Open letter to the US Ambassador

Szávay István's open letter to Colleen Bradley Bell, Ambassador of the United States.


Your Excellency,

I am contacting you to express my view that the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Ukraine is a common interest for us. A key step towards such settlement is to identify, analyze and, subsequently, to eliminate the causes of the crisis. We are convinced that one of these causes is Ukraine's Chauvinistic, oppressive policy that impacts the country's ethnic minorities. The Russian-speaking population of East Ukraine have had enough of not being treated as citizens with equal rights and not being allowed to exercise their basic human rights, including the right to use their native tongue.

Unfortunately, this Chauvinistic, discriminatory treatment is also typical in the Lower Carpathian region with its significant Hungarian minority, as pointed out recently by Sergey Lavrov as well. Addressing the 51st Munich Security Conference, Russia's Minister for Foreign Affairs emphasized that the members of the Hungarian and the Romanian community are drafted into the Ukrainian army at a much higher rate than Ukrainians, thus depriving these minorities of their right for equal treatment. Despite President Poroshenko's personal promise, Ukraine even failed to establish a constituency with a Hungarian majority, where a Hungarian representative could be elected into the Ukrainian legislation.

Unfortunately, the statements made by Sergey Lavrov correctly describe the situation in the Lower Carpathian region, and it is due to the local Hungarian community's utmost patience and respect for piece that the situation has not become as extremely tense as in East Ukraine. Ukraine has been blocking the use of the Hungarian language and discriminating Hungarian students applying to higher education institutions for years. The government is also planning to transform regional constituencies in order to prevent a Hungarian majority everywhere, extremist groups regularly desecrate and vandalize Hungarian memorials without any legal consequence. The problems culminate in the lack of the above mentioned constituency with a Hungarian majority. Consequently, the Hungarian community is unable to elect a politician that would truly represent their interests in the Kiev Parliament. In our opinion, the current representative fails to do so.

Your Excellency,

I believe it is very important that a major power like Russia stands up to support the cause of our fellow-Hungarians living on the other side of our borders. I consider it equally important that Hungary's Western allies, especially the United States of America could express a similar support. Therefore, I respectfully enquire whether you and your government agrees with the statements made by Sergey Lavrov. Does the USA consider the human rights of ethnic minorities as important as Russia? Let me also ask you whether the United States considers it necessary to extend and guarantee the human rights of Ukraine's ethnic minorities, and what rights of these communities need to be guaranteed in the framework of a potential peace settlement in Ukraine?

I look forward to your honoring response and wish you a successful and gratifying work during your stay and assignment in Hungary.

Budapest, February 12, 2015

Yours sincerely,

István Szávay

Member of Parliament,
Jobbik Movement for a Better Hungary