President Janos Ader said Hungary’s new constitution guarantees constitutional rights and catered for fourth generation human rights in his address of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.
Ader said he himself had lived under a dictatorship in his youth, and, the end of 1980s, the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain had brought a democratic transition to Hungary. The years of preparations for a peaceful transition after free elections had proven successful from the point of view of creating a constitutional state, he said.
In April 2011, Hungary filled a void by adopting a new Basic Law, which “as Europe’s youngest constitution, includes nearly all elements of the Charter of Human Rights, and the system of checks and balances established in 1990,” Ader said.
A new element is that the law sets constitutional barriers to reckless spending of public monies and to excessively ballooning the public debt, he said, adding that it provided guarantees for meeting international legal obligations and for keeping generally known rules of international law.
Ader said that Hungary’s new constitution adopted several so-called fourth generational basic rights. These include Article P, which states that “natural resources, especially the farmland, forests and the drinking water supplies, the biodiversity – in particular native plant and animal species – and the cultural assets shall form part of the nation’s common heritage; the State and every person shall be obliged to protect, sustain and preserve them for future generations.”
Ader mentioned especially the water supply, and how short-sighted and irrational it was the way “we pollute our waters”.
He said the illnesses caused by the lack of water and sanitation kill children with the same intensity as if a Boeing 747 full of children were to crash every four hours.
“Water management today makes international cooperation inevitable … without which tensions in supplies, social and health care, or even war can erupt,” he said.
Ader said that knowledge about the subject had been “with us for years, yet we are not making use of it.”
Hungary considers water and sanitation as one of the most important issues of the 21st century. Over the past few years, Hungary has taken active part in the work of the UN’s Friends of Water working group. Hungary will host a conference on water and sanitation in Budapest next autumn, where it will gladly share its expertise and experiences, Ader said.