Szijjarto: Europe should defend ethnic minorities, freedom of religion

Fidesz politician: Ukraine should observe minority protection conventions

As a member country of the Council of Europe (CoE), Ukraine has the obligation to observe CoE minority protection conventions, yet the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia has been subject to continued persecution by local authorities in the recent past, a lawmaker of Hungary's ruling Fidesz party said in Strasbourg on Monday.

Barna Pal Zsigmond gave a statement to MTI on the sidelines of the CoE Parliamentary Assembly meeting.

He said that it is unacceptable that the Hungarian community has not been ensured appropriate protection in Ukraine, not even in the framework of bilateral agreements, despite the fact that Hungary has always stood up for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and it fully supports that country’s Euro-Atlantic endeavours.

Legislation guaranteeing the rights of Hungarian minorities existed before, the Hungarian lawmaker said, adding that there had been setbacks by Kiev’s leadership as regards those rights. He said Ukraine’s minority protection regime was working well before and allowed the Hungarian minority to use its mother tongue in education. “But this possibility was forcefully eliminated by the political leadership of Ukraine,” he said.

Szijjarto: Europe should defend ethnic minorities, freedom of religion

Europe should defend ethnic minorities and the freedom of religion because both national communities and traditional Christian values are exposed to attacks, Peter Szijjarto, Hungary’s minister of foreign affairs and trade, told MTI in Strasbourg on Monday.

Europe was strong only when it adhered to its traditional Christian values that are now under attack, Szijjarto said before the Monday session of the Council of Europe (CoE) Parliamentary Assembly.

There is an endeavour dictated by the strong liberal mainstream that Europe should forget its Christian values, he said.

It is regrettable that this endeavour is coupled with considerable anti-Semitism in Western Europe, Szijjarto said, referring to the clearly anti-Semite demonstrations that erupted in western capitals after Israel had defended itself from a terrorist organisation’s attack.

Szijjarto also said that several European countries had approved legislation that restrict the rights of national minorities.

“There is a pressing need in Europe to halt these tendencies,” the minister said

Hungary, which is holding the rotating CoE presidency until late November, will spare no effort to guarantee the free exercise of religion and respect for minority rights in Europe, he said.

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