Activities within the United Nations:
The Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights is one of the UN's International Human Rights Institutions

As a result of the accreditation proceedings conducted by the UN's International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions (ICC) in the spring of 2011, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Civil Rights, then since January 1, 2012, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights has safeguarded fundamental rights in Hungary as a status B human rights institution.

In the summer of 2013, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights requested the ICC Sub- Committee on Accreditation to conduct a re-accreditation procedure targeted at achieving status A, with a view to acknowledging the institution's full compliance with the so-called Paris Principles. At the Geneva meeting of the Sub- Committee on Accreditation of the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions held between October 27 and 31, 2014, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights proposed that status A be awarded to the institution. This proposal was not objected to by the Member States. Thus, the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights may undertake an active role, in possession of full voting rights, in the meetings of the regional organizations and sub-committees of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and those of GANHRI from the fall of 2014. Furthermore, the Office ensures the independent and professional supervision of the observance of fundamental rights in Hungary in compliance with the Paris Principles.

Key responsibilities:

  • human rights consulting or consultancy based on proceedings launched ex officio or upon request by a mandatory of the Government, the National Assembly, or another government body,
  • preparation and publication of position papers, recommendations and reports on human rights issues,
  • preparation of recommendations to promote the ratification of international treaties,
  • participation in adapting the Hungarian human rights regulations to the international treaties and the subsequent promotion of the efficient application thereof,
  • active involvement in the compilation of human rights reports,
  • cooperation with the Hungarian and international human rights organizations,
  • conducting research and education in the field of human rights,
  • raising awareness to human rights issues (with special regard to discrimination) and to infringements.

On 12th January, 2012, Hungary has joined to the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT) adopted in 1984. The Convention requires the establishment of independent bodies both on national and international levels, which execute regular visits in the detention institutions for verifying conditions therein.

The UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment became part of the domestic legal system as a result of the adoption of Legislative Decree 3 of 1988.

The Parliament adopted Act CXLIII of 2011 on the Promulgation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention (hereinafter referred to as the "Protocol"), aimed at the practical implementation of the ban on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, on October 24, 2011. The Protocol established a system within which independent international and national bodies may regularly inspect those places where people deprived of their liberty stay.

The system is built on the Subcommittee on Prevention, comprising 25 independent experts and operating under the auspices of the UN, and on the National Preventive Mechanism operated by the State Parties.

The Committee on Prevention, just as the National Prevention Mechanism, may inspect on‑the‑spot the detention or imprisonment or the placement of a person in a public or private custodial setting which that person is not permitted to leave at will by order of any judicial, administrative or other authority. The competences of the Subcommittee on Prevention and the National Preventive Mechanism are identical.

As of January 1, 2015, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights shall proceed as National Preventive Mechanism either personally or with the cooperation of his colleagues. The tasks related to the National Preventive Mechanism shall be performed by at least eleven staff members of the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, all with an outstanding knowledge in the field of the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty or having at least five years of professional experience. Among the authorized public servant staff members, the number of the representatives of either sex may exceed that of the other by one at the most. Among them there shall be at least one person who has been proposed by the Deputy Commissioner for Fundamental Rights responsible for the protection of the rights of nationalities living in Hungary and at least two persons each with a degree in law, medicine and psychology respectively.

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