On 15-16 December, 2022, the Ferenc Mádl Institute of Comparative Law, together with the Hungarian Association of Comparative Law, the Society for Children’s Rights within the framework of Children’s Rights Day convened a two-day conference on international children’s rights, which took place at the Sapientia College of Theology. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child introducing the definition of the child into the discourse about children’s rights formed the backbone of the conference. The conference was accompanied by an exhibition of graphic and verbal refections of children concerning children’s rights.
The interdisciplinary day of the two-day conference was opened by dr. Attila Beneda, deputy state secretary in family affairs of the Ministry of Culture and Innovation, and dr. Örs Jákó Fehérváry OSB, rector, associate professor of the Sapientia College of Theology of Religious Orders, together with dr. Márta Benyusz, president of the Association for Children’s Rights welcomed the attendees.
The welcome panel was moderated by Prof. Dr. János Ede Szilágyi, head of the Ferenc Mádl Institute of Comparative Law. On the first day of the conference dr. Erika Csermáné Váradi, associate professor and president of the Research Center for Alternative Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution in her lecture underlined the importance of communication, that was followed by an adult-child roundtable dialogue under the guidance of Bernadett Raposa psychologist and Roland Márkus SP.
The interdisciplinary day afterwards focused on the safety of children.
The panel „Safe in Church” was composed of several lectures. The speakers of the panel included Dr. László Gájer, head of department and professor of the Faculty of Theology of the Pázmány Péter Catholic University and child protection supervisor of the Esztergom-Budapest Diacese, Dr. Zita Rihay-Kovács, lawyer of the Privacy Protection Working Group of the Hungarian Evangelical Church, Dr. Zoran Devrnja, priest of the Serbian Orthodox Church and associate professor of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of the University of Belgrade, Dr. Benedek Dobszay OFM, OFM, leading advisor and monk attendant of the Human Dignity Strategy and Prof. Peter Beer, professor of the Institute of Anthropology of the Pontifical Gregorian University.
In the panel „Safe at School” Marianna Barcsák, head of institute of the Catholic Pedagogical Institute, Dr. Rita Uzsayné Pécsi, lecturer of the Apor Vilmos Catholic College and president of the Organic Pedagogy Assoociation and Krisztina Hunyady head of programme of the Metropolitan University of Budapest, person-centered mediator shared their thoughts.
The lecturers of the panel „Safe in the Family” included dr. Balázs Molnár, deputy president of the Maria Kopp Insitute and Dr. Katalin Visontai-Szabó assistant professor of the Faculy of Law of the University of Szeged
The participants of the roundtable discussion on „Safe in the Alternative Protection System included Dr. Éva Both, deputy director of the National Child Protection Authority, Dr. Krisztina Novák, leader of the Integrated Right Protection Service, János Kothencz, director general of the St. Ágota Protection Service, and Dr. Erzsébet Kovács Gulyásné, lecturer of the Sapientia College of Theology of Religious Orders.
The panel dedicated to the rights of children in the justice titled „Safe in the Courtroom” was led by Dr. Zsuzsa Wopera, ministerial commissioner of the Ministry of Justice and included as lecturers Dr. Katalin Ocskó, deputy president of the Budapest Capital Court, Dr. Adrienn Várai-Jeges, judge of the Pest Central District Court, and Dr. Éva Subasicz, attorney. Ana Samobor, assistant lecturer of the Faculty of Law of the University of Ljubljana also contibuted to the panel with a presentation.
The interdisciplinary day was concluded by a civil roundtable led by a child moderator, in which Dr. Viola Szlankó, the children’s right associate of the UNCEF, Dr. Lili Olláh, member of the presidency of the Civil Coalition for Children’s Rights and Zsuzsa Máthé, director of the St. Stephen Institute answered the Questions.
The international conference held on 16th December as part of the Children’s Rights Days, was opened the minister of Justice, Dr. Judit Varga, Prof. Dr. János Ede Szilágyi, head of the Ferenc Mádl Institute of Comparative Law and Prof. Dr. Csilla Csák dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Miskolc and president of the Hungarian Comparative Law Association.
The opening was followed by the keynote speech on children’s rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child delivered by Prof. Dr. Ton Liefaard, professor and vice dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Leiden. Afterwards Dr. Mária Herzog, president of the Family, Child and Youth Association and former member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in her speech spoke about the practical realization of the professional training and its challenges.
