null Message of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary on World Children’s Day

“Every child is important, as is every right of the child: to protect and ensure them is a fundamental obligation of the state. Our common responsibility lies in creating a better, more liveable, child-centred future”, as Ombudsman Dr. Ákos Kozma reminds us on World Children’s Day. The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary believes that amidst the increasing challenges of our days such as war conflicts, the global climate change, as well as skyrocketing digital development, even more attention should be paid and even more resources should be allocated to the well-being of children, the protection of their mental health and hearing their opinions. 

We celebrate children’s rights and also, children in general, on 20 November each year all over the world. We commemorate the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child with great respect and appreciation, which has clearly not only created a catalogue of children’s rights but also, is one of the most important and most successful examples for the international protection of human rights. It should be stressed that it is not simply a human rights document which can serve as a basis for the legal systems of many states with regard to children’s rights. The truth is that every human and every child can identify with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in such a way that the exercising and the limitability of children’s rights are the inevitable sources of disputes and compromises. This is why it is of key importance to ensure that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is in fact accessible to everybody, so they can get acquainted with the rights and principles enshrined therein.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is a standard and a point of reference, which makes it clear that every child is a human with genuine and enforceable rights from the day of his or her birth but also, one who cannot be a mere instrument or subject of a decision. Every year, it should be pointed out that children are not small adults but they are not humans without rights or capacities either: children are humans with their own rights, dignity, will and personality, who deserve respect, attention and appreciation. In the case of children’s rights, it is of key importance that both the parents and the state allow the children to exercise them in harmony with their unfolding abilities, so that children can make their voices heard. All such initiatives and proposals are welcome and are to be supported which wish to involve children in a meaningful dialogue about our common causes and future, in harmony with their age. 

In Hungary, it is the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights who is responsible for safeguarding the rights of the child. It is the Ombudsman’s responsibility to continuously monitor the fulfilment of the international legal obligations with regard to children’s rights, in addition to which he also promotes the professional dialogue related to children’s rights and he takes constructive participation in finding the answers.  Thus, the Ombudsman pays special attention to the protection of children’s rights in 2023 as well, be they related to children raised in their families or in state care, educational, health care issues, or children with disabilities.

In 2023, the Ombudsman has conducted four inquiries, concluded by a report, that monitored the operation of a children’s home, a residential care home or a special children’s home by paying unannounced visits in the wake of a petition or a signal. This year saw the publication of a comprehensive report as well, in which the Ombudsman formulated numerous recommendations and proposals with regard to the care to be provided to children in state care or foster care. Furthermore, in his report, the Ombudsman dealt with the questions of the regulation of special diet public catering in nursery schools, as well as the education of special needs children in separate SNI groups in play schools. In addition to this, a report was issued on imposing the disciplinary measure of expulsion from school of a school age child, as well as the evaluation of the parents’ petition to the operator, and also, on ensuring the transportation of a special needs child to school.