Hungarian American Coalition Cautions U.S. Senate on Human Rights Issues in Romania and Slovakia

WASHINGTON, DC – On July 25 the Hungarian American Coalition sent a letter to members of the U.S. Senate asking the legislators to urge the Bush Administration “to require full compliance with human and minority rights standards before recommending NATO membership for Slovakia and Romania.” The letter argued that the “U.S. Senate should exert pressure on NATO candidate nations to truly conform to the same standards of membership that were applied to the countries admitted in the first round of expansion in 1999” and voiced concern “about the failure of those governments to address major minority rights issues” and that the mentioned countries show “a pattern of discrimination against ethnic Hungarians”.

The letter also noted that if NATO expansion proceeds with undue haste “the process may well undermine the very democratic values upon which NATO rests” and that “the Hungarian American Coalition supports NATO expansion as long as the membership standards are not diluted, and “as long as the expansion process insists upon full observance of human and minority rights as a condition of membership.”

The Coalition also informed the Senators of the active role of the organization undertook “in promoting the membership of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic up to their accession in 1999.”

As an attachment to the letter, the Senators received a “Special Issue on NATO Expansion” Hungarian American Coalition News, of July 2002, containing the Coalition’s Resolution on NATO Expansion with articles by Edith K. Lauer, Chairman of the Board, and Frank Koszorus, Jr. member of the Board of the Coalition, and a statement related to Hungarian minority issues in Romania and Slovakia as presented by Laszlo Hamos, President of the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation, at the hearing on The Future of NATO and Enlargement before the Subcommittee on Europe, Committee of International Relations, House of Representatives of April 17, 2002. The text of the newsletter is available on the website of the Coalition.

The Hungarian American Coalition is a nationwide non-profit organization that promotes public understanding and awareness of Hungarian American issues.

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