It is official, the Hungarian Ombudsman has been demoted by his foreign colleagues. The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights fell from category “A” to category “B”.
The World Federation of National Human Rights Institutions has decided to downgrade the Hungarian human rights state institution from category “A” to “B”, as reported by 24.hu.
It means that our Ombudsman no longer has voting rights and cannot hold office in the World Federation. Furthermore, it can only participate as an observer in Federation meetings and cannot actively participate in the work of the UN Human Rights Council.
“Kozma Ákos, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, and his office are failing to adequately address a range of human rights concerns, including violations against vulnerable ethnic minorities, LGBT+ people, refugees and migrants,”
the organisation says.
“It has failed to defend civilians, press freedom and the independence of the judiciary. It has not referred politically sensitive issues to the Constitutional Court. This also shows a lack of independence of the Ombudsman, according to the decision of the World Association of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI).”
The Helsinki Committee (Magyar Helsinki Bizottság) writes in a Facebook post that for the above-mentioned reasons, the Hungarian human rights state institution has been reclassified from category “A” to “B”.
“In our shadow report last year, written with the help of several NGOs, we analysed the Ombudsman’s activities in detail and came to the same conclusion as the organisations,”
the Helsinki Committee writes on their social media platform.
“He is now formally out of the prestigious club of ombudsmen who can be taken seriously,”
“The Ombudsman has had a good six months to demonstrate his independence to the GANHRI. […] How much does the downgrading hurt him? We don’t know, because he hasn’t even disclosed the fact to the public,”
their post says.
“However, as Hungarian citizens and civil rights defenders, we are also saddened by the downgrading of the Hungarian ombudsman institution. But it must also be seen that the decision of the world federation is based on the knowledge of the deplorable but real situation. In recent years, the Hungarian state itself […] has reduced the legal protection possibilities of citizens,”
the Helsinki Committee writes.
Source: 24.hu, 444.hu, Facebook/Magyar Helsinki Bizottság