Wichtiger Hinweis: Schließzeit Weihnachtsfeiertage

Date of article: 17/12/2018

Daily News of: 18/12/2018

Country:  Germany

Author: Regional Ombudsman of Thuringia

Article language: de

Das Büro des Bürgerbeauftragten bleibt in der Zeit vom 24.12.2018 bis einschließlich 04.01.2019 geschlossen. Anliegen, die während dieser Zeit eingereicht werden, können erst ab dem 07.01.2019 bearbeitet werden.

Der Bürgerbeauftragte wünscht Ihnen und Ihren Familien ein erholsames Weihnachtsfest und einen guten Start ins Neue Jahr!

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Erfahrungsaustausch mit Tirol und Vorarlberg

Date of article: 14/12/2018

Daily News of: 18/12/2018

Country:  Austria

Author: Austrian Ombudsman Board

Article language: de

Bei einem Arbeitstreffen in Wien tauschten sich Volksanwalt Günther Kräuter und Volksanwalt Peter Fichtenbauer mit Maria Luise Berger, Landesvolksanwältin von Tirol, und Florian Bachmayr-Heyda, Landesvolksanwalt von Vorarlberg, zu verschiedenen Themen ihrer Prüftätigkeit aus. Neben dem Schutz und der Förderung der Menschenrechte insbesondere im Pflegebereich stand auch die Kontrolle der öffentlichen Verwaltung – beispielsweise im Bereich der Raum- und Bauordnung – im Fokus der Gespräche. Darüber hinaus erörterten die Volksanwälte auch Überlegungen zu einer intensiveren Zusammenarbeit und zum verstärkten Austausch mit den Landtagen.

Wiedereintritt der Vorarlberger Ombudseinrichtung in das IOI

Im Zuge des Treffens hieß Volksanwalt Kräuter in seiner Funktion als IOI Generalsekretär auch Landesvolksanwalt Bachmayr-Heyda erneut als Mitglied des International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) willkommen.

Hintergrundinformation

Die in Wien ansässige Volksanwaltschaft zählt zu den „Obersten Organen“ der Republik Österreich und kontrolliert seit 1977 auf Grundlage der Bundesverfassung die öffentliche Verwaltung. Dabei prüft sie alle Behörden, Ämter und Dienststellen des Bundes, der Länder und Gemeinden im gesamten Bundesgebiet. In Tirol und Vorarlberg untersucht die Volksanwaltschaft nur Beschwerden über die Bundesverwaltung, da die Landtage dort eigene Landesvolksanwältinnen und Landesvolksanwälte bestellen.

Das International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) wurde 1978 gegründet und vereint mehr als 190 unabhängige Ombudsman-Einrichtungen aus über 100 Ländern weltweit. Seit September 2009 beherbergt die Volksanwaltschaft das Generalsekretariat des IOI. Derzeit übt Volksanwalt Dr. Günther Kräuter das Amt des Generalsekretärs aus.

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Deputy groups call for consistent respect of human rights

Date of article: 13/12/2018

Daily News of: 18/12/2018

Country:  Slovenia

Author: Human Rights Ombudsman of Slovenia

Article language: en

Ljubljana, 22 November - The National Assembly is discussing the 2017 annual report of the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman, with the deputy groups labelling as unacceptable the poor responsiveness of certain ministries to the ombudsman's warnings, and calling for consistent respect of human rights.
The report was presented by Ombudsman Vlasta Nussdorfer, who called for good and responsible governance and added that solutions for improving the respect of human rights in Slovenia did not require a lot of money.

She assessed that cooperation between ministries in this field was weak, with certain bodies facing a shortage of staff. Inspection services also need to be strengthened and they need to act, Nussdorfer stressed.

The ombudsman pointed to the overcrowdedness of institutions housing persons with mental and physical disabilities, which according to her work in "shameful conditions".

Nussdorfer has meanwhile noticed progress in the respect of the labour legislation. But not everybody who works is paid and some employers still do not pay social contributions for their workers, she said, adding that inspection services should act.

The opposition New Slovenia (NSi) warned that the recommendations from the ombudsman were repeated every year, which is something Slovenia should not be proud of.

NSi MP Blaž Pavlin pointed to the delays in the processing of complaints related to the rights to social transfers, and was also critical of the lack of responsiveness of the Health Ministry, as emphasised in the report.

The opposition Democrats (SDS) said that poverty was still a huge problem in Slovenia. Energy poverty is also a problem, said MP Eva Irgl, noting that it was faced mostly by single elderly women, households with the lowest income, pensioners and unemployed.

The opposition Left said that human rights should be respected without exceptions. "For young people, buying an apartment in Ljubljana is science fiction," said Željko Cigler, adding that supervision over payment of wages and contributions was insufficient.

The coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) focused on the elderly, with Jurij Lep saying that retirement homes were overcrowded and prices of services too high, which was why retirees were leaving for retirement homes abroad, mostly to Croatia.

The ruling Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) pointed to faculty buildings being inaccessible for students with disabilities. More should be done in this field, said Aljaž Kovačič, who was also critical of delays in the processing of complaints at the secondary level.

The coalition Social Democrats (SD) said that there was still much room for improvement in all fields of human rights. SD deputy Meira Hot said that the ombudsman was a "mirror to the state", adding that numerous initiatives meant that people trusted the institution.

