Human Rights Advisory Council
The Human Rights Advisory Council supports the Austrian Ombudsman Board as an advisory body. It consists of representatives of the Federal Ministries, the province and civil society. It supports the AOB in determining the focal points for monitoring procedures, issuing maladministration statements, developing recommendations and ensuring consistent procedures and inspection standards.
The Human Rights Advisory Council consists of an independent chairperson and vice chairperson as well as 16 members and substitute members. The chair must have specific skills and specialist knowledge in the field of human rights. The members and substitute members and the chair are appointed by the AOB on the basis of proposals from non-governmental organizations and ministries.
The Human Rights Advisory Council advises the members of the AOB in the human rights sector and makes recommendations regarding the definition of monitoring priorities and monitoring standards.
Since 1 July 2012, the Human Rights Advisory Council advises the members of the AOB with respect to their responsibilities in the human rights sector. It is the responsibility of the Advisory Council to advise the AOB with respect to its new competences, including but not limited to the determination of maladministration and recommendations and the definition of monitoring priorities to be applied during preventive monitoring visits.
Furthermore, it makes suggestions on how to ensure unity of action. The Advisory Council has the right to be heard prior to the appointment of the members of the Commissions.
As a forum for dialogue for representatives of human rights organisations and the relevant Ministries, the Human Rights Advisory Council has the potential of adapting international human rights standards and incorporating them into national monitoring priorities.
The uniform monitoring priorities then become the benchmark for the Human Rights Advisory Council when it advises the AOB in the determination of maladministration and a guideline for the assessment of whether the provided recommendations can attain the predefined human rights standards.
The Chairperson, the members and the substitute members of the Human Rights Advisory Council are appointed by the AOB.
The Chairpersons of the Human Rights Advisory Council are appointed by the AOB. In the execution of their activities, they are not bound by any instructions; they must have specific capabilities and expert knowledge in the field of human rights.
The members of the Ombudsman board have appointed Dr. Renate Kicker as chairperson of the new Human Rights Council with effect from 1 July 2012. Prof. Andreas Hauer has been vice chairman since 13 January 2014. Dr. Gabriele Kucsko-Stadlmayer was vice chairperson until 31 December 2013.
Ass.-Prof. Renate Kicker teaches at the Institute for International Law and International Relations at the University of Graz and was a member of the European Commission on the Prevention of Torture (CPT) for several years. Prof. Andreas Hauer is a Professor of Public Law and vice chairman of the Institute for Administrative Law and Public Administration of Johannes Kepler University (JKU) Linz.
Members and substitute members
The members and substitute members of the Advisory Council are nominated on the basis of parity by non-governmental organisations and certain federal ministries. The Laender are also represented in the Human Rights Advisory Council. The members and the substitute members are appointed by the AOB.
The chart below lists all members and substitute members of the Human Rights Advisory Council. By clicking on the name, you get to the curriculum vitae of each member or substitute member.
Institution Name Position Federal Ministry of the Interior Mathias VOGL, head of the legal department member Federal Ministry of the Interior General Reinhard SCHNAKL substitute member Federal Chancellery Ronald FABER member Federal Chancellery Brigitte OHMS substitute member Federal Ministry of Health Gerhard AIGNER member Federal Ministry of Health Irene HAGER-RUHS substitute member Federal Ministry of Justice Christian PILNACEK member Federal Ministry of Justice Gerhard NOGRATNIG substitute member Federal Ministry of Defence and Sports Billur ESCHLBÖCK member Federal Ministry of Defence and Sports Karl SATZINGER substitute member Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs Ambassador Helmut TICHY member Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs N.N. substitute member Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection Manfred PALLINGER member Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection Alexander BRAUN substitute member Representation of the Laender Shams ASADI,
Office of the Independent Representative for the Protection of Employees, municipality of Vienna
member Representation of the Laender Wolfgang STEINER Office of the Government of Upper Austria substitute member Amnesty International Austria in collaboration with SOS Kinderdorf (SOS Children’s Villages) Heinz PATZELT member Amnesty International Austria in collaboration with SOS Kinderdorf Annemarie SCHLACK substitute member Caritas Austria in collaboration with VertretungsNetz Angela BRANDSTÄTTER member Caritas Austria in collaboration with VertretungsNetz Susanne JAQUEMAR substitute member Diakonie Österreich in collaboration with Volkshilfe Martin SCHENK member Pro Mente Austria in collaboration with HPE Michael FELTEN member Pro Mente Austria in collaboration with HPE Irene BURDICH substitute member Selbstbestimmt Leben Initiative Österreich Silvia OECHSNER member Selbstbestimmt Leben Initiative Österreich Martin LADSTÄTTER substitute member SOS Mitmensch in collaboration with Integrationshaus and Asyl in Not Philipp SONDEREGGER member SOS Mitmensch in collaboration with Integrationshaus and Asyl in Not Nadja LORENZ substitute member Verein für Gewaltprävention, Opferhilfe und Opferschutz (Graz) in collaboration with Gewaltschutzzentrum Salzburg (violence prevention centers) Barbara JAUK member Verein für Gewaltprävention, Opferhilfe and Opferschutz (Graz) in collaboration with Gewaltschutzzentrum Salzburg Renate HOJAS substitute member ZARA (Civil Courage and Anti-Racism Work) in collaboration with Neustart Barbara UNTERLERCHNER member ZARA in collaboration with Neustart Roland MIKLAU substitute member
focal points for monitoring
The Human Rights Advisory Council presented the AOB with a catalogue of focal points for the monitoring procedure at the start of 2013. This catalogue contains topics on which the commissions should particularly focus when it comes to their visiting and reporting activities. The Human Rights Advisory Council develops criteria on each monitoring focal point according to which the human rights standards should be assessed.
The AOB stipulated the process of conducting urine and drug tests for individuals in the justice system as its first monitoring focal point. According to this focal point, the commissions ascertain when urine and drug tests are being arranged at prisons and when and how they are conducted. Commission reports show that there is room for improvement when it comes to adherence to human rights. The AOB has initiated numerous investigative proceedings.