The thematic professional programme consisted of sections titled protection, provision and participation, in line with the triple categorisation of children’s rights.
Panel 1 on protection was moderated by Prof. Dr. Orsolya Ágnes Erdősné Szeibert, head of department of the Faculty of Law of Eötvös Lóránd University. The panel covered the issue of the role of the ombudsman for the rights of the child, as set out in the speech delivered by Mikolaj Pawel Pawlak, ombudsman for the rights of the child of Poland, as well the question of the relationship between canon law and children’s rights as exposed by Prof. Dr. Anzelm Szabolcs Szuromi O. Praem, Dsc. professor, head of department of Canon Law Postgradual Institute of the Faculty of Theology of Pázmány Péter Catholic University. Prof. Dr. Suzana Kraljić professor of the Faculty of Law of the University of Maribor spoke about the history, present and future of child marriages, then Agnieszka Tomczewska deputy director of the Ministry of Justice of Poland presented the legislative initiatives of the Ministry of Justice of Poland aimed to prevent domestic abuse. Katarzyna Zombori leading researcher of the Central European Academy of the University of Miskolc held a lecture concerning international family mediation, Dr. Ágnes Lux scientifc member of the Centre for Social Sciences spoke about the right of children to judicial remedy. Andjelija Tasić associate professor of the Faculty of Law of the University of Nis analyzed the issue of deprivation of the parental rights, while Dr. Dorina Csalár legal advisor of the National Media and Infocommunication Authority in her speech touched upon child protection in the digital sphere. The panel was closed by the lecture of Dr. Attila Lápossy assistant lecturer of the Faculty of Law of Eötvös Lóránd University.
In Panel 2 on caretaking, moderated by Dr. Katalin Visontai-Szabó assistant professor of the Faculty of Law of University of Szeged, the attendees could hear lectures on the right to education of children belonging to nationality and minority groups in view of the international and Hungarian experiences delivered by Prof. Dr. Erzsébet Sándor Dr. Szalayné deputy ombudsman in minority matters of the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, followed by Prof. Dr. Tímea Barzó head of department of the Faculty of Law of the University of Miskolc and president of the Central Europen Academy of the Uiversity of Miskolc who shared her precious views on the right to health self-determination of children, with special regard to the right to refuse mandatory vaccinations. Dr. Lilla Garayova vice dean of the Paneuropean University spoke about the right of children to play, then Dr. Erika Pehr Dr. Katonáné associate professor of the Faculty of Law of the University of Pécs deliverd her lecture concerning the right of the child to adoption. The panel was closed by Dr. Agnieszka Wedeł-Domaradzka assistant professor of the Faculty of Law of the Uniersity of Zagreb with her lecture on children’s rights in alternative protection.
In Panel 3 on participation Prof. Dr. Balázs Schanda judge of the Hungarian Constitutional Court and professor of the Faculty of Law of Pázmány Péter Catholic University spoke about the right of children to freedom of religion, Prof. Dr. Zsuzsa Wopera ministerial commissioner of the Ministry of Justice and head of department of the Faculty of Law of the University of Miskolc analyzed the right of the child to freedom of expression in family law litigation. Dr. Ivan Šimović assistant professor of the Faculty of Law of the University of Zagreb delivered a lecture on the right of the child to be heard in Croation family law and judicial practice, subsequently Dr. Martin Kornel associate professor of the Faculty of Law of the Masaryk University discussed children’s participation in Czech court proceedings regarding parental responsibility.
Prof. Dr. János Ede Szilágyi closed the colourful and meaningful event with his concluding thoughts and expressed his acknowledgements to the participants. All lecturers, attendees and the participating children endorsed their highest appreciation regarding the event that even more confirms the success of the conference, all of them evaluating it as indispensable. The high level of professional interest as percieved, univocally confirms for children’s rights professional that the possibility of this kind of thinking together can be the starting point of regular reunions in the future.
Programme of the event:program-angol-7
Videos of the presentations:
Other elements in the playlist:
Pictures from the first day:
Pictures from the second day:
Pictures from the exhibition:
Elements of the exhibition (age group 1 – toddlers):
Elements of the exhibition (age group 2 – lower grades):
The conference was supported by the National Cooperation Fund, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Bethlen Gábor Fund.