The Hungarian Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights recently published the 2015 Annual Report.
In 2015, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights’ priority areas of investigation were the protection and enforcement of the rights of children, the disabled and other vulnerable groups.
In addition to the areas prioritised by the Ombudsman Act, in 2015 the Commissioner launched investigations into several individual cases, based on concrete complaints, as well as ex officio. These were organised around three large thematic areas of fundamental rights: Right to life and human dignity; Social rights – right to social security, health and education; and the enforcement of rule of law requirements and fair proceedings.
8,240 complaints were submitted to the Office in the year under review. This, on the one hand, is a regretful fact, as over eight thousand citizens felt that their fundamental rights have been violated. On the other hand, this high number expresses the trust of the public seeking their right towards the operation of the Commissioner and his Office.
The Parliament discussed the Report indepth, as it does annually, before passing a decision on its authorization (last year with a convincing majority). It is important to have the opportunity, together with the Deputy Commissioners, to present the work of the Commissioner before the competent Committees and publicly, before the plenary assembly. Having listened to the speeches of the members of Parliament evaluating their activities, they receive important feedback with regard to the future planning of their work.
Of the 274 recommendations drafted in the 140 reports prepared last year, the addressees accepted 158 initiatives and rejected them in only 36 cases. At the time of the closure of the data of the report, negotiations were still underway in 80 cases, thus the number of cases with favourable reception may even increase.
Following the reorganisation that took place in 2012, the task of the Deputy Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, the Ombudsman for the Rights of National Minorities is to help the execution of the Commissioner’s tasks related to national minorities.
During last year, the Ombudsman for the Rights of National Minorities executed her informative and outreach tasks through different channels – on-site investigations, papers read at Hungarian and international, professional and scientific public events, lectures dispersing knowledge, interviews. She engaged in several international events as well as performing monitoring work for international organisations. Some of the priorities of the Ombudsman for the Rights of National Minorities were: complaints related to the co-decision license and institution maintainer tasks of national minority self-governments; supporting the educational institutions run by the reorganised national minority self-government; the regulation on educational segregation; and self-government measures affecting segregated residential areas – the “Miskolc case”.
The work and the mandate of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and his Office are determined by Article 30 of the Fundamental Law of Hungary adopted in 2011 and based on the Act CXI of 2011 on the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, both which enter into force 1st January 2012. Following the relevant regulations, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights is the legal successor of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Civil Rights, who ensures the effective, coherent and most comprehensive protection of fundamental rights and in order to implement the Fundamental Law of Hungary.
In the course of his activities the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights shall pay special attention to the protection of the rights of children, the interests of future generations, the rights of nationalities living in Hungary, and the rights of the most vulnerable social groups.