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2024 Could Mark Decisive Year for Ethnic Hungarians in Romania

Magyar Nemzet
2023.12.02. 16:55
2024 Could Mark Decisive Year for Ethnic Hungarians in Romania

With the elections coming up in 2024, next year could be crucial for ethnic Hungarians living in Romania, the president of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) said during his visit to Washington, asking members of the Hungarian community in the US to raise the awareness of their elected deputies to developments regarding minority rights. Speaking as a guest at the Hungarian American Coalition's year-end event, Hunor Kelemen warned of the rise of an anti-Hungarian, anti-Semitic, anti-democratic and extremist political force in Romania.

The Russia-Ukraine war has induced fears in the peripheries that were thought to have worn away with time, he said.

The threat posed by extremists is not yet on the radars in the US, as what is seen from overseas is the big picture: mainstream political parties that share Western values, he pointed out.

Hunor Kelemen and the UDMR delegation met with congressmen and representatives of the state department, and visited important US think tanks during their several-day visit in Washington, organized by the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation based in New York. During the talks, they appealed to US decision-makers to remind their Romanian counterparts about the importance of respecting minority rights, Hunor Kelemen said. What is said in Washington will not fall on deaf ears in Romania, he stressed.

Speaking at a diaspora event held in the embassy building, Hungary's Ambassador to Washington, Szabolcs Takacs revealed details about the Hungarian government's new scheme, the national virtual space initiative to be launched next year, giving Hungarians living abroad access to Hungarian public media programs.

This will also help to build Hungarian identity, he added.

President of the Hungarian American Coalition Andrea Lauer said that one of the roles of her organization is to take responsibility for encouraging cooperation in challenging times. She said the coalition's work rests on three pillars: cultural activities, human rights advocacy, and community.

At the 32nd Mikulas Dinner, an annual gala dinner organized by the Hungarian American organization at the end of the year, Ambassador Szabolcs Takacs presented high state awards to Edith Lauer, founder and president emerita of the Hungarian American Coalition, and to Zsolt Szekeres, president of the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation, co-founder of the Hungarian American Coalition, and board member of the Kossuth Foundation. Hungarian President Katalin Novak awarded the two leading figures of the Hungarian diaspora the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary in recognition of their many decades of activity.

Cover photo: Hunor Kelemen, president of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) addresses the leadership election congress of Fidesz- Hungarian Civic Alliance on November 18, 2023 (Photo: MTI/Szilard Koszticsak)

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