Xpat Report: Universal Children’s Day In Hungary
- 1 Dec 2010 8:35 AM
20 November marked Universal Children’s Day, and the day on which the UN Assembly adopted two documents that were milestones in the fight for children’s rights: the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. The anniversary of these two events and the presentation of the Annual Report were held at the Parliamentary Commissioners’ Office in Budapest to mark the ocassion.
Prof. Dr. Máté Szabó, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Civil Rights (Ombudsman) presented his annual report about activities in the year 2009, and at the same time raised attention of the enormous and urgent work to be done in the forthcoming years for children in Hungary.
He also welcomed three high-esteemed guests who: Ian Harden, Secretary General of the European Ombudsman, Dr. Mária Herczog, member of CRC committee (Convention on the Rights of Children – UN), the president of Eurochild and Dr. Júlia Sziklay. After a short introduction, Dr. Máté Szabó emphasized in his speech the lack of a single institution in Hungary that deals constantly with the children’s rights and the inconveniences as well as the effects of such a situation on the Hungarian children. However, he was thoroughly optimistic toward the organization of an independent office on this very crucial issue in the next years based on similar examples in other EU Member States.
Ian Harden, highlighted the dissimilar focus of the European Ombudsman and the offices in the Member States. He warmly congratulated the staff of the Parliamentary Commissioners’ Office for its engaging and devoted work in ensuring the citizens’ rights as he remarked that the bulk of the real work is made in the Member States by the public authorities that respect and if necessary implement the rights of their citizens.
In the remaining time a summary of the Children’s Rights Project was given and numerous topics concerning this subject was touched upon. The basis of this project was the well-established task of the Ombudsperson to investigate any violations of constitutional rights and to initiate measures for their redress and the special Child Protection Act from 1997 as well, as that expressly made it a task of the Ombudsperson dealing for the citizens’ rights to protect children’s rights. The long-term aim of this project launched by Dr. Máté Szabó in 2008 is an enhanced enforcement of children’s interests and as a result the improvement of their weak social position.
In the period 2008-2010, the crucial problems regarding children’s rights were approached form diverse angles in order to have a balanced overview on the subject. In 2008, the central focus was on the education of the children who are at the same time the adults of the future society and whatever their knowledge is today, that is going to be the basis of the prosperity of the country. It was stressed that human rights and children’s rights should be emphatically present in the curricula and the daily education as this is not only an EU requirement but also is considered a responsibility of the country.
To accomplish this goal the Parliamentary Commissioners’ Office created www.gyermekjogok.obh.hu , a website for children where they can learn in an extremely simple and clear way about their rights. It was also strongly argued on that the children’s knowledge of their rights is not harmful, it does not render the control of the parents or teachers but on the contrary, it helps the children in their mental development by offering them clear guidelines.
2009 brought with it investigative reports about the reasons of the violence against and the aggressive manifestations of the children with a study in the short- and long-term measures of prevention. 2010’s project puts in the center issues related to family and its role in protection of the children’s rights like the right to be raised in a family or the assistance the state can give to that.
Finally, it was pointed out that there has been a massive cooperation between various international organizations in this field so far, for example Eurochild (EU Network of Ombudspeople for Children), Visegrad 4 Cooperation, International and European Ombudsman Institute, UNICEF, UN or the Council of Europe that has its Youth Center here in Budapest.
Words by Ana Minadora Sbarci for Xpatloop.com
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