President's Speeches and Engagements

President delivers speech on the occasion of the presentation of the 2021 Annual Report of the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City

Chris Field, President of the International Ombudsman Institute and Western Australian Ombudsman, delivered a speech on the occasion of the presentation of the 2021 Annual Report of the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City, held on 30 June 2022. President Field was invited to speak at the event by the President of the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City, Ms Nashieli Ramírez Hernández.

“There can be no more critical matter to the success of our collective international efforts to protect human rights, than ensuring there are spaces for exchange and dissemination of information. Work internationally can only be successful when it is properly informed by work undertaken at a local level” said President Field.

“I acknowledge the exceptional work of President Ramírez Hernández and the Commission for the citizens of Mexico City. On the occasion of the launch of this important Annual Report, I congratulate the President and the Commission” said President Field.

 

President attends meeting with the Ambassador to France, Her Excellency Ms Gillian Bird

As part of my official visit to Paris, the Australian Ambassador to France, Her Excellency Gillian Bird, met with me earlier today. Given my short time in Paris, it was particularly gracious of Her Excellency to accommodate our meeting.

Her Excellency has extensive senior Ambassadorial experience, and it was very kind of her to offer so much thoughtful and helpful insight into the work that the International Ombudsman Institute is currently undertaking with supra-national and other bodies. Following our productive and enjoyable exchange today, I will meet with Her Excellency again on my second official trip to Europe later this year.

 

President Chris Field with Chief of Staff Rebecca Poole at the Parliament of Austria

President attends meeting with the Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the OECD, Mr Brendan Pearson

Following my meeting this afternoon with the Australian Ambassador to France, Her Excellency Gillian Bird, I was delighted to meet Ambassador Brendan Pearson Permanent Representative of Australia to the OECD. This discussion followed my meeting with the Secretary General of the OECD, Mathias Cormann on Monday.

The Ambassador and I had a very enjoyable and productive discussion regarding the work of the International Ombudsman Institute and the OECD. The Ambassador very kindly offered to engage in further exchange about these matters.

I am grateful to the Ambassador for the perspectives he was able to bring to our discussions which will assist the IOI’s ongoing approach to these matters.

President Chris Field with Chief of Staff Rebecca Poole at the Parliament of Austria

President attends meeting with the Secretary-General of the OECD, Mr Mathias Cormann

It was a particular privilege yesterday to meet with the Secretary General of the OECD, Mr Mathias Cormann. The Secretary General was incredibly gracious to meet with me in Paris coinciding with my official visit to Austria. I have the highest admiration for the Secretary General who, following a distinguished senior Ministerial career in Australia, successfully performs his very important and demanding role with huge intellect, energy and humility.

Economic co-operation and development are absolute cornerstones of human dignity. Without them, the institutions of democracy cannot be funded, nor essential civic infrastructure, nor vital social justice programs.

I discussed with the Secretary General the work of the International Ombudsman Institute, and its more than 200 members from over 100 countries, in supporting good governance and the rule of law through work on anti-corruption measures, integrity, transparency and good governance. Adherence to the rule of law reduces sovereign risk and encourages the private capital investment that is essential to strong economies and caring, successful societies.

President Chris Field with Chief of Staff Rebecca Poole at the Parliament of Austria

President has formal exchange with His Excellency Mr Karl Nehammer, Chancellor of Austria

My formal exchange with the Chancellor of Austria, His Excellency, Karl Nehammer, was memorable. His Excellency has a penetrating depth of intellect, thoughtfulness and very genuine care about issues for the people of Austria and for people internationally.

President Chris Field meeting with the Chancellor of Austria, His Excellency, Karl Nehammer

President provided private tour of the Parliament of the Republic of Austria

This week I was given a private tour by His Excellency Alexis Wintoniak, Vice Director of the Parliament of the Republic of Austria. This magnificent Parliament is under renovation and restoration. While the program of works is being undertaken, the Parliament is presently located at the Imperial Palace (Hofburg). I was accompanied on the tour by Mr Werner Amon, Secretary General