We, the undersigned residents of Canada and representing over 315,000 Canadians of Hungarian origin, draw the attention of the Government of Canada to the following:
• Romania is still treating its Hungarian minority as second class citizens despite its own proclamation at Alba-Iulia on December 1st, 1918 promising that “Each nationality will have its own education, administrative and judiciary system in its own language, and that each nationality will have the right to represent itself in the legislative bodies and in the government of the country, in proportions corresponding to its own population.”
• Decades of discrimination, persecution, forced assimilation and entire population transfers have vastly eroded the over 2.5 million Hungarian population in Romania to its current 1.2 million level. Many of these Hungarians came to Canada where they still constantly worry about their friends and relatives left behind.
• Counties, towns and villages having retained a majority (86%) Hungarian population – a region known as Szeklerland in Transylvania, Romania – are to this day prohibited from displaying their national symbols and flags on official buildings, subject to court action and hefty fines.
• Simple displays of bilingual signs (Hungarian beside Romanian) on produce in local markets are punishable by summary arrests and fines.
• Ethnic-related human rights violations and abuses, including the desecration of Hungarian national monuments and cemeteries, a recently proposed administrative reorganization aimed at absorbing Hungarian regions into larger Romanian ones, and refusal to allow Hungarian medical schools in state-run universities, to name a few, continue unabated ever since centuries-old Transylvania was, by the stroke of a pen, removed from Hungary and simply given to Romania at the end of WW I – at the 1920 Peace Treaty of Trianon – based on the very promises that Romania made at Alba-Iulia in 1918, as mentioned above.
• Hungarians in Romania have shown time and again their solidarity with their fellow Romanians – for example, ethnic Hungarians sparked the 1989 Revolution that toppled Ceausescu and his regime.
• All attempts at dialogue with Romanian officials have fallen on deaf ears, most recently following the 30,000 and 150,000-strong peaceful demonstrations – numbers Romania still denies – on March 10 and October 27, 2013 respectively, in Szeklerland, Transylvania.
• All Hungarian civil organizations and political parties in Romania have come to realize that the only chance of survival of the embattled, over 1,000 year-old Hungarian language and culture in Transylvania, Romania, is through autonomy within Romania – akin to Québec within Canada.
Your petitioners request the Government of Canada, through its good offices and diplomatic channels, engage with Romania by acting as an honest broker and by offering its model of tolerance and multiculturalism, and to make representation to the Government of Romania, seeking:
• An immediate end to all human rights and civil rights abuses and discrimination against Hungarians in Romania.
• Equal treatment of Hungarians in Romania and their recognition as a founding nation, just like Québec in Canada.
• Compliance by Romania with all the obligations it undertook, both in 1918 and when it joined the European Union in 2007, to ensure equal treatment of its Hungarian minority, the largest in Europe.
• Romania’s engagement through constructive dialogue with the Hungarian minority, guided by Canada’s model of mutual respect and understanding.
(Submitted to the Clerk of the House of Commons by MP Paul Dewar)