Minority rights and wrongs in Eastern Europe in the 20th century


By Mark Cronwall, published 31st May 1996

Mark Cornwall reflects on past and present attempts by the international community to protect national minorities in Eastern Europe. On 19 March 1995, the Prime Ministers of Hungary and Slovakia met in Paris to sign a ‘Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation’ between their two countries; on 13 June it was ratified by the Hungarian Parliament. Its purpose is largely to confirm the minority rights of the 600,000 Hungarians who live in southern Slovakia. In the build-up to this historic treaty, the Slovak Prime Minister, Vladímir Me…iar told the Hungarians that, ‘we should leave the past to the historians. Mutual trust and understanding will make the minorities a bridge, a connecting link instead of a problem’.2

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