On the occasion of World Human Rights Day, on December 10, 2019, the international conference on “The Venice Principles in strengthening the Ombudsman Institutions” was co-organized by the Office of the Commissioner for Administration and the Protection of Human Rights and the Association of Mediterranean Ombudsmen(AOM).
The conference was held under the auspices of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and was attended by the President of the International Ombudsman Institution and the Commissioner for Administration and Information of Ireland, Mr. Peter Tyndall, the President of the Association of Mediterranean Ombudsmen and the Ombudsman in Greece , Mr. Andreas Pottakis, the Vice President of the Venice Commission, Dr. Michael Frendo, the President of the Supreme Court, Mr. Myron Nikolatos, and Ombudsmen from fourteen European countries and members of the Venice Commission.
Greetings to the conference were addressed by the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Institutions, Merit and Commissioner of Administration Mr. Zacharias Zachariou, Mr. Peter Tyndall and Mr. Andreas Pottakis and the Commissioner for Administration and Protection of Human Rights Mrs. Maria Stylianou-Lottides. A video message from the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, was also presented.
At the conference, the Venice Principles were extensively presented, as they have been formed since June 2017, when the Venice Commission decided to codify a set of constitutional and legal Principles exclusively for the institution of the Ombudsmen, until their adoption by the Commission in March 2019, as well as the subsequent adoption, in October 2019, by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, of Resolution 2301 on the establishment of common standards for the institutions of the Ombudsmen, based on the principles of Venice.
The speakers and rapporteurs, in their speeches at the Conference, pointed out that the Venice Principles, on the one hand, surround the Ombudsmen with a shield of protection against the dangers and threats they face and, on the other hand, strengthen and empower this institution of Ombudsmen, strengthening democracy and human rights.
Consequently, as it was emphasized, the external interventions, attacks and threats to the institution of the Ombudsmen, constitute attacks on the Republic itself and the rules of law that govern it. Therefore, states should ensure that the Ombudsmen perform their role and exercise their responsibilities without any interference.
The common conclusion of the conference was that the strengthening and empowerment of the institution of the Ombudsmen, through the defense of their independence, implies a better and more orderly functioning of the Republic and protection of human rights.
And this is because, Stronger Ombudsman Institution concludes Stronger Human Rights Protection.