The Hungarian Human Rights Foundation to Receive Award from the Hungarian Government

The Hungarian Human Rights Foundation, an organizational member of the Hungarian American Coalition, is among 20 organizations and individuals chosen by the Government of Hungary to receive its “Minorities Award” (“Kisebbsegekert Dij”).

The Hungarian Human Rights Foundation (HHRF) was founded in New York in 1976 as the Committee for Human Rights in Rumania. The ad-hoc group of young Hungarian-Americans worked to alert the political leadership and public opinion of the West to the human rights violations suffered by the Hungarian minority in Rumania. By 1984, with the support of Baron Hans-Heinrich Thyssen Bornemisza, the group had become a private, non-profit Foundation which conducts monitoring, research and representational activities on human rights issues affecting the three and one-half million Hungarians who live as minorities in Central Europe. HHRF is headquartered in New York City, with offices in Budapest and Kolozsvár (Cluj), Rumania.

The award honors individuals and organizations in Hungary and abroad who have performed “distinguished service through their educational, cultural, religious, public advocacy and economic-development activities on behalf of and among minority communities,” according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The award will be presented in Parliament on December 18, which the Government of Hungary has declared as “Minorities Day,” to coincide with the date of Hungary’s accession to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.

The award will be given to HHRF’s four Directors — László Hámos, Emese Latkóczy, Zsolt Szekeres, and Baron Thyssen Bornemisza — and to Bulcsú Veress, one of the Committee’s original organizers.

Other organizations and individuals to be recognized on December 18 represent the Roma, German, and Slovak minorities within Hungary, and Hungarian minorities in Rumania, Slovakia, Voivodina and Transcarpathia. Recipients also include Gabriel Andreescu, President of Rumania’s Helsinki Human Rights Committee; Joseph Schweitzer, Hungary’s Chief Rabbi; and Duna Television, the satellite TV station which reaches out to Hungarian-speakers on three continents. Several diplomatic, cultural and humanitarian aid leaders will also receive the award.

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