Statement of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights on the new procedures related to school readiness and petitions for the postponement of starting school, and the implementation thereof

Based on complaints lodged by parents, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights reviewed the procedure regarding the handling of requests to postpone starting school comprehensively, as well as the questions related to the practical implementation thereof, from both a fundamental rights and a children’s rights perspective. In his report, Ombudsman Dr. Ákos Kozma found numerous improprieties regarding the method of the implementation of the new procedure and the direct and indirect effects thereof, the uncertainties in the legal regulation, as well as the conduct of the Educational Authority and the expert committees involved, and he formulated recommendations for the competent ministry.

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Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Conducts On-site Inspection at Kalocsa Children’s Home

Based on the information that appeared in the press, as well as warnings from some of the MPs, with regard to the gravity of the concerns, Ombudsman Dr Ákos Kozma launched an ex officio inquiry into the operation of the Kalocsa Children’s Home, Primary School and Vocational School of the Special Children’s Home Centre, Primary School and Vocational School of the Ministry of Human Capacities, in order to clarify the circumstances.

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Responsibilities of the Equal Treatment Authority Are Taken Over by the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights

According to the provisions set out in Act CXXVII of 2020 adopted by the National Assembly, as of 1 January 2021, the responsibilities of the Equal Treatment Authority are taken over by the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights. In cases concerning equal treatment and the promotion of equal opportunities, the Ombudsman will proceed within the framework of administrative authority procedures, in accordance with the relevant procedural rules. Clients can turn to the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights in these matters in the usual ways.

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Ombudsman Takes Stand in Relation to His Visit Paid to the Guarded Refugee Reception Centre of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County Police Headquarters

At the Guarded Refugee Reception Centre of the Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County Police Headquarters, the unit appropriate for quarantining and isolating infected persons, which had been set up for detainees, was able to ensure proper placement for those affected throughout the pandemic. At the same time, Ombudsman Dr. Ákos Kozma found that the fact that detainees affected by health problems were not examined by a physician caused an impropriety related to the right to physical health. Moreover, due to the uncertainty of the outcome of the proceedings conducted by the aliens policing authority, and to their isolation from their families, the detainees were in poor psychological condition, which led to an impropriety related to their right to mental health.

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Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Takes Stand in Connection with Measures Taken by Tamási Police Department

In response to the challenges of the health crisis, the management of the Tamási Police Department satisfied the requirements aimed at the protection of both the detainees and the staff in the facilities affected by the execution of police apprehension, and adequately ensured the conditions that guarantee the enforcement of the detainees’ rights even under the circumstances of the health crisis, concluded Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Dr. Ákos Kozma.

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Ombudsman Takes Stand in Relation to His Visit to the Szombathely National Prison

At the Szombathely National Prison, the elderly and chronically ill detainees, belonging to the high-risk group for COVID–19 infection, were placed on one floor, separately from other detainees, for the purpose of their protection, and the time spent outdoors with physical activities was increased by one hour per day, taking advantage of the characteristics of the facility, Ombudsman Dr. Ákos Kozma concluded. All these measures were qualified as good practices by the OPCAT National Preventive Mechanism.

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Ombudsman Takes Stand in Relation to a Protracted Proceeding Concerning the Temporary Placement of a Child

The proceedings of the guardianship office of first instance and that of second instance, along with the latter’s interpretation of the law – which caused an impropriety related to the right to fair administration of official matters – violated the requirement of legal certainty and the principle of the best interests of the child. By their effects, they were also liable to cause an impropriety related to the child’s right to protection and care, as well as to pose an imminent danger thereto, Ombudsman Dr. Ákos Kozma concluded.

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Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Takes Stand in Relation to a Protracted Proceeding Concerning School Change

A protracted proceeding of the guardianship office of second instance concerning the school change of children caused an impropriety related to the right to fair administration of official matters. It violated the requirement of legal certainty and the principle of the best interests of the child, and, by its effects, it was also capable of causing an impropriety related to the children’s right to protection and care, as well as of posing an imminent danger thereto, Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Dr. Ákos Kozma concluded.

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Joint Message of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and His Deputies on the Occasion of Human Rights Day

Showing respect for human rights and thereby paying attention to one another and our community have never been so important as during the current coronavirus pandemic and the challenges entailed by it. On the occasion of Human Rights Day, Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Dr. Ákos Kozma, Deputy Commissioner, Ombudsman for the Rights of National Minorities Dr. Elisabeth Sándor-Szalay, and Deputy Commissioner, Ombudsman for Future Generations Dr. Gyula Bándi emphasise that humanity, solidarity, setting an example, and supporting our communities big and small are those foundations which human rights can rest upon.

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Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Takes Stand in Relation to the Handling of a Public Interest Disclosure

The Ministry of Finance caused an impropriety related to the principle of legal certainty, the right to fair administration of official matters and the right to petition in the course of handling a public interest disclosure that was received through the protected electronic system, the Ombudsman concluded. Dr. Ákos Kozma requested that the Minister of Finance take measures in order to prevent the future occurrence of the fundamental rights-related improprieties exposed.

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Message of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

More than being a “disability matter”, the active and independent living of persons with disabilities is a common issue for the whole society: we must create a social environment that can identify the real needs of people living with disabilities in all life situations, stressed the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights. According to Dr. Ákos Kozma, in order to effectively guarantee equal opportunities, it is not enough to prescribe it by law, but rather, it is the integrative mentality of society that can promote full-range integration. The Ombudsman calls attention to the importance of disability-focused measures and the promotion of a continuous change of attitude.

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National Assembly Adopts Report of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and His Deputies on Their Activities in 2019

The National Assembly adopted Report No. B/8769 on the activities of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and his Deputies in 2019, which had been discussed by the Parliament earlier on 4 and 30 November 2020. At that time, Ombudsman Dr. Ákos Kozma asked for cooperation in his afterword: “Honourable Parliament, let us work together as partners. Let us join forces in order to preserve the dignity of the ombudsman institution on the level that it is meant to occupy within the architecture of the rule of law. This cooperation rests on two pillars: on the one hand, the Ombudsman’s recommendations should be heeded, and on the other, no one should expect the Ombudsman to resolve daily political debates.”

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