In 2011 the activities of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights had to be carried out under the circumstances of crisis tendencies, where crisis management often generated debates on the interpretation of fundamental rights. Issues of social and labour law became major concerns, and the realisation of the rights of assembly and of the free expression of opinions became topical again. The crisis extended to such areas as health care or disaster management as well. All this often made it difficult for society to solve its conflicts, the fundamental rights aspects of which gave a special meaning to the rights protection function of the Ombudsman.
Certain provisions of the Act on Nationalities, which entered into force on 1 January 2012, are contrary to the Fundamental Law and restrict the fundamental rights of nationalities – the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights has requested the Constitutional Court to establish this and to annul the text parts indicated in his petition.
After the presentation of the Justitia Regnorum Fundamentum Awards (The Ombudsman Award) on 15th June, 2012, an exhibition of human rights posters, organised jointly with the UN Association of Hungary, was opened in the building of the Ombudsman's office in Nádor Street. Numerous international organisations contributed to the success of the exhibition, among others the European Ombudsman, EOI, the Council of Europe, FENTSA, UNHCR and UNICEF.
The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights has filed two inter-connected applications with the Constitutional Court on the new Acts on Family Protection and on Family Support. The Ombudsman underlines in both petitions that the law-maker may not exclude existing, functioning and recognised partnership relations from the concept of family because it constitutes an infringement of the rights of the persons concerned, and at times even of the rights of their children.
The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights requested the Constitutional Court to examine the provision of the Act on Electoral Procedure which limits in HUF 1 million per candidate the amount that can be used during the electoral campaign for Members of Parliament. The Ombudsman has invited the Constitutional Court to examine also a possible failure to act by the law-maker in connection with the control of the utilisation of campaign funds.
Prof. Máté Szabó has requested the Constitutional Court to annul several provisions of rules of law because in his view they violate the right to the protection of personal data or the right to access data of public interest.
The felling licences for the trees and bushes in the northern part of Kossuth Square in Budapest were issued without regard to the guarantees of publicity, transparency and legal certainty. On the initiative of the Deputy Commissioner responsible for the interests of future generations Ombudsman Máté Szabó has inquired into the circumstances.
It should not be of a coercive or punitive nature. There should be unified legal regulation, including that of the wages. Social security entitlements should be included. These are, among others, the points raised by the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights with the competent Minister in connection with the employment of convicted persons, mandatory since 1 January.
Legal regulation is incomplete, and the existing rules are unclear. There is no unified practice for collecting data, no common understanding on definitions, nor are there well-defined obligations for which anyone could be held accountable and through which the State, families and civil society organisations could decrease the number of missing children. In a comprehensive, ex officio investigation the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights has asked those responsible about the reasons for children missing or playing truant, about the ways of prevention and intervention, about the measures taken to deal with the children concerned, and about how professionals working in the field see these problems.
The Ombudsman does not agree with the proposed Bill that aims to prevent truancy with law enforcement measures and would make it possible that educational institutions employ school guards empowered to apply even physical coercion. Máté Szabó requests that the draft be rewritten.
There is no matrimonial property between partners and they are not obliged to maintain each other or each others' children. In the case of spouses there is an obligation of maintenance and that is the reason why the level of family allowance is determined differently in case of spouses and partners raising each others' children. This was the argument of the Minister of National Resources, who rejected the Ombudsman's repeated proposal, that equal treatment of the two relationships be established by amending the relevant Act.
The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights requested the Constitutional Court to examine and annul certain Provisions of the Media Law because the rules on the election and the termination of the mandate of the Hungarian Media Authority and of the President of the Media Council raise concern on several points.