Published on 4 December 2020

A resolution on the role of the Ombudsman was adopted by the United Nations (UN) on 19 November 2020.

It is an important recognition of the role of Ombudsman, and mediator institutions, in the worldwide promotion and protection of human rights, good governance and the rule of law. 

The resolution is the result of a number of years of work by International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) President, and Irish Ombudsman, Peter Tyndall, and his colleagues at the IOI.  The IOI is the only global organisation for the cooperation of more than 205 independent Ombudsman institutions from more than 100 countries worldwide. 

The final version of the resolution is available online  and it is due to be ratified by the UN General Assembly by the end of the year.  Ratification will also help to shape the future relationship between the International Ombudsman Institute and the UN.

This is an important further step in securing worldwide recognition for the Ombudsman Institution and establishes the 'Venice Principles' as the global standard.  The Venice Principles is a set of guidelines to protect ombudsman institutions, following threats to these institutions in recent years. 

Ombudsman are important for democracy, their services are free, and are thus accessible to individuals who cannot afford to pursue their complaints through the courts. They can take action independently against maladministration and alleged violations of human rights and play a crucial role with regard to the governments and parliaments which must accept criticism.

As an interface between the administration and the citizens they are at times the first, or the last, resort to set a human rights violation straight.