26th Weekly Media Review of Hungarian Communities Abroad


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26th Weekly Media Review of Hungarian Communities Abroad

Heti nemzetpolitikai összefoglaló (26.hét)

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26th Weekly Media Review of Hungarian Communities Abroad

  1. 1. Weekly Media Reviewof HungarianCommunities Abroad26/2011
  2. 2. National Register of Hungarians around the world HungaryIn September the government will launch a “national register” in an effort to reach out toHungarians around the world, announced the deputy prime minister Zsolt Semjén at themeeting of the inter-ministry parliamentary committee for Hungarians living abroad.The aim of the register, to be managed by the Ministry of Justice and PublicAdministration, is to provide information to Hungarians dispersed around the world,initially via the 2,500 Hungarian global organizations that are already known. Theministries were asked to prepare information packages to be distributed to Hungariansabroad during the summer. The pieces of information will also be available in English inthe autumn and later in Spanish, to be sent out to those third and fourth generationHungarians who speak only little Hungarian. The national register is planned to be awebsite aimed at reaching and keeping in touch with Hungarians around the world. Itwill provide content about Hungary, including weekly bulletins, analyses and pressreviews, some of which will be made available after registration. The aim is also to helpHungarian organizations abroad use the homepage to inform local community membersof their events.Assault against a Hungarian rector temporarily cools relations Transylvania - ErdélyAll Hungarian political parties condemn the attacks against Hungarians inGyulafehérvár/Alba Iulia that is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese. A Hungariancatholic weekly reported online that three drunken Romanian men had beaten ZoltánOláh, the dean of the local Roman Catholic Theology Institute with baseball bats on 18June. The three men had allegedly shouted anti-Hungarian slurs during the attack. Thedean suffered blows to the head and back after he tried to photograph the three men asthey threw stones at the institute’s windows. Another Hungarian man, who tried to helpOláh, was also assaulted. The Hungarian foreign ministry was shocked to learn about therecent anti-Hungarian incidents in the Romanian city. The incidents are in sharp contrastto openness and close cooperation that characterized Hungarian-Romanian relationsover the recent period, said the ministry. However, it welcomed that the Romanian policehad identified the perpetrators and arrested two of them shortly after the attacks.Postponed territorial-administrative reformRMDSZ leader Hunor Kelemen called for the debate over the re-design of Romania’sadministrative regions to be postponed, since the outcome, for lack of properpreparation, could be unacceptable for the Hungarian community, and this could lead tothe break-up of the ruling coalition. “The Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania(RMDSZ) still has important work to carry as a member of the Romanian government,but it can only remain in the coalition as long as the interests of Hungarians are notharmed” - said RMDSZ head Hunor Kelemen. The RMDSZ leader said he did not want to 2
  3. 3. provoke a political crisis since the whole of Romania would witness the resultingdamage. As a result, the ruling coalition leaders decided in their weekly session topostpone the implementation of a wide territorial-administrative reorganisation projectafter failing to reach consensus between all parties. A special commission will be set upto analyse the reorganisation project until this autumn. RMDSZ rejected all theorganisation proposals put forth by the ruling Democrat Liberal Party (PDL). This movewas widely expected.Hungary welcomes Venice Commission’s acknowledgments Slovakia - FelvidékHungary welcomes the recently published position of the Council of Europe’s EuropeanCommission for Democracy through Law, better known as the Venice Commission, whichstates that Hungary is a well-functioning parliamentary democracy and that its newFundamental Law does not weaken the rule of law, said the deputy state secretary of theforeign ministry Gergely Prőhle. Representatives of the Venice Commission visitedHungary on 17 May to assess the new constitution approved on April 18 and scheduledto come into effect on 1 January, 2012. It is clear that the Venice Commission found itlawful that the Hungarian government wants to take responsibility for Hungarians livingabroad and confirmed that the new supreme law had no extraterritorial nature. Slovakforeign minister Mikuláš Dzurinda’s statement that the Venice Commission’s stancerepresented a serious warning to Hungary is a “unique and individual interpretation” ofthe Commission’s report, said Prőhle. The Hungarian foreign ministry deemedDzurinda’s further statement that the Venice Commission had called on Hungary toamend its policies “baffling and inexplicable”. It is obvious that ethnic minorities abroadare primarily the responsibility of the country where they live, but there are nointernational documents that would ban the kin-state from also taking onresponsibilities. The Venice Commission recalls in its Opinion that “while states maylegitimately protect their own citizens during a stay abroad, as indicated in its Report onthe Preferential Treatment of National Minorities by their Kin-State, “responsibility forminority protection lies primarily with the home-States”. Furthermore, the Commissionindeed added, in that Report, that “kin-States also, lay a role in the protection andpreservation of their kin-minorities, aiming at ensuring that their genuine linguistic andcultural links remain strong”. The Commission notes in the Opinion that “unilateralmeasures by a State with respect of kin-minorities are only legitimate if the principles ofterritorial sovereignty of States, pacta sunt servanda, friendly relations amongst Statesand the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular the prohibitionof discrimination, are respected”. The Commission makes reference in this respect toArticle 2 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, to whichHungary is a contracting party. It this connection, it welcomes the provisions of Article Qof the new Fundamental Law stressing the importance of ensuring “harmony” betweeninternational law and Hungarian law.The Opinion of the Venice Commission is available at: jdaság 3
