High Commissioner takes part in Mediterranean ombudsman network conference on Venice Principles

High Commissioner takes part in Mediterranean ombudsman network conference on Venice Principles

10 December 2019

At the invitation of her Cypriot counterpart, the Monegasque High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Liberties and for Mediation visited Nicosia on 9 and 10 December to take part in a conference organised by the Association of Mediterranean Ombudsmen (AOM) on “The Venice Principles as a means of strengthening ombudsman institutions”.

In addition to ombudsmen from around 15 countries in the Mediterranean region, the conference brought together several members and independent experts of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission), which is the Council of Europe’s advisory body on legal and constitutional matters.

They reviewed the objectives of the initiative launched by the Commission to support ombudsman institutions in light of threats to their existence or independence in a growing number of countries. They recalled the need for governments and parliaments to grant special protection to these national bodies, which have “an important role to play in strengthening democracy, the rule of law, good governance and the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Adopted by the Venice Commission in March 2019 and since officially endorsed by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers and Parliamentary Assembly, the Principles on the Protection and Promotion of the Ombudsman Institution, more commonly known as the “Venice Principles”, represent a new benchmark standard. States are called on to align their national institutions with this standard in order to guarantee the stability and effectiveness of ombudsmen institutions for the benefit of citizens.

Discussions focused on the content of the 25 principles set out in the Commission’s text, which cover the choice of ombudsman model, criteria for appointment to the role, the election of office holders, the status of the institution, its mandate, the financial and material guarantees required to ensure it can operate effectively, and the mechanisms envisaged for monitoring implementation of these principles in all Council of Europe member states.

Anne Eastwood was accompanied on this trip by Christelle Revel, who is responsible for international relations at the Office of the High Commissioner.

Please click here to read the Venice Principles.