Austrian Ombudsman Board achieves A status accreditation with GANHRI
In April 2022, the Austrian Ombudsman Board (AOB) was officially recognized as A status institution by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI). The AOB is now one of 90 out of 130 institutions worldwide that are fully compliant with the ‘Principles Relating to the Status of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs)’ (“Paris Principles”).
10 years after its last re-accreditation with GANHRI, the AOB, due to a wide array of improvements made in its legislation and in its practical work, decided to apply for re-accreditation with GANHRI in February 2021. After a long procedure, which involved numerous written submissions and an online interview, the AOB was successful in achieving A status for the first time since it joined the alliance of NHRIs in 2000. “This upgrade reflects the successful efforts of the AOB to fully comply with the Paris Principles”, says Ombudsman Werner Amon, who, as the Ombudsman responsible for International Affairs in the AOB, presented the institution in the accreditation session on behalf of his colleagues Ombudsman Walter Rosenkranz and Ombudsman Bernhard Achitz. The Paris Principles set out the minimum standards that NHRIs must meet in order to be considered credible and to operate effectively and that are strongly endorsed by the United Nations (UN).
With this upgraded status the AOB has now gained specific participation rights in international and regional mechanisms, such as speaking rights in the UN Human Rights Council and before UN treaty bodies as well as voting rights and the ability to hold governance positions in NHRI networks, such as GANHRI and ENNHRI.
GANHRI’s Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA) encouraged the AOB to make further improvements in the future related to its selection and appointment process, pluralism and diversity of the members and staff of the AOB as well as enhancement and formalization of its cooperation with civil society.