Hungary is coming under increasing international pressure over the Russian-Ukrainian war, but the Hungarian government’s position remains unchanged: it must stay out of the war, Gergely Gulyás, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, said at the Government Info in Budapest on Saturday. They also envisaged a review of child protection rules in connection with a recent case, when a teaching assistant was discovered bragging about a relationship with a minor on social media.
The minister said that that Europe was drifting towards war, and that Hungary was therefore under increasing international pressure to change its position on issues where it had taken decisions based on clear principles over the past year. Gulyás stressed that Hungary would continue to refrain from supplying weapons, will continue to push for a ceasefire and early peace talks, and to help refugees.
The government’s position that Russia is responsible for the war, that Russia violated international law and committed the aggression, has not changed, he said.
He added that Hungary was helping Ukraine financially and with humanitarian aid, However, he stressed, the government is convinced that there will only be losers in this war, and the longer the war goes on, the more lives will be lost and the more destruction will be caused. He warned that everything must be done to prevent the war from escalating.
Minister Gergely Gulyás during the press conference. Photo: MTI/Kovács Tamás
The minister also said that there was a specific case that had brought the issue of child protection back into the spotlight. When you see a teaching assistant abusing his position and the trust of students, it is intolerable and unacceptable,” he said. He added that to boast about it on social media was “downright sickening and stomach-churning. Anyone who does this to a 14-15 year old is clearly a pedophile and should be treated accordingly,” he stressed.
He said that, according to the information available, the former head of the school district had received a report about the perpetrator, not in connection with his school activities but in connection with a festival, therefore it was irresponsible not to have launched an investigation into the involved teaching assistant earlier.
He stressed that child protection rules need to be reviewed.
The authorities have been instructed by the Interior Minister to carry out a swift and thorough investigation in each case, adding that it is the task of the government and the governing party factions to review the legal and criminal law and tighten child protection rules.
He recalled that the number of cases of child pornography has been increasing in recent years, from 120 cases in 2017, to 261 last year.
To a journalist’ question whether the government in Budapest expect any further criticism from the EU at the planned tightening of the Child Protection Act, the minister replied he expected common sense to prevail in Brussels in this area, adding that the Hungarian government will not be overly concerned even in case they did receive any criticism. The physical and mental health of children must be protected, he emphasized.
He continued by saying that the school district was investigating whether the head of the institution had or could have had knowledge of what had happened, adding that the headmaster’s responsibility had not yet been established. As to whether the suitability of teachers would be investigated in the future to prevent similar incidents, he said that the vast majority of people do not have a sick predisposition. Anyone who wants to become a teacher and graduates from a liberal arts college would like to believe that they do not need to undergo any kind of examination.
Expressing his personal opinion, he said that it was not right that it was not a criminal offense for a 40-year-old man to have sexual relations with a 15-year-old child. It is also not okay if they are of different sexes, but even less so if they are of the same sex,” Minister Gulyás added.
Featured Photo: MTI/Kovács Tamás