help the towns sustain and shelter the refugees, HHRF worked together with other organizations and was able to disburse over $20,000 of humanitarian assistance to four organizations working on the ground at the Ukrainian-Hungarian border: Hungarian Maltese Charity Service, Hungarian Interchurch Aid, local governments in Hungary along the border, and the Carpathian Foundation with an office in Ungvár/Uzhhorod, Ukraine.  Read more…

Response to New York Times Article on Hungarians in Ukraine
Response to the June 16, 2022 article entitled “In Ukraine, a Minority Group Feels Ambivalence About the War”

HHRF president Zsolt Szekeres submitted a response to the New York Times article above. Read the letter here


Advocacy in Washington, DC


Keynote Speaker from Beregszász, Kárpátalja (Berehove, Transcarpathia), Ukraine 

Dr. Váradi of Beregszász, Kárpátalja (Berehove, Transcarpathia), Ukraine made a special trip to Washington to inform, first-hand, a gathering at the Kossuth House about current realities in the country. Providing an excellent overview of the Hungarian community’s recent history, Dr. Váradi detailed the precipitous decline in minority rights the community has faced since 2015. 


Human Rights Workshop* on Hungarian Minorities 


The Foundation held the Hungarian Human Rights Advocacy Workshop on November 30 at the Kossuth House in Washington, DC. The diverse group had the opportunity to visit Congress to meet with Congressional staffers, and discuss the current issues facing Hungarian minorities in Romania and Slovakia.



On August 4, Reconnect Hungary – Hungarian Birthright Program participants took part in an all-day human rights workshop in Budapest on the campus of the National University of Public Service. A feature of the birthright trip for the second year now, previously HHRF co-organized many similar workshops in various U.S. cities between 1989 and 2005. Read about it here…


Member of the European Parliament Loránt Vincze and HHRF Hold Meetings

On Monday, May 23, Emese Latkóczy and Petra Kovács of the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation met with EP MEP Loránt Vincze of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania in Washington D.C., leading meetings with Congressional and State Department staff, focusing on the failure to restitute religious properties to the Hungarian community in Romania, as well as the current discriminationagainst ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia via the Benes decrees.  Read more…


Stepping into the Second Decade


Reconnect Hungary Hungarian Birthright Program – Deepening Cultural Identity This year the Reconnect Hungary Birthright Program sent a large group of young adults of Hungarian background on their cultural immersion journey. The experience encompassed cultural attractions and excursions throughout Budapest, to Eger, and to Lake Balaton. It included educational lectures, meetings with business leaders, and visits to government offices. Next year’s trip is happening from July 14-July 28th, 2023! Applications are open until March 10th.


In September of this year, following the Birthright trip, Reconnect Hungary held a successful Fall Harvest Feast at the Hungarian Consulate in New York, celebrating Reconnect Hungary’s 10th Anniversary.

We hope you’ve been getting the Reconnect Hungary Newsletter for everyone interested in our program, or the Reconnect Reporter, our monthly correspondence with alumni. All newsletters are available on our website, or sign up to get them delivered to your inbox.


Have an Impact on the Future


Two opportunities to support youth minority internships

We are looking to the future and expanding scholarship opportunities, which are integral to HHRF’s mission to preserve and deepen Hungarian identity across the globe. 

This year’s Reconnect Transylvania+ Scholarship recipient is Marcus Kinney. Marcus is a second generation Hungarian-American, studying literature and philosophy. He grew up in Saudi Arabia before moving to the US as a child. His goals are learning about the Hungarian literary scene in Transylvania and improving his Hungarian.


The cost of an entire scholarship is only $6,000. Will you help make it happen for the next eager, deserving young Hungarian-American?


In 2022, we re-launched the HHRF Internship & Scholarship Program, now partnering with the Hungarian Law Students Association of Kolozsvár (Cluj), Romania. Imola Vass of Temesvár (Timișoara), in Transylvania began her internship in our Budapest office in September. With your support, she will be able to continue her training in New York and Washington, D.C. in the Fall. Please help make it happen. 
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Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year from the HHRF team!
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