Could you please provide an overview on best practices for Ombudsmen, focusing especially on the Asia Pacific region?
1. What is an Ombudsman? 2. International standards and best practices 3. Country examples 4. References
The Ombudsman Office represents a link between citizens and their government and administration, with the mandate to protect citizens’ rights against human rights violations and maladministration. The Ombudsman has been defined as “the most popular contemporary innovation in the field of administrative accountability” (Asian Development Bank, 2011).
Given its role and mandate, it is essential that the Ombudsman enjoys sufficient independence to constitute a credible interlocutor. Independence is achieved through regulated appointments, adequate resources and protection from political interference. The Ombudsman needs to operate in a framework that guarantees his/her neutrality and impartiality, ensuring equal access to the office’s services as well as an absence of conflicts of interests. Finally, the Ombudsman needs to maintain confidentiality to the greatest extent possible. This paper gives an overview of the structure and role of the Ombudsman Offices in Indonesia and Pakistan, which are both considered by experts to be relatively strong examples.
Sofia Wickberg, Transparency International, email@example.com