In my capacity as the Deputy Commissioner for the Rights of National Minorities in Hungary, I find it highly important to commemorate the historical events that had shaped the identities of the state-creating nationalities living together in Hungary. The Day of Hungarian-Polish Friendship is in the rank of such special events, on the occasion of which we celebrate the historical friendship between the two nations on March 23rd each year. The relevant decision was adopted by the Hungarian National Assembly and the Polish Sejm in March 2007.
Registered partners shall be entitled to the same tax and duty allowances that are guaranteed by the law to married couples, concluded the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights while investigating a petition submitted by a civil society organization. The Ombudsman also warned that the Ministry for National Economy (MNE) and the National Tax and Customs Administration (NTCA) levy a significant duty on real property received as a gift or inherited by a widowed registered partner as a result of incorrect interpretation of the law.
In connection with the extreme cold weather coming this week, Commissioner for Fundamental Rights László Székely has once again called attention to State and society's moral and legal obligation to lend a helping hand to people who are vulnerable and in need. In such weather no one should be left out in the cold, without help and a roof above their head. According to the Ombudsman, the winter crisis period is a test of whether and how solidarity works, i.e., whether we can pay enough attention to those who are in constant danger on the streets or at places unfit for habitation.
Ombudsman László Székely has called attention to the importance of preventing the sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation of children, of increasing their protection and providing help to the victims. According to the Commissioner, these continue to be among the most pressing tasks of child protection. In addition to deepening professional cooperation, child-friendly hearings in judicial procedures, based on the exemplary Barnahus model, should be introduced as soon as possible, and more attention should be paid to true and real sexual education of children.
On the 9th and the 10th of November 2016 the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights is hosting a seminar organised by Equinet, focusing on the fight against discrimination on grounds of race and ethnic origin.
With the winter season approaching, the Ombudsman for future generations, having drawn the conclusions from the experiences of previous winters, has requested the Mayor of Budapest to implement the full range of restrictive measures aimed at improving information for the citizens of Budapest and reducing air pollution in the event of a smog alert.
In exercising his capacity to initiate legislation, the Ombudsman for future generations proposes to amend the draft Code of Civil Procedure in order to introduce the legal concept of class action also to cases when the infringement of a right is caused by environmental pollution, including material and health damage resulting therefrom.
Several investigations have been conducted recently into issues concerning the rights of the child, including problems related to the activities of schools, children's homes, the foster parents' network and the guardianship offices. Fundamental-rights-based monitoring of institutions performing child protection tasks, e.g., special homes, institutions providing care to children with dual needs and transitional educational institutions, is carried out regularly both ex officio and upon a complaint lodged with the Office.
Based on his own experience, Ombudsman László Székely deems highly commendable the earliest introduction in Hungary of the new, innovative method of interviewing children, based on the "Barnahus" model. The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights invited the experts concerned to a meeting in his Office after having looked deeper into the results of a recent pilot project conducted in Szombathely adopting the Icelandic model.
According to some media reports and complaints lodged with Elisabeth Sándor-Szalay, Ombudsman for the Rights of National Minorities, in the course of 2015 several Hungarian citizens and families of Roma nationality could not depart for Canada irrespective of the fact that they had valid travel documents and air tickets in their possession. They were prevented from departing before boarding the plane, usually in the following manner: in front of the check-in counters persons with unknown authorization picked out people from among the passengers waiting in the queue and, following a short conversation, refused to check them and their luggage in, effectively preventing them from boarding the plane.