Coalition Urges State Department to Press Hungarian Minority Issues

The Romanian government has “failed to enforce its commitments to the Hungarian minority,” noted the Hungarian American Coalition in a letter sent yesterday to U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.

Secretary Powell is scheduled to meet with Romanian President Ion Iliescu Monday afternoon as part of a Romanian government visit to Washington, D.C. next week.

Along with the letter, the Hungarian American Coalition submitted a two-page statement summarizing three areas in which the Romanian government has consistently breached its commitments to uphold the rights of the 1.5 million-strong Hungarian minority in Romania:

  • failure to enforce restitution of confiscated church property, in particular the egregious case of the Kolozsvar (Cluj) Reformed Kollegium, where local intransigence is backed up by judicial decisions to prevent the full return of this historic Hungarian school;
  • failure to restore the Bolyai University in Cluj as an autonomous Hungarian institution;
  •  central government intervention to block restoration of a 113-year-old historic monument in the city of Arad.

“Past experience has shown that U.S. opinion matters greatly to Romanian government officials,” states the Coalition’s letter to Secretary Powell. “We urge you to use your good offices to encourage the Romanian government to make concrete progress” on these issues.

A comprehensive study on church property restitution was prepared by the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation.  The study and up-to-date information on property restitution issues can be found at HHRF’s website:

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