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Romania’s Ethnic Hungarians

1 April 1990

In December 1989, László Tokes, an ethnic Hungarian non-Conformist pastor in the Romanian city of Timişoara, defied the dread Securitate forces who came to evict him from his church. This action sparked the Romanian Revolution, resulting in the overthrow of Europe’s most brutal leader, Nicolae Ceauseseu.

The Hungarian minority and several others had reached their breaking point and could endure no more. The dawn of democracy was breaking in Eastern Europe in Ceauseseu’s Romania human rights violations continued – imprisonment and torture, minority groups denied public recognition of their language, culture, education and religion, communities threatened by mass eviction and demolition of villages.

Please note that the terminology in the fields of minority rights and indigenous peoples’ rights has changed over time. MRG strives to reflect these changes as well as respect the right to self-identification on the part of minorities and indigenous peoples. At the same time, after over 50 years’ work, we know that our archive is of considerable interest to activists and researchers. Therefore, we make available as much of our back catalogue as possible, while being aware that the language used may not reflect current thinking on these issues.

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Georges Schöpflin

Hugh Poulton