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The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Launches Ex Officio Inquiry in Relation to the Situation Caused by COVID-19 Infection in Nursing Homes for the Elderly

Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Dr. Ákos Kozma has launched an ex officio inquiry in relation to the situation having evolved due to COVID-19 infections in nursing homes for the elderly, with a special focus on the enforcement of the fundamental right to life and human dignity.

The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights handles fundamental rights-related questions affecting senior citizens as a priority at all times. Due to their fragility and sometimes extreme vulnerability, the elderly require special treatment in all respects, the protection of their fundamental rights is thus a key responsibility for the Ombudsman.

As it has been commonly known since the beginning of the present state of danger, the new type corona virus infections pose a heightened danger of infection to the elderly and those living with chronic diseases. In light of the fact that the press has recently reported about the infection of numerous senior residents in several nursing homes with the new type corona virus, Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Dr. Ákos Kozma has ordered a comprehensive inquiry. The Ombudsman will scrutinize the situation that has evolved in these institutions in relation to the COVID-19 infection, with a special focus on the enforcement of the fundamental right to life and human dignity.

In the course of the ex officio inquiry, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights has contacted the heads, as well as the maintainers, of the following institutions: Pesti Street Nursing Home of the Municipality of Budapest (one of the nursing homes looking after the highest number of elderly residents in Hungary, and also, the institution in charge of the methodological direction of all nursing homes maintained by the capital), Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok County “Fehér Akác” Nursing Home in Jászapáti, Migazzi Nursing Home of the Catholic Charity Service in Verőce, and the Care Centre Nursing Home in Zalaegerszeg. Following the evaluation of the responses provided by the institutions contacted, the Ombudsman will inform those concerned about his fundamental rights-related observations, remarks and the conclusions of the inquiry with a view to enhancing the efficient protection of the rights of the elderly residents living in such care institutions.