Ukraine continues to violate minority rights

2018. 02. 13.

“The European Union should do more to stop violations of the rights of ethnic minorities in Ukraine,” Fidesz MEP Andrea Bocskor and László Brenzovics, President of the Transcarpathian Hungarian Cultural Association, said in Strasbourg during their meeting with EP President Antonio Tajani.

During the meeting, László Brenzovics addressed the Ukrainian response to the Venice Commission’s recommendations on Article 7 of the Education Act adopted last September. He stressed that the Ukrainian government completely ignored the recommendation, which called for a more balanced formulation of the article, and has not begun consultations with minority representatives. In December 2017, new draft legislation was revealed that categorizes the citizens of Ukraine by ethnicity. The text puts Ukrainians in a privileged position, recognizes only the stateless Crimean Tatars as an indigenous minority, and regards Ukraine’s other ethnic groups that have a mother country in the European Union as tertiary citizens. Russians remain the only exception in the draft legislation: they are assigned to a fourth category.

Andrea Bocskor highlighted how important it is that the EP’s President and fellow MEPs see clearly the negative trends in Ukraine and stand up for the acquired rights of minorities. “We need to draw a clear picture of these violations of rights and efforts to force assimilation in this country as they don’t conform to European values at all. I hope that with the EU’s help the discriminative processes are still reversible, that there is still a chance to create consensus if Ukraine were to handle its ethnic minorities as partners and resources and not as enemies,” the Transcarpathian MEP stressed.

Antonio Tajani repeated his previous commitment, that he will continue to follow up on the minority implications of educational and other laws in Ukraine. The President of the European Parliament turned to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in a letter last November calling upon Kiev to execute the recommendations of the Venice Commission.