Of new and old ombudsladies

14:44, 07 June 2012
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“While the institution of ombudsman in Ukraine has the highest “A” status, it may not last forever,” Gianni Magazenni of the OHCHR said in an exclusive KW interview.

He stressed that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Americas, Europe and Central Asia gives serious weight to the role of the office of ombudsman and its compliance with international standards, this institution implies the independence and effectiveness of not only in the promotion of human rights on the domestic level, but also in terms of cooperation with regional and international human rights organizations.

Asked whether in his opinion Ukraine was moving in the right direction Magazenni said: “Ukraine has accomplished a lot, including reform of the Criminal Procedural Code. That is considerable progress. I know that legislative reform in Ukraine is moving forward and Ukrainian legislators are laboriously drafting amendments to the law “On the Ombudsman”. They should transform the office of ombudsman into a national defense mechanism to prevent the violation of human rights in prisons and penitentiaries. In general, Ukraine is making many positive steps. On November 1 your government will report to the international community about its work for the submission of recommendations in the context of the World Food Program (WFP).”

However, the OHCHR representative warned “There is […] a sphere in which all countries make greater efforts, namely the day-to-day work of key professional bodies such as the judicial, law enforcement and prison systems. This entails the establishment of human rights standards into everyday life and improvement of the professionalism of all institutions that are keys in terms of supremacy of law.”

The International Sub-Committee on Accreditation (ISA) in the structure of the International Coordinating Committee deals with assessment of the stage of conformity with the international standards. Its main principle is assessment by equals – countries which also have the A status. The A status will be downgraded to B or C if the ISA ascertains in its conclusion non-compliance with international standards of independence and effectiveness together with the general resolution stipulating all requirements. “The A status is not everlasting. It depends on the compliance of government institutions with the Paris Principles,” Mr . Magazenni concluded.

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