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Ombudsman Nominee Vows to Focus on Children’s Rights, Climate Protection, Biodiversity

MTI-Hungary Today 2019.07.02.

Ákos Kozma, the nominee to become Hungary’s next ombudsman for fundamental rights, has vowed to focus on children’s rights, climate protection and biodiversity during his time in office.

At his hearing before a joint session of parliament’s justice and sustainable development committees on Monday, Kozma said he wanted to be “everybody’s ombudsman”.

“We have to get out of the ivory tower,” he said.

Kozma identified the protection of children and people in need as his priorities.

In response to a question, Kozma underlined the importance of working with civil organisations. As the ombudsman nominee, however, he declined to comment on political decisions on issues like climate change.

Kozma, who has served as the deputy head of the Independent Police Complaints Board since 2010, said that though he believed the ombudsman’s office in Hungary was doing its job well, he would look into how the institution is run in other parts of Europe and take over practices his office finds useful.

The ombudsman is elected by a two-thirds vote in parliament for a six-year term and may be re-elected once. The current ombudsman, law professor László Székely, has held the position since September 2013.

Kozma is an expert in constitutional law and held government positions during the first Orban government between 1998 and 2002.

Featured photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI