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.
Today, in many countries around the world, we commemorate the decision of the World Health Organization (WHO), adopted on May 17, 1990, to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases. It was a big step forward towards freeing sexual minorities from having to live in hiding, bearing the stigma of a disease.
On May 3, 1791, the Polish Great Sejm adopted Europe's first modern written national constitution, the world's second, after the United States Constitution. The progressive Polish constitution introduced the institution of constitutional monarchy, guaranteed the separation of legislative, executive and judicial branches of power, provided for equality before the law and propagated the principle of equitable governance. Through codifying, at the highest possible level, the values of good government and good governance, the Polish nation took a step far ahead of its time.
On the International Roma Day we celebrate the Roma culture that has been enriching European and Hungarian civilization with its values and diversity for centuries. At the same time, this day reminds us of the opportunities and obligations we have to take and fulfill in order to protect our Roma compatriots' equal treatment and equal dignity, to guarantee equal opportunities for them.
On the occasion of World Water Day, Ombudsman for Future Generations Marcel Szabó called attention to the preservation of the unspoiled, wild water status of the Drava river, and to the importance of the more rational use of rainwater in agriculture.
UNESCO proclaimed March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 1966, commemorating that, on that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid in Sharpeville, South Africa. As the fight against racism, intolerance and discrimination is gaining ground internationally, the series of programs held during the European Action Week Against Racism is organized around this day. Between March 12 and 21 this year, several governmental organs, civil communities, schools, local governments and private citizens will express their commitment towards building a more tolerant society through some direct action: organizing or participating in an event, or simply conveying the message of the importance of solidarity in the fight against racism.
Every time we recycle a ton of paper we save 12 trees, spare our water resources and contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change. The first day of March, the Day of Recycled Paper, now also marks the starting day of "Save@Work – Energy Teams at the Workplace", an EU-wide competition aimed at saving energy. The Hungarian patron of the competition is Marcel Szabó, Ombudsman for Future Generations.
In the Ombudsman's view, there are not enough qualified media teachers in schools, understanding media is not a discipline in its own right in the National Core Curriculum (NCC), the specified number of classes and the professional contents are but recommendations, handling online abuse and the dangers of the internet are not dealt with. As a first step, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights has requested the Minister of Human Capacities to commission a comprehensive study assessing and analyzing the efficiency of media education, to introduce specialized teacher training with a curriculum also covering the topic of fending off online abuse.
Following the holidays, referring to the extreme cold weather of recent days, Commissioner for Fundamental Rights László Székely pointed out that it is a moral obligation and legal duty of everyone to lend a helping hand to those who are vulnerable and in need. No one should be left without substantive assistance and a roof above their head in this cold weather. According to the Ombudsman, the winter crisis period is the touchstone of solidarity, showing whether we are capable to pay due attention to those who are in continuous danger out in the streets or in places unsuitable for dwelling.