null IOI European Regional President and Slovenian Ombudsman Visit Hungarian–Ukrainian Border in Company of Dr. Ákos Kozma

In the company of Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Dr. Ákos Kozma, Greek Ombudsman and President of the European Region of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) Mr. Andreas Pottakis and Slovenian Ombudsman Mr. Peter Svetina and his Deputy paid a visit to the Hungarian–Ukrainian border section to gather information about the current situation of the people fleeing from the war, the circumstances of their reception and the measures taken to help them. As of 17 March 2022, the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights (OCFR), which is a National Human Rights Institution accredited by the UN, will provide direct support to the refugees fleeing the war at its information point set up in Beregsurány.

Mr. Andreas Pottakis, Mr. Peter Svetina and Dr. Ákos Kozma visited the OCFR’s temporary regional office set up at the Záhony railway station, the Záhony-Čop (Csap) border crossing point and the Beregsurány reception point, where the Hungarian Ombudsman opened another OCFR temporary regional office.

Dr. Ákos Kozma presented the measures taken to help refugees arriving in Hungary, fleeing the war in Ukraine, and the operation of the temporary regional office of the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights in Záhony and the experience gained there so far. Dr. Kozma underlined: “Our staff members have been continuously working on-site since the outbreak of the crisis, providing administrative assistance and legal counselling to those arriving in Hungary through Záhony. Our Office has not received any complaints to date, but numerous refugees have asked for help with issues related to their travel documents or employment in Hungary. Many ask for non-legal type assistance as well. Our staff members have also helped volunteers to organize transport to Budapest and find accommodation for refugees. Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, more than 438,000 refugees have arrived in Hungary. In order to be able to provide direct assistance to as many people as possible, we are opening another temporary regional office at Beregsurány today.”

“It is always difficult and heart-wrenching to visit a site where we are faced with a humanitarian crisis, and we meet numerous people fleeing a war. I have expressed my appreciation to Ombudsman Dr. Ákos Kozma for all the efforts and work that the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights has been doing so far to provide direct assistance to the refugees coming to Hungary from Ukraine. I have assured the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of the IOI’s continued support, and as the Ombudsman of Greece, I would like to give all legal, financial and humanitarian help possible to the Hungarian ombudsman institution”, Mr. Andreas Pottakis emphasized. He has been regularly informing the member organisations of the International Ombudsman Institute about issues concerning the refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine on the basis of the information received from Dr. Ákos Kozma.

The IOI, founded in 1978, is the only global organization that promotes cooperation between nearly 200 independent ombudsman institutions of more than 100 countries all over the world.