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Human Rights and Non-judicial Remedies - The European Ombudsman's Perspective

Joint event with the European Institute at LSE

Speaker: Professor Nikiforos Diamandouros
Chair: Professor Kevin Featherstone, European Institute
November 2005

Abstract

Most European countries have a national ombudsman with a mandate to handle complaints against public authorities. Within the European Union, there is an emerging consensus that an ombudsman applies principles of good administration that require, among other things, compliance with legal rules and principles, including human rights. Many ombudsman institutions also emphasise their proactive role in promoting the rule of law and respect for human rights and in raising the quality of public administration. Vis-à-vis the courts, the role of the ombudsman is characterised by cooperation, complementarily and choice of remedy for citizens. Co-operation among national administrations and the EU institutions and bodies continues to grow in scope and intensity, especially in fields related to security. Such developments need to be matched by greater co-operation among ombudsmen, in order to safeguard the rights of citizens.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the inauguration of the post of European Ombudsman. Professor Nikiforos Diamandouros has held this position since April 2003. From 1998 to 2003, he was the first National Ombudsman of Greece. He has also been Professor of Comparative Politics in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration of the University of Athens since 1993. From 1995 to 1998 he served as Director and Chairman of the Greek National Centre for Social Research (EKKE).

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