Our conference attracted a lot of participants

A joint conference of the Deputy Ombudsman for Nationalities and the Res Iudicata Association on the current challenges and opportunities to combat hate crime took place with particular interest.

On 8 December, more than 150 participants attended a hybrid conference (online and in person) entitled “Current challenges and opportunities to combat hate crime – with the tools and beyond of criminal law” at the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights. The joint professional event of the Secretariat of the Deputy Commissioner for the Protection of the Rights of Nationalities living in Hungary and the Res Iudicata Association was a unique event on the topic. Judges, prosecutors, lawyers and NGO staff working in the field had the opportunity to discuss their professional experiences and learn about the current challenges of the topic from academic experts.

The events of the past two years have transformed our global and local communities in many ways: the pandemic has been a challenge that has caused both direct economic and even more serious indirect social damage, and the war has further reinforced these trends. As a sad consequence of shortcomings in coping strategies at individual and community level, existential insecurity and increasing distance between social groups, we have seen in recent years a multidirectional expansion of acts motivated by prejudice, especially hate crimes. The European Union and its Member States have also sought to develop effective and long-term solutions to the new challenges, reassessing the efforts of legislators and enforcers to combat hate crime over the past decades. The aim of the conference was to get to know current EU and Hungarian trends and measures, to exchange experiences of law enforcement in the field of hate crime perception, and to discuss interpretive issues and options for action.

The event was opened by Dr. Ákos Kozma, Ombudsman for Fundamental Rights and Dr. Anna Madarasi , member of the board of our association, then the participants had the opportunity to listen to opening lectures by Dr. Szalayné dr. Sándor Erzsébet, Deputy Ombudsman of Nationality, Dr. Erzsébet Szalayné, on the practical role and further possibilities of ombudsman-type legal protection in combating hate crimes, and Dr. Ibolya Hirtling, a magistrate, on the topic “The response of criminal law to hatred”. Dr. Gergely Gosztonyi, associate professor at Eötvös Loránd University, presented the special areas of the topic in their presentations entitled “Hate speech on social media: regulatory frameworks and problems in Europe” and Dr. András László Pap, head of department of ELKH TK JTI, in their presentations entitled “The obligation to effectively combat hate crimes on the basis of international legal standards”.

After lunch break, Pawel Sawicki, press officer at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, delivered an online-streamed keynote speech (“Don’t let it happen again! – how remembrance helps against acts of hatred”) presenting the social effects of incitement to hatred based on horrific historical examples.

In the final module of the event, the experts shared their practical experiences with each other in an interactive expert roundtable discussion. The participants of the exchange of experience, moderated by Dr. Adrienn Laczó, member of the board of our association, were Dr.  Zoltán Gebe (head of the group, Central District Court of Buda), Dr. Borbála Ivány (expert, Working Group against hate crime), Dr. Ákos Kara (Head of Department, Ministry of Justice) and Dr. András Kondorosi (Deputy Prosecutor of Criminal Justice, Pest County Prosecutor’s Office), to whom Csilla Nagygyőr (Lieutenant Colonel, hate crime  line manager, ORFK) and Eszter Civil (lawyer, Háttér Society) joined.

The conference was closed by Dr. Szalayné Dr. Sándor Erzsébet, Deputy Ombudsman.

You can read the detailed summary of the event and view the full recording in the article on the www.nemzetisegijogok.hu website.

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