Hungarian Commissioner for Fundamental Rights László Székely, Slovakian Public Defender of Rights Jana Dubovcová, Czech Public Defender of Rights Anna Šabatová and Polish Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights Stanisław Trociuk met in Visegrád, a symbolic location of the V4 countries’ common history, in order to share their experiences in protecting the rights of the most vulnerable groups of society.
They discussed such issues as the enforcement of the rights of future generations and nationalities, the situation of the disabled, the homeless and the detainees, i.e., the most vulnerable groups in general, and various methods of the protection of rights.
Although the issues of migration have a varying impact on the countries of the V4, special attention was paid to the handling of the developments of recent months, to how the ombudsmen can facilitate, within their statutory competence, the enforcement of the migrants’ and refugees’ human rights, the preservation of their human dignity.
The four ombudsmen adopted and issued a joint statement on the lessons learned in this process that may be of relevance even those countries which are not so gravely affected yet, and the human rights requirements related thereto.
An important message of the statement is that, although discussions on the medium and long-term treatment of the refugee situation are legitimate and important, one should see the human being, entitled to human dignity, in each and every refugee, irrespective of their legal status.
The ombudsmen’s regular meetings fit into the system that was initiated by Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia back in 1991 under the name of Visegrád Cooperation.
With the formation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, this organization of cooperation was expanded in 1993.
The Ombudsmen of the V4 meet annually to discuss the current state of human rights protection since 2004.
„People first”, the joint statement issued by the four Ombudsmen may be read here.