  4. 4. Vojvodina - Vajdasághttp://www.venice.coe.int/docs/2011/CDL-AD(2011)016-E.pdfHungarian-Serbian committee on minoritiesLast week, the Hungarian-Serbian mixed committee on minorities held its scheduledmeeting in Budapest. Both the Serbian and the Hungarian partners valued the one-daycommittee meeting highly constructive and friendly. The deputy state secretaryZsuzsanna Répás assured the Serbian co-chair Bojan Pajtić that the Hungariangovernment would find a solution for the parliamentary representation of the Serbianminority in Hungary. Inter alia, Répás appreciated the frame of the law on the HungarianNational Council. The chairs agreed on supporting the minority educational and culturalinstitutions of both countries. Pajtić emphasized that minorities living in Serbia wereallowed to take over issues that were of great importance regarding the preservation of Austria Transcarpathia - Kárpátaljatheir identity.Ukrainian Prosecution: unconstitutional Hungarian anthemThe far right Szvoboda party demands the intervention of the authorities against theresolution of the district council of Beregszász/Berehova that endorsed the playing of theHungarian anthem beside the Ukrainian one at the beginning of the sitting of the body ofrepresentatives. In response, the district council’ prosecution lodged a complaint.According to the prosecution, the resolution runs counter to the Ukrainian constitution,namely to article 20 on the usage of symbols, such as flag, bearings and anthem and tothe law on local self-governance. President of the district council of Beregszász AndrásBihari pointed out that the law on national minorities makes the usage of the Hungariananthem beside the Ukrainian one before the council meeting and of national symbols aswell possible.Government to deal with ethnic groups of AustriaEthnic groups of Austria have had recourse to the Hungarian EU Presidency, namely todeputy prime minister Zsolt Semjén to examine the planned modification to the AustrianState Treaty. The ethnic representatives sent documents in which they raised theirobjections with regard to the proposed re-wording of articles 6 and 7 of the State Treaty.According to their standpoint, the change would impair the official usage of minoritylanguages. Furthermore, the representatives of Hungarians, Croats and Slovenians highlycriticized that they were omitted from the negotiation process. The Hungariangovernment tackled to study the issue and initiated the foreign ministry as well. It wasnot only the ethnic groups of Austria that asked the intercession of the Hungarian EUPresidency but also the Polish minority in Lithuania sent its letter to the Hungarian 4
  5. 5. prime minister Viktor Orbán to raise their plight on political forums during Hungary’sleadership of the European Council. Canada, USA, AustraliaSlowly forgetting our languageAccording to a recently published statistical report, whilst earlier the majority of secondgeneration immigrants of Canada spoke rather English, the new immigrants preservetheir native language in a higher proportion. In 1981, 41 percent of children of Canadianimmigrants spoke the language of their parents. The ratio was substantially higher in2006, standing at 55 percent. The reasons for this phenomenon are many. First of all,second generation immigrants were mostly of European origin, and through the culturalsimilarities it might have led to easier assimilation and language shift. According tostatistics, merely 20 percent of children of Dutch or Italian parents speak the parent’smother tongue, whereas the newest immigration wave of Armenians, Punjabi people,Chinese, Persian, Turkish, Bengali and Urdu is featured by a 70-percent languagemaintenance. Another relevant cause for this change is obviously Canada’s last 30-yearpopulation policy that has placed emphasis on family-reunion programs, allowing theimmigration of parents and grandparents. The use of the native language within thefamily greatly facilitates the endurance of the language for the next generations. Astartling figure of the report pertaining to Hungarians shows that among the studiedlanguages, Hungarian is unfortunately the least preserved language within thirdgeneration immigrants (3 percent).Church leaders in BudapestAustralian and American reformed church leaders active in the Hungarian diasporavisited Hungary. They held consultations with state secretary for church, minority andnon-governmental relations László Szászfalvi, Zsuzsanna Répás deputy state secretaryfor Hungarian communities abroad and vice-president of the parliamentary committeeon national cohesion Katalin Szili. The reformed bishops expressed their concerns overthe closure of Hungarian Roman Catholic churches in the USA. The bishop of theAmerican Calvinist Diocese Béla Poznan said that they had touched the actual issues ofHungarian church life and the possibilities of co-operation. The bishop referred to an oldcommunity building in Pennsylvania that may serve in the future as a Hungarian culturalcentre aimed at collecting the historical documents of the last 100 years. Poznanappreciated the Hungarian government that thought, felt and acted in national terms.Bishop of the American Reformed Church Sándor Szabó said that in the course of the last100 years, Hungarian churches and organizations were the preservationists of theHungarian identity like as a rescue-service for the nation. The bishop added thatmissionary work was valued high, since the majority of Hungarians lived dispersedthroughout the States. The deputy state secretary and the bishop touched upon thepossibility of a travelling pastor from Hungary to reach out to smaller communities.Szabó noted it would be a considerable gesture on part of the Hungarian state. The 5
  6. 6. Australian church leader Csaba Dézsi emphasized that Hungary was finally concernedabout the fate of Hungarians living far from the kin-state.Obama’s greetings on 20th anniversary of HACUS President Barack Obama greeted the Hungarian American Coalition (HAC) on theoccasion of its 20th anniversary. “I send greetings to all those celebrating the 20thanniversary of the Hungarian American Coalition. The fabric of America is woventogether and enriched by the diversity of our people. Our legacy as a Nation ofimmigrants is part of what makes America strong, and the achievements of HungarianAmericans touch all our lives. As doctors and scientists, lawyers and engineers, publicservants and service members, they are helping to write the next chapter of ourcountry’s story. Organisations like the Hungarian American Coalition help us celebratethe rich history and vibrant culture Hungarian Americans have brought to our shores.These efforts connect individuals to their past, and reaffirm our founding ideals forfuture generations.” Obama said he wished HAC all the best for its continued success inthe years to come as it marked a special milestone. 6