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Novák Katalin portré 01

Women's crying voice for peace gets more attention in the world

Women’s crying voices for peace gets more attention in the world, that even the thunder of guns can't drown them out – said President of Hungary Katalin Novák in an interview published in the newspaper Kelet-Magyarország (Eastern Hungary) on Saturday. The interview was given on the occasion of her visit to Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County.

In the newspaper, the Head of State stressed: "we feel what it means when our sons and husbands are sent off to war. And my goal is to prevent that generations should have to experience the horrors of war".

As she said, "our most important priority is peace as soon as possible". She believes that in the Ukrainian war, both the parties themselves and those who support them raised false hopes. As long as they refuse to recognise that they will not achieve their goals for the war we cannot expect them to show an intention to make peace – the President stressed.

She recalled that in the more than a year since the beginning of the war, one and a half million refugees have arrived in Hungary, who first experienced the unity of the Hungarians in supporting them in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county.
"For over a year now, helpers have been standing their ground day after day. I can only speak with pride, both at home and abroad, of this sacrifice that transcends ordinary human capacities" – the President of Hungary said, adding that "through the way Hungarians are standing up for the refugees, the country is showing its best face, and that inspires respect".

"Wherever I visit, I always bring up the 150 thousand strong Hungarian community living in Transcarpathia. The war impacts them directly, many are grieving their sons, husbands, fathers. Families have been torn apart " - said Katalin Novák.

She added that the situation of the residents of Transcarpathia was difficult in several ways before the war already, but their grievances have only exacerbated since then. The minority rights of the Hungarian community – restricted as they were – have been curtailed even further. Many heads of state are unaware that there is a Hungarian national community in Ukraine, whose members are law-abiding Ukrainian citizens, working, contributing to Ukraine's economy, and many fighting in the war, while holding on to their Hungarian mother tongue, traditions, culture and identity." We are helping them in preserving and cherishing this heritage " – the President said, and then added: she would like to make as many as possible familiar with this side of the coin.

Speaking of her visit to Kiev, she explained: one of her goals was precisely to strengthen the positions of those in Transcarpathia. Accepting the invitation of the Ukrainian President, she took the opportunity to reassure the President in person as well that "as the invaded party, they can count on us, their neighbour".

Hungary stood up for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty right at the beginning, condemns Russian aggression and holds that the invasion of a sovereign state is unacceptable – she said. "in addition to all this, we have been helping the refugees beyond our means " – the President of Hungary added. She made it clear: guaranteeing the rights of the Hungarian minority is a request and a demand independent of the war. These rights must not be restricted either now or in the future. "Unfortunately, we are not yet in a good position in this area," said the Head of State.

In the interview, Katalin Novák also explained that the war imposes a dual responsibility on decision makers. On the one hand, the front must be monitored continuously, and every occasion must be grasped to launch talks for peace. On the other hand, decision-makers should not focus on the war alone, they should not neglect other areas of life, either. "I myself live in this duality: on the one hand, there is the war in Ukraine, on the other, I keep watching families, the disadvantaged, women" – she added. " I see the mandate of President as a spotlight in my hands to focus public attention on places and issues that are not getting enough light and attention," she added.

Regarding family allowances she said that protecting and helping families is a lot more than family allowances.
"For all of us, the most determining space is the family, where we start our lives from, a safe place to rely on, where we find shelter, what we can cling on to, it is the family where we can get the most help and strength wherever life may take us. That is why I encourage young people to take on the responsibility of a family when they are ready," she said.

She added that Hungary’s family-friendly policies over the past decade have produced results unmatched elsewhere in the Western world. Marriages have doubled, childbearing has increased, divorces and abortions are fewer, and although the coronavirus epidemic and the war increased uncertainties, these measures counter even such trends.