The ombudsman's report is a thorough and analytical review of the situation of human rights in Slovenia, said the Modern Centre Party (SMC). Its MP Mojca Žnidarič said that the lawmakers should be critical of the areas where the ombudsman had detected insufficient progress.

Žnidarič also touched on hate speech, saying that the SMC would not accept the idea that hate speech in Slovenia was only an apparent fabrication.

Speaking on behalf of the Italian and Hungarian minorities, the Italian MP Felice Žiža commended the ombudsman for helping make progress in the use of Italian and Hungarian languages in the areas populated by the respective minorities.

Nussdorfer said that the response from the MPs and ministries inspired the hope that there would be fewer violations in the future. She announced she would present in January the recommendations which were the common thread of her six-year term, which expires in February.

The National Assembly also discussed the 2017 report of the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman on the implementation of tasks of the national preventive mechanism, in which the institution mostly points to shortcomings in the protection of vulnerable groups.

Nussdorfer pointed to numerous problems when it comes to the implementation of the mechanism protecting incarcerated or institutionalised persons from torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.

Certain prisons are overcrowded, and older prisoners are in need of a different treatment, the ombudsman said as she presented the relevant recommendations to competent bodies, which were endorsed by a majority of the deputy groups.

DeSUS deputies pointed to the room shortage in closed units of psychiatric hospitals and in retirement homes, while the SDS called on the Health Ministry and other stakeholders to respond faster to the calls to improve the situation.

NSi deputies praised the work of the mechanism, saying that it primarily served to ensure the respect of human dignity in the most difficult proceedings.

Labour Ministry State Secretary Breda Božnik said that the Health Ministry had assured the MPs that progress in the respect of human rights in psychiatric hospitals would be secured by changes to the mental health act, which were being drawn up.

Source: STA

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International Human Rights Day: It is important to fight for rights, including the rights of others!

Date of article: 10/12/2018

Daily News of: 18/12/2018

Country:  Croatia

Author: People's Ombudsman of Croatia

Article language: en

On December 10th the world is celebrating the Human Rights Day and this year also the 70th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document represents a civilizational step forward, when numerous countries within the UN decided to prevent the repetition of atrocities that happened during the World War II, that demonstrated what is one human being capable of doing to other human being.

According to the Universal Declaration, the human rights are the basis of freedom and justice in the world as well as the path to freedom of fear and freedom of poverty.

Poverty represents a great enemy of human rights and a partner of discrimination, and often means living in extremely inadequate conditions and social isolation which might cause negative consequences on health, education or access to labour market and lead to homelessness. Recent data shows that 20 percent of citizens in Croatia are at the risk of poverty, and the number is even higher among the older persons, namely 28 percent.

Also, more than 7 percent of citizens cannot afford adequate heating in these, the coldest months. Unfortunately, the proposal of the Ombudswoman Lora Vidović to reduce VAT on firewood, heating energy and gas as it was done for electricity, was not accepted, with an argument that it would have a negative impact on the state budget. Such decision is not encouraging since the attitude of a state towards human rights is reflected, among other, in distribution of the resources to those most disadvantaged. Croatia declared itself as a social welfare state by the Constitution and by the 1991 ratification of the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights committed itself to protection of the rights to just and favourable working conditions, rights to social security and the highest standards of physical and mental health. However, although it should have done in 2006, Croatia still did not submit to the UN CESCR its second periodic report on implementation of the Covenant's obligations.

Along with the data on economic growth, the data on poverty is also on a rise, thus opening the space for an additional strengthening of the citizens' social security. For example, it is necessary to increase the amount of the social subsidies and access to the social services in all parts of the country. Great responsibility lies on cities and municipalities which do not always obey legal obligations, for example, some of them do not subsidize the housing costs.

It is also worrying that the citizens do not always know their rights and whom to turn to; but even when informed, they often choose not to pursue their rights out of fear from revenge or, simply deeming that it would bring no good. However, a society is as stronger as strong are its most vulnerable members. It is the Universal Declaration which encourages us not only to seek protection for our own human rights but also to stand up for the rights of others even when we might not understand each other or do not agree. Since, when human rights are denied to one person they are denied to all of us.

The Ombudswoman is marking the International Human Rights Day in Rijeka, Osijek and Split, with discussions on ways of strengthening protection of workers, persons deprived of liberty and the system of free legal aid. Those themes will be included in the Ombudswoman's 2018 Annual Report, due to be submitted to the Croatian parliament by the end of March 2019.


 

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National Preventive Mechanism Against Torture and Ill-treatment - Annual Special Reports 2016 & 2017

Date of article: 07/12/2018

Daily News of: 18/12/2018

Country:  Greece

Author: Greek Ombudsman

Article language: en

In 2014, the Greek Ombudsman was appointed as the National Preventive Mechanism Against Torture and Ill-Treatment (OPCAT), ie the independent, national, monitoring body of the conditions in detention facilities.

The OPCAT special reports of 2016 and 2017 not only accurately portray the existing conditions at the detention facilities, but also are the basis upon which any further effort to develop better conditions with respect for human rights can be organized.

View: Annual Special Report 2016, Annual Special Report 2017

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