Showing respect for human rights and thereby paying attention to one another and our community have never been so important as during the current coronavirus pandemic and the challenges entailed by it. On the occasion of Human Rights Day, Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Dr. Ákos Kozma, Deputy Commissioner, Ombudsman for the Rights of National Minorities Dr. Elisabeth Sándor-Szalay, and Deputy Commissioner, Ombudsman for Future Generations Dr. Gyula Bándi emphasise that humanity, solidarity, setting an example, and supporting our communities big and small are those foundations which human rights can rest upon.
Traffic information should be provided to passengers in compliance with the right to a healthy environment, concluded the Ombudsman. Fully accepting the life-protecting function and inevitability of audio passenger information, Dr Ákos Kozma requested MÁV Zrt’s (Hungarian State Railway) President-CEO to order a comprehensive inspection with regard to the passenger information equipment of Balatonszéplak-felső railway station, to find out whether it is justified to communicate all the currently provided traffic information through a loudspeaker during the night, in the interests of those living in the vicinity of the stations and stops.
It caused a grave impropriety with regard to the right to education, what is more, it is non-compliant with the principle of the child’s best interest procedure either that the management of the school in Szellő utca, Budapest, did not ensure the special treatment defined in the respective expert opinion, which would have supported the child’s education adjusted to his condition, for a complainant’s special needs child, as was established by the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, Dr Ákos Kozma. Among others, he proposed to the head of the North Budapest Education District that the parent’s complaint regarding the measure taken by the school management be assessed according to the relevant laws in the future and that they fully cooperate with the Ombudsman’s inquiries, furthermore, that they ensure the creation of the conditions necessary for the education of the complainant’s child, and those necessary for the fulfilment of the recommendations specified in the expert opinion of the expert committee.
The Ministry of Finance caused an impropriety related to the principle of legal certainty, the right to fair administration of official matters and the right to petition in the course of handling a public interest disclosure that was received through the protected electronic system, the Ombudsman concluded. Dr. Ákos Kozma requested that the Minister of Finance take measures in order to prevent the future occurrence of the fundamental rights-related improprieties exposed.
More than being a “disability matter”, the active and independent living of persons with disabilities is a common issue for the whole society: we must create a social environment that can identify the real needs of people living with disabilities in all life situations, stressed the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights. According to Dr. Ákos Kozma, in order to effectively guarantee equal opportunities, it is not enough to prescribe it by law, but rather, it is the integrative mentality of society that can promote full-range integration. The Ombudsman calls attention to the importance of disability-focused measures and the promotion of a continuous change of attitude.
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.”
Budapest Business School (BGE) violated the principle of the rule of law and caused an impropriety related to the right to a fair procedure of the students concerned when upon modifying the internal regulations of the institution pertaining to reclassification based on the new educational requirements, it disregarded the transitional provisions of the National Higher Education Act (“Nftv.”) that provide guarantee, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights concluded. Dr. Ákos Kozma asked the rector of BGE to ensure that the internal documents of the institution fully regulate the reclassification of students in accordance with the legal regulations in force.
One hour per day outdoors time was ensured for each detainee, and education and religious life also resumed despite the epidemic at the Szeged Strict and Medium Regime Prison. Furthermore, almost all of the detainees used the possibility of keeping contact on the internet, or communicated with their relatives on the phone, as was established by the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, Dr Ákos Kozma.
In their joint statement published on the occasion of White Monday, i.e. the first day of the European Week for Waste Reduction, Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Dr. Ákos Kozma and Deputy Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, Ombudsman for Future Generations Dr. Gyula Bándi call attention to the importance of conscious consumption, the constitutional obligation of the careful use of our natural resources, and the key role of circular economy in achieving sustainable development.
The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights calls attention to the everyday struggles of the most vulnerable members of society, i.e. persons living with intellectual disability, during the coronavirus pandemic, thus to their difficulties in observing the rule of wearing masks and keeping social distance. On this occasion, Dr Ákos Kozma also welcomes the latest government decree of 19 November, which allows divergence from the general pandemic protection rules for persons with autism.
“In times of distress, epidemics and other sorts of crises, children’s rights and the mentality we adopt with respect to child-related matters become even more crucial”, Dr. Ákos Kozma underlines on World Children’s Day. The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights draws attention to the fact that children’s rights are not claims but constitutional norms that are prompted by the legitimate considerations and fundamental needs of the children.
Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Dr. Ákos Kozma, Deputy Commissioner, Ombudsman for the Rights of National Minorities Dr. Elisabeth Sándor-Szalay, and Deputy Commissioner, Ombudsman for Future Generations Dr. Gyula Bándi call attention to the multiple significance of the World Day of Sanitation, and its interconnectedness with life and human dignity, sustainability and climate change.