National Assembly Adopts Report of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and His Deputies on Their Activities in 2019

The National Assembly adopted Report No. B/8769 on the activities of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and his Deputies in 2019, which had been discussed by the Parliament earlier on 4 and 30 November 2020. At that time, Ombudsman Dr. Ákos Kozma asked for cooperation in his afterword: “Honourable Parliament, let us work together as partners. Let us join forces in order to preserve the dignity of the ombudsman institution on the level that it is meant to occupy within the architecture of the rule of law. This cooperation rests on two pillars: on the one hand, the Ombudsman’s recommendations should be heeded, and on the other, no one should expect the Ombudsman to resolve daily political debates.”

In addition to processing a total of 5,693 submissions received in the reporting year, the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights also issued as many as 57 reports in 2019, of which 19 put forth a legislative proposal, and 16 dealt with issues relating to the rights of the child. In 2019, the National Assembly sent 108 pieces of draft legislation to the Office for preliminary opinion, while 368 petitions were submitted to the Office through the electronic system for public interest disclosures, which meant a 20% increase over the year 2018. Within the framework of the National Preventive Mechanism, the staff members of the Office paid 10 unannounced visits to various institutions in 2019, where they inspected the detention conditions of as many as 3,167 persons.

In his speech on his activities carried out in 2019, delivered to the Parliament in November, Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Dr. Ákos Kozma reminded the MPs of the following: “The ombudsman institution is the fine-tuner of the modern rule-of-law state and democracy. It is not a branch of power in the traditional sense but rather, a new and modern institution with vested power that presupposes the high-level functioning of the rule of law. Our report has been prepared in the spirit of earnestness: it includes both our achievements and failings, also highlighting those issues that we will have to keep working on in the future, in order to refine certain elements of state functioning and the operation of public services.”