Hungarians in Transylvania Appeal for Autonomy

2013. november 04., hétfő

On 26 October, the so-called Szekler National Council released a statement outlining its desire for self-government as an autonomous territory following examples established in other parts of Europe. Szeklerland is an area in eastern Transylvania, Romania, with a majority population of ethnic Hungarians. The last census in 2002 showed Szeklerland as a historical region of about 13,000 sq/km with a population of 809,000, of whom 612,043 were Szekler-Hungarians.

To express their commitment, Szekler Hungarians organized a large demonstration march demanding autonomy on Sunday, 27 October in three Counties of the Region. Organizers estimate that 120,000 supporters turned out for the march building a 53 km-long livinh chain. Szekerland's pursuit of self-governance has been met with widespread support from all Hungarian political parties and churches in Romania. Ecumenical services were held before the demonstration in 14 cities, showing strong support from the religious community regardless of denomination. Bishop Béla Kató, similarly to other church leaders in the country, encouraged congregations to participate in the demonstration. Church leaders in Romania emphasized that the pursuit of this goal is a peaceful endeavor which serves not only the ethnic Hungarians interest, but the peaceful cohabitation and prosperity in Transylvania and Romania.

Members of the National Cohesion Committee from the Hungarian parliament even met with members of the Romanian parliament to discuss Szeklerland's call for territorial autonomy and the protection of Hungarian communities in Romania. In Hungary and all over the world, especially in Western-Europe and the US, Hungarians expressed their solidarity by organizing demonstrations.

 

Below is the statement from the Szekler National Council:

The historical Seklerland is native. We, the Hungarians living here as a majority, are devoted to our century-old autonomy traditions. Choosing the way of local self-determination through the regional Sekler councils we declared this right and wish, we claimed the guarantee of the local - autonomy by a legally binding statute.

We, the National Sekler Council's delegates, turn to the Romanian Parliament, the European Council and European Parliament to consider our claim for the local autonomy that is in accordance with the European constitutional states' practice and with the regulations of the international documents protecting the national communities' self-identification.

We request the Romanian Parliament and Government, the country's political powers, the representatives of the civil sphere and the country's historical churches to consider and support our just claims with all democratic means.

We request the Hungarian Parliament and Government and all personalities of the Hungarian public life to support our efforts in obtaining the self government which is the most important factor in preserving our Hungarian self-identification and the conservation of our community in the native country.

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We encourage you to read our  former GM intern Kearstin Bailey's blog about her time, spent in Hungary.