On 3 October 2023, chaired by Ombudsman Dr. Ákos Kozma, the inaugural meeting of the Disability Advisory Board, which consists of the representatives of the organisations active in various fields of disability in Hungary, was held in the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights. The Board assists the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary in performing his tasks related to the independent mechanism under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
In order to monitor the enforcement of the rights enshrined in CRPD on the national level, in compliance with the requirements set out in Article 33 of the Convention, the states parties shall establish such an independent national mechanism that is capable of assisting, safeguarding and controlling the implementation of the obligations of the member states and to assess, on a systemic level, the government measures and the efficiency thereof, with a view to enforcing the rights of persons with disabilities. This work is supported by the Disability Advisory Board, which consists of experts with outstanding theoretical knowledge or practical experience in the field related to the rights of persons with disabilities, as well as the delegates of organisations representing persons with disabilities and civil society.
“In addition to and beyond conducting the inquiries, I find it imperative to draw public attention to the situation of persons with disabilities. It is my goal to promote the enforcement of the rights of persons with disabilities, as well as the legal equality and equal opportunities of persons with disabilities by bringing up problems of a general nature and a fundamental rights aspect, by outlining the potential solutions, and in the wake of this, by remedying the individual complaints. I continuously monitor the situation of persons with disabilities, the social and economic developments, I follow the international human rights discourse, including the recommendations, policy statements, strategies and programmes formulated by the European Union, the UN and the Council of Europe at various forums. I believe that the special expertise of the members of the Disability Advisory Board will be able to significantly contribute to performing this highly responsible task”, as was stressed by Ombudsman Dr. Ákos Kozma in his welcome speech.
The Disability Advisory Board is made up of as many as 28 organisations, i.e. the delegates of national advocacy organisations of persons with disabilities and other organisations working for persons with disabilities, as well as those representing disability studies and the historic churches.
After his welcome speech, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights presented the criteria of setting up the Disability Advisory Board, the statutory requirements for its operation, the rules of procedure, furthermore, he provided information on the activity of the new organisational unit of the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights (AJBH) established for operating the independent mechanism under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), i.e. the Disability Directorate.
Then the members of the Board briefly introduced themselves and had an informal exchange of ideas.