21.08.14 // Institutional Strengthening, News

NGO’s request an Inter-American Commission of Human Rights hearing about failure to elect a national Ombudsman.

Five non-governmental organisations have presented a request for an IACHR hearing regarding the serious institutional situation regarding the failure of congress to elect a national ombudsman.

The paper was signed by the Civil Association for Equality and Justice (ACIJ), Civil Rights Association (ADC), the Institute of Comparative Studies in Criminal and Social Sciences (INECIP), the Natural Resources and Environmental Foundation (FARN) and ‘Poder Ciudadano’ and presented to the international body informing about the current situation of the Ombudsman, and emphasizing the serious dangers and consequences that stemmed from the failure to elect a delegate to the role in 2009, and how the situation has deteriorated further with the failure to elect a deputy Ombudsman, since December 2013.

The organisations highlighted that after 246 days of the position being vacant (254 today), a situation of great uncertainty has arisen -even in the organisation itself- in regards to the functional capacity of the ‘interim office’, which infringes to fulfil the necessary obligations and mission of the office.

The request concludes that maintaining this situation of irregularity, produces a two-fold institutional vulnerability. On the one hand, there is a failure to defend the rights of citizens within the country, which normally forms part of the role of a legitimate figure of Ombudsman. On the other hand, a strong restriction of the independence of the interim delegate exists, as their decisions are not covered by legal guarantees.

In accordance with the law, the permanent Bicameral Commission of National Congress, made up by representatives of the different political powers, is in charge of proposing the candidate. However, the facts demonstrate that for a long time they have failed to undertake this duty.

In the case that the IACHR decide to allow the hearing, it will be part of the 153rd Session, which will be undertaken from the 23rd of October until the 7th of November during this year.