Lantos Tamás, az amerikai kongresszus magyar származású tagja képviselőházi beszédben hívta fel a figyelmet Duray Miklós “bátor jogvédő munkájára a szlovák és csehszlovák hatóságok kisebbségi jogokat következetesen megsértő intézkedései ellen.”
Washington, 1984, június 11.
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD – Extensions of Retnarks E 2741
THE ARREST OP HUNGARIAN INTELLECTUAL MIKLÓS DURAY BY THE GOVERNMENT OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA
HON. TOM LANTOS
OF CALIFORNIA IN THE HOUSE Or REPRESENTATIVES
Monday, June 11, 1984
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, the arrest in May by Czechoslovak Government authorities of Miklós Duray, & leading member of the Hungarian minority, is a disturbing development. On one hand, minority rights are guaranteed on paper and a number of organizations exist to protect their interests; on the other hand the actual exercise of cultural and educational rights by the Hungarian minority have been far from satisfactory.
Miklós Duray is a prominent writer and geologist. He recently led a highly successful petition campaign against passage of a law which could have resulted in the serious curtailment of the Hungarian language schools and classes for ethnic Hungarian Czechoslovak citizens. His arrest appears to be solely due to his advocacy of the rights of ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia.
Duray’s arrest can only be understood aganist the background of minority rights in. Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia is a multiethnic nation, which has had a widely varying minority policy since the Communist party took control in 1948. The Hungarian minority is concentrated in Slovakia-the easternmost area of Czechoslovakia and one of the two major divisions of the country. The number of ethnic Hungarians in Czechoslovakia numbers over 600.000.
The cultural life of the Hungarians in Czechoslovakia gradually improved during the I950’s and 1960’s. Despite this progress, the condition of the Hungarian minority was never completely satisfactory. The Hungarian schools were only sections of the local Slovak schools, and the proportion of Hungarian students who went on to higher education was well below that of the Slovak students. The brief reform era under Oubcek in 1968 led to Important Improvements in the rights of the Hungarian minority. The reestablishment of Soviet dominance, however, led to the imposition of new limitation.
A renewed threat to Hungarian-language schools appeared In 1978. when it was announced that beginning in the fifth grade, all subjects except for Hungarian, geography, and history were to be taught in Slovak rather than Hungarian. This measure would have affected over 60,000 young students. In response to this threat, the Legal Defense Committee of the Hungarian Nationality in Czechoslovakia was formed, and in this crisis Mikos Duray emerged as the sopkesman for the Hungarian minority in Slovakia.
The committee issued a number of protests, some of which reached the West and were printed in a Hungarian-emigree journal in Paris. As a result of this pressure, the language of instruction was not changed, but Duray was arrested. He was brought to trial on January 31, 1983 on charges of subversion for writing about the plight of ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia. Although the trial was adjourned and Duray released, the charges against him were not dropped.
The Slovak government again attempted to change the language of instruction in a law reforming education in November, 1983. On February 12. 1984 Duray sent letters to the Federal President, the Slovak government, and the Slovak National Council stating that this proposed law contravened the 1960 constitution, which provided minorities with the right to be educated in their native language.
Duray’s letters sparked an even wider confrontation by ethnic minorities against the new rule. A large protest broke out in early March involving some 10,000 people, many of whom reregistered their children in Hungarian schools.
In large part these protests were successful. The Slovak National Council decided to postpone their decision from March 12 to March 27, apparently to provide more time for analysis. On April 2-to the relief of the Hungarian minority-the Council approved a final version of the law without the sections forcing the Slovak language on the Hungarian minority.
Duray’s recent arrest must be seen against the background of his courageous leadership for the rights of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia in the face of the persistent pattern of har-rasment against minority rights which has been followed by the Czechoslovak and Slovak governments. Clearly his arrest and the record of the Slovak government speaks more loudly about the true nature of Czechoslovak prac-tive than official pronouncements of tolerance and good will.