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Dual Citizenship for all Hungarians across the borders in Historic Hungary

Ethnic Distribution in the Kingdom of Hungary in 1910 (Hungarians shown in red) UPDATE: 5/27/2010 - Hungary grants citizenship to Hungarians living in historic ethnic Hungarian communities across the present-day borders. The American Hungarian Federation has long called for such a measure and feels that all Hungarians should have the right to claim citizenship. The law restores rights to millions of ethnic Hungarians that were stripped of their citizenship by the communist regimes. Slovakia protests. [read more]

11/26/2004 - AHF issues call to Hungarians to vote "YES" on dual-citizenship for Hungarians beyond the borders. Acting on a motion by the World Federation of Hungarians (MVSZ), Hungary's parliament voted to hold a referendum on a controversial proposal that seeks to grant dual citizenship to ethnic Hungarians living in neighbouring countries. AHF feels this referendum is unneccessary as citizenship for fellow Hungarians is a moral and ethical issue that should nAHF issues call to Hungarians to vote "YES" on dual-citizenship for Hungarians beyond the bordersever have been questioned. But since the referendum is now presented to voters, AHF urges Hungarians to vote "yes."

AHF believes that all Hungarians, wherever they may be, should have the right to claim citizenship. The full text (in Hungarian) is below or click to download: [Szavazzunk IGEN]

The issue of granting dual citizenship to Hungarians living outside the country's borders has stirred strong divisions. There are some two million Hungarians living in neighbouring Rumania, and a further 500,000 are in Slovakia and some 300,000 in Serbia. Nationalists in the neighboring countries have described the initiative as a provocation.

The ruling Socialists (MSZP) believe that the issue of dual citizenship should not be decided in a referendum, and are thus opposed to the motion. The junior coalition member liberal Free Democrats (SZDSZ) reject the proposal. The opposition Young Democrats (FIDESZ) and the Democratic Forum (MDF) have expressed support for the initiative.

Given the large numbers of post-Trianon Hungarians living in newly redrawn borders, the situation is complex. Hungarian Foreign Minister László Kovács communicated to MTI, the Hungarian Press Agency: “Whether or not somebody shall become a dual citizen as a result of this, depends on whether his present home country accepts the granting of this second citizenship or not.” The Foreign Minister reminded, that for example in Ukraine, dual citizenship is forbidden by law, and if a Ukrainian Hungarian is granted Hungarian citizenship, then the person shall immediately be deprived of his/her Ukrainian citizenship.

Dr. Paul Szilagyi, AHF's Steering Committee Chairman, wrote, "Ha valaki magyar állampolgár óhajt lenni, akkor örüljünk, hogy egy magyarral több van, hiszen úgy is ritkulunk a Kárpát-medencében. Ez egy olyan választás, amire nem volt és nincs szükség. Nem kell a határon belüli és túli, árván maradt magyarságot megosztani, s megfosztani egy határon kívül ragadt magyart attól a lehetoségtol, hogy esetleg magyar állampolgarságot nyerjen." ("If someone desires Hungarian citizenship, we should be pleased as our number has grown by at least one in a Carpathian Basin where our numbers are in decline. But this is a referendum for which there was no need. We shouldn't divide "within-borders" from "outside-border" Hungarians, nor prevent a Hungarian stuck behind borders that were changed around him from claiming his citizenship.") - Bryan Dawson [sources: The Washington Times, MTI]

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Why did Hungarians lose Citizenship?

How Hungary Shrank: Ostensibly in the name of national self-determination, the Treaty dismembered the thousand-year-old Kingdom of Hungary, a self-contained, geographically and economically coherent and durable formation in the Carpathian Basin and boasting the longest lasting historical borders in Europe. It was imposed on Hungary without any negotiation by vengeful leaders who were ignorant or ignored the region’s history, and mercilessly tore that country apart. By drawing artificial borders in gross violation of the ethnic principle, it also transferred over three million indigenous ethnic Hungarians and over 70% of the country's territory to foreign rule.While the tragic Treaty of Trianon forced Hungarians to choose new citizenship or leave their ancestral homelands in the newly formed countries of Rumania, Slovakia, and Yugoslavia (Serbia), they were still considered part of the Hungarian nation until the communist takeover in 1949. Adding insult to injury, it was the communist Hungarian governments that renounced millions of Hungarians living across newly drawn borders after Trianon and cancelled any right to claim citizenship as late as 1979. ("Nem a felettünk győztes hatalmak, nem Románia és nem az utódállamok, hanem a magyar állam fosztotta meg a külhoni magyarokat az állampolgárságuktól." - Dr. Tamas Arva.)

When did Hungarians lose Citizenship?

In a show of "Socialist" brotherhood, the Hungarian communist government signed an agreement with Ceaucescu's Rumania in 1979 cancelling Hungarian citizenship for Transylvania's 2.5 - 3 million-strong Hungarian community. Previous Hungarian regimes did the same thing with Hungarians living and working in East Germany in 1969, Poland in 1961, and Czechoslovakia in 1960. Read the full article in Hungarian: Index.hu

Ethnic Distribution in the Kingdom of Hungary in 1910 (Hungarians shown in red) Ethnic Distribution in the Kingdom of Hungary in 1910
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Hungarian populations declined significantly after forced removals such as the Benes Decrees and other pograms, the effects of WWI, and Trianon in 1920. With continued pressure and discriminative policies sucha s the 2009 Slovak Language Law, this trend continued over the past 90 years.

  • In Upper Hungary (awarded to Slovakia, Czechoslovakia): 1,687,977 Slovaks and 1,233,454 others (mostly Hungarians - 886,044, Germans, Ruthenians and Roma) [according to the 1921 census, however, there were 1,941,942 Slovaks and 1,058,928 others]
  • In Carpathian Ruthenia (awarded to Czechoslovakia): 330,010 Ruthenians and 275,932 others (mostly Hungarians, Germans, Romanians, and Slovaks)
  • In Transylvania (awarded to Romania): 2,831,222 Romanians (53.8%) and 2,431,273 others (mostly Hungarians - 1,662,948 (31.6%) and Germans - 563,087 (10.7%)). The 1919 and 1920 Transylvanian censuses indicate a greater percentage of Romanians (57.1%/57.3%) and a smaller Hungarian minority (26.5%/25.5%)
  • In Vojvodina 510,754 Serbs and 1,002,229 others (mostly Hungarians 425,672 and Germans 324,017)
  • In Vojvodina and Croatia-Slavonia combined (awarded to Yugoslavia): 2,756,000 Croats and Serbs and 1,366,000 others (mostly Hungarians and Germans)
  • In Burgenland (awarded to Austria): 217,072 Germans and 69,858 others (mainly Croatian and Hungarian)

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