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Dec 09, 2019

Venice Commission decides Ukraine infringes law on minority rights

The Venice Commission called on Ukraine to scrap passages of its law concerning the use of ethnic minority languages that discriminate between Ukrainian and minority languages.

The foreign minister has said the Venice Commission has come to the opinion that Ukraine's language law strips ethnic minorities of already acquired rights regarding the use of their mother tongue.

In its opinion, the Venice Commission called on Ukraine to scrap passages of its law concerning the use of ethnic minority languages that discriminate between Ukrainian and minority languages unless the measure is reasonably and objectively justified.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said the decision is “proof” that Ukraine’s language law runs foul of international law as well as the country’s commitments, as did its 2016 law amendments on public education.

The minster told MTI that the laws supported by that country’s previous president, Petro Poroshenko, and its parliament aimed to eliminate minority language use in all areas of life. He said Hungary still thinks that a new president is a cause for renewed hope, referring to Volodymyr Zelensky, who was elected earlier this year.

Minister Szijjártó said Hungary will support Ukraine’s accession to NATO as soon as the rights of ethnic Hungarians there have been reinstated, “but no sooner than that”.