International Ombudsman community discusses UN Resolution and Venice Principles
On 23 February, the African Ombudsman Research Centre (AORC) hosted a Webinar, in collaboration with the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), to discuss the newly adopted UN Resolution on Ombudsman and Mediator Institutions.
In his function as Secretary General of the IOI, Ombudsman Werner Amon spoke at the webinar along with IOI President Peter Tyndall, and the Médiateur of the Kingdom of Morocco, Judge Mohamed Benalilou. The discussion was facilitated by Mr John Walters, Ombudsman of Namibia and former President of the IOI. Welcome and opening remarks were given by Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka, Deputy Public Protector of South Africa. The closing remarks were provided by Ms Caroline Sokoni, Public Protector of Zambia and Regional President of IOI Africa.
The webinar was attended by over 100 delegates from around the world, who discussed the significance of the UN Resolution on the Role of Ombudsman and Mediator Institutions, which was newly adopted by the UN General Assembly on 16 December 2020.
IOI Secretary General Werner Amon underlined the unique position Ombudsman hold by pointing out that: “Ombudsman are very close to the people and listen to citizens’ problems and concerns. In doing so, Ombudsman offices act as seismographs and detect emerging trends and systemic issues.”
For the first time, this resolution endorsed the Venice Principles developed and adopted by the Council of Europe in 2019, which is an important step towards the recognition of the first global standard for the protection and promotion of Ombudsman institutions.
IOI President Peter Tyndall called upon the delegates at the Webinar: "I would urge all of you (Ombudsman offices) to review your own legislation in light of the Venice Principles, and ask your Parliaments to make any necessary arrangements to bring it in line."