Zsolt Németh, head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said in Strasbourg on Wednesday that Hungary stands by Ukraine and respects its unity and considers it important to preserve its independence, but the war cannot serve as an excuse to restrict human and minority rights.
Addressing a conference on the situation of minorities in Ukraine on the sidelines of the summer session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Németh welcomed the “milestone” of the Venice Commission’s report on Ukraine’s minority law. The opinion published on June 13 is a “breakthrough”, Németh said. Acquired rights cannot be taken away and must be restored, he said, adding that Ukraine’s European integration could help promote this in the coming period. “It is important to emphasise that we condemn Russia’s war,” Németh said. He also condemned that the minority issue had been cited as the reason for the aggression, saying this made it harder to represent national minority causes. “We stand by Ukraine, but the war cannot serve as an excuse to restrict human and minority rights,” Németh said. The international community has become determined to protect minority rights, he said, expressing hope that Ukraine would be open to the Venice Commission’s and the international community’s opinions.