Let us all help and pay attention - in this cold, windy, freezing weather we should take better care of each other and our fellow men who are vulnerable and in need

In connection with the extreme cold weather coming this week, Commissioner for Fundamental Rights László Székely has once again called attention to State and society's moral and legal obligation to lend a helping hand to people who are vulnerable and in need. In such weather no one should be left out in the cold, without help and a roof above their head. According to the Ombudsman, the winter crisis period is a test of whether and how solidarity works, i.e., whether we can pay enough attention to those who are in constant danger on the streets or at places unfit for habitation.

The Ombudsman pointed out that, although rendering assistance is primarily the task of the State and the local governments, members of society also bear responsibility for each other and, in particular, for their fellow citizens who are vulnerable and in need. During the cold days and nights of winter, solidarity, humanity and, in particular, paying attention to and helping the elderly, the sick and our fellow men may save lives. In order to save the homeless people in danger, the Commissioner suggested to call the Regional Dispatch Service of Shelter Foundation at 061-338-4186, accessible 24 hours a day. Should you see anyone in danger during this cold spell, do not be afraid to go and speak to them and, if necessary, call for help: you may save lives. The Commissioner emphasized that we should make prevention a common cause if we do not want this winter period be accompanied by tragedies.

The Commissioner also added that, in addition to the homeless living on the streets, we also have to pay attention to those people whose habitation is apparently solved, but who are in grave danger living alone in their unheated homes, afraid or unable to ask for help. That is why László Székely asked everyone to render active assistance: to pay more attention to those living around us, to the elderly who are vulnerable and living alone, to the sick and to the homeless on the streets. The Ombudsman suggested that central and local governmental organs should pay more attention to the operation of the warning system and, if needed, establish a monitoring service. In order to comply with the State's obligation to protect human life, the State and the local governments should use any and all means at their disposal and cooperate more actively with organizations providing public services and civil organizations.

Just like in previous years, during the winter, in January and February, the colleagues of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights are going to conduct on-the-spot inspections in order to assess the operation of the capital city's homeless care infrastructure, and the Commissioner will publish a comprehensive report on their findings. The Ombudsman also wishes to monitor, this year as well, the implementation of the measures taken in compliance with his recommendations made in previous years.