null Dr. Ákos Kozma Gives Talk at European Network of Ombudsmen Conference

On 27 April 2022, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights gave a talk and took part in a panel discussion at a conference organized by the European Network of Ombudsmen in Strasbourg under the title “The role of Ombudsmen in times of crisis – Sharing best practices for helping refugees fleeing from Ukraine”. At the conference, the participants discussed – among others – the circumstances of the reception of those fleeing to Europe from the war in Ukraine, and the measures taken to assist them more efficiently.

In addition to Ombudsman Dr. Ákos Kozma, the board of panellists included European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly, Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova, Romanian Ombudsman Renate Weber, and Mayor of Strasbourg Jeanne Barseghian. In his talk, Dr. Ákos Kozma underlined the following: “The war currently raging in Ukraine is traumatic and deeply shocking for all reasonable people in Europe and all over the world. All of this, however, must not paralyse us: we must stay committed to the protection of human rights in this situation as well. We must show active solidarity: we must help and support all the victims of the war, the persons fleeing their country, both individually and as a community. Ever since I entered into office, it has been my personal conviction that actions and personal presence must complement our human rights related messages. I consider it a key priority to ensure that in these extraordinary times, the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights provide direct legal and humanitarian assistance to as many people as possible who come to Hungary as they flee from the war in Ukraine. Therefore, I am continuously and personally monitoring the evolution of the situation on the Hungarian–Ukrainian border. In the days following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, we opened a temporary regional office at the railway station in Záhony, then in March, we set up Ombudsman information points in Beregsurány and also at the humanitarian transit point established by the Hungarian government in the BOK Sports Hall in Budapest. The crisis has been going on for two months now, and our staff members have been continuously working on the ground ever since its outbreak. They have been helping the Ukrainian refugees in administrative matters, providing legal counsel and essential information to them personally, while also informing them about the possibility to submit a complaint regarding the violation of their fundamental rights.”