According to Mikó Imre Minority Rights Legal Aid Service, Hunor Kelemen, the president of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR/RMDSZ) has been harassed for days in the Romanian media for declarations he made regarding the upcoming centennial of the 1918 Great Union, and is now facing threats from civil organisations, as well as individuals, who demand that his Romanian citizenship be taken away. Nationalistic rage is also rampant on social media, where the president of UDMR/RMDSZ is being labelled a traitor and a nobody, simply for expressing an opinion and reaffirming the position of the party, which was expressed numerous times beforehand.
In an interview that he gave last week, Hunor Kelemen declared, among other things, that the Hungarian community in Romania cannot and does not want to celebrate the centennial of the formation of the modern Romanian state. Spirits in the Romanian mainstream media instantly flamed up, with reporters and opinion-makers calling the president of UDMR/RMDSZ a traitor.
One organisation, the National Coalition for Modernising Romania, went as far as threatening to initiate the withdrawal of Kelemen’s Romanian citizenship. Such a measure would be both absurd and unconstitutional. First of all, as a citizen and as the president of UDMR/RMDSZ, Hunor Kelemen has the right to express an opinion and to speak in the name of his party. Secondly, according to the Constitution of Romania, one cannot be stripped of their citizenship, if he/she acquired that citizenship by birth. Not content with this, the organisation demanded that the Order of the Star of Romania be revoked from Hunor Kelemen, who, according to them, “questions the existence of the Romanian state, its laws, history, culture and national identity”.
Reactions on social media were also quick and more than hostile. An Orthodox priest from Vâlcele/Előpatak, Covasna County did not mince his words in a Facebook post, calling Kelemen “a nobody”, “an odious anti-Romanian and anti-Hungarian”. Proving once again that anti-Hungarian sentiment in Romania can be instantly triggered and spreads like wildfire, he echoed the opinion of the National Coalition for Modernising Romania: “You are not a citizen of Romania! You are nothing but a Mongoloid viper who puts venom in Romanian and Hungarian glasses.”
The executive president of UDMR/RMDSZ, Bálint Porcsalmi, declared in a statement that “it is unacceptable that one does not have the right to express an opinion in this country”. The freedom of expression should not be conditioned on one’s nationality or the content of an opinion, especially since these statements made by KELEMEN represent the views of the majority of the Hungarian population in Romania, and do not in any way offend the dignity of other persons. In a country where political pluralism as a principle and human rights in general are guaranteed in the Constitution, limitations to the freedom of opinion should not and must not be allowed.
Source: Mikó Imre Minority Rights Legal Aid Service