Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto slams Ukrainian proposal ‘aimed at eliminating ethnic minorities’

Ukraine's proposal tantamount to taking steps to eliminate ethnic minorities using European Union funds is "unacceptable", Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Geneva on Wednesday.
1. March 2023 16:26

Szijjarto told the United Nations Human Rights Council that a recent Ukrainian proposal had floated the idea of ethnic minority families receiving ca. 1,000 euros if their children are enrolled in Ukrainian-language schools rather than those offering education in their mother tongue.

Hungary’s government follows the issue of ethnic minorities in Ukraine carefully, in view of the millions of Hungarians living there, the ministry cited Szijjarto as saying.

Szijjarto insisted that Ukraine had been in “continuous and systematic” violation of the rights of national minorities since 2014, by adopting laws that made minority language education impossible. School-leaving exams will also be unavailable in minority languages, as will admission exams and vocational training, he said. School principals and teachers in minority language schools are being fired, he said.

Regarding the recent proposal, Szijjarto said Ukrainian authorities were preparing to take some of the billions of euros received from the EU as aid to run the country, and turn it against minorities.

He called for the previously acquired rights of minorities to be reinstated.

As a neighbouring country, Hungary is experiencing the tragic consequences of the conflict in Ukraine every day, Szijjarto said. It has also launched the largest humanitarian drive of its history to help Ukraine, he added.

The international community should focus on saving lives, he said. “The answer … is not to deliver more weapons, and … not to introduce further sanctions, which are — by the way — more painful and harmful for the European economies than for Russia itself,” he said.

The only way to save lives is through peace, he said. “That’s why Hungary as a neighbouring country calls for a ceasefire to be established immediately and peace talks to be launched,” he added.

The risk of a third world war and of nuclear conflict is now “bigger than ever before”, he warned.

“I’d like to call on the international community to join forces to stop the war,” he said.

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