Intimidation in Ukraine in the shadow of European integration

2020. 12. 16.

Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Andrea Bocskor has been standing for the rights of minorities since 2014, including the rights of Transcarpathian Hungarians. During the plenary debate on the Eastern Partnership, the MEP drew attention to the continuous attacks against the Hungarian community in Ukraine, and also to the personal threat, as she has been included in the so-called “death list” of the Ukrainian Mirotvorec website. At the debate, Andrea Bocskor called on Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to take concrete actions and to call on Ukraine to close down the Myrotvorets website, as well as to ensure the protection and safety of the Hungarian community and all those, who stand for the fundamental human and minority rights in Ukraine.

Although Ukraine is committed to democratic principles, it seems to be just words. The Law on Education, Law on the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language, the anti-Hungarian attitude disseminated by the authorities, marches of extremist para-military groups, enlisting the Hungarians of Transcarpathia, reminds the Hungarian community the darkest Soviet times they experienced.

“I never believed that it could happen that due to my parliamentary activities, while I try to protect the rights of the Hungarian minority living in Ukraine at the European level, I had been included in a so-called “death list” of the Ukrainian Myrotvorets website as “enemy of Ukraine”,” expressed the Fidesz MEP her concern during her speech.

She pointed out she is not the only one under personal attacks because of raising her voice to protect the Hungarian community. The community itself faces constant political pressure, attacks and intimidation for the last months.

“In November after the local elections several cases of provocations, hate speeches and videos were published against the Hungarians, then armed commandos of the Ukrainian Security Service delivered a coordinated attack against the office of the Cultural Alliance of Hungarians, its leader and two more charity funds. The unprecedentedly harsh actions against these institutions were based on fabricated accusations, to restrict the operation of the Hungarian organizations and to intimidate the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia,” the MEP introduced the facts.

In the response to the MEP’s speech, Josep Borrell said that the Myrotvorets website’s content is completely unacceptable and called for its discontinuity. He said the EU Commission is in contact and supports the parties involved to constructively resolving this problem, in Ukraine and Hungary, in order to insure respect of the rights of minorities living in Ukraine. He assured that they will do as much as they could to protect the rights of minorities, especially regarding the Hungarian minority.

Besides the Fidesz-KDNP Delegation to the EP, which was the first to stand up by Ms. Bocskor, the EPP group and several MEPs also assured her of their solidarity.

“Such intimidation of national minorities anywhere in the world is unacceptable, but it is much more serious if it happens in one of the Eastern Partnership countries, that wants to move closer to NATO and the European Union. It is reprehensible that a Member of the European Parliament is being intimidatingly listed for defending her own national community, as is the case with Andrea Bocskor. The minority rights are part of human rights, as the European Union calls for it everywhere in the world, it must be demanded also from Ukraine, do not close your eyes on these  serious violations of  rights,   because of geopolitical reasons,” underlined Kinga Gál referring to the debate.

Background: The website of the Myrotvorets organization has started illegally uploading the personal data of Hungarians of Transcarpathia to its database from 2018. A few days ago, Andrea Bocskor MEP was also added to that list.

The full speech available at 14:43 here:

Josep Borrell’s response is available here from 4:49