Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Government stands up for the protection of human rights both at home and in international organisations

Attending a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday, Peter Szijjarto, the foreign minister, said Hungary firmly upheld the protection of human rights both at home and in international organisations.

Given present global dangers and a century so far marked by wars and crises, terrorism and mass illegal migration, serious debates are taking place regarding human rights, a ministry statement quoted the minister as saying. As rights are continually violated, it is important to distinguish between what counts as a universal human right and what does not, he said in his speech.

Szijjarto said everyone had the right to lead their life in safety and in their own place of residence, to be free to practise their religion and to identify with their nation. But no one had the right, he added, to violate the borders of two safe countries, to kill for an ideology or religion, or to stop people from using their mother tongue.

He noted that millions of ethnic Hungarians live outside the country’s present-day borders, around 150,000 in neighbouring Ukraine, where until 2015 they enjoyed a broad array of rights. Then, in the areas of education, culture, media and public administration, their mother-tongue rights were severely restricted with the result that 99 minority schools shuttered recently, he noted.

Hungary, he said, insisted on the soonest possible restoration of rights of the Transcarpathian Hungarian community. “They’re not asking for anything more than they previously had…” he said.

Meanwhile, referring to migration pressure on Hungary’s borders — the European Union and Schengen external borders — these past nine years, he said that the country had witnessed “firsthand how dangerous migration is”. Terrorism and migration, he added, formed a “vicious circle”, as the greater the terrorist threat, the greater the migration pressure. And the more people died in migration waves, the greater the chance that future assassins would hide among them, he added.

Szijjarto said “parallel societies” and “modern anti-Semitism” had sprung up in several Western countries.

International law must be respected, he said. “People forced to flee can stay in the first safe country temporarily, not the second, third or fourth safe country,” he said.

On the topic of Christian persecution, the minister said that Hungary was a Christian state of one thousand years and felt particular responsibility for Christian communities around the world. It has spent 100,000 million US dollars on supporting Christian communities “so their members can remain where they have lived for hundreds of years” he said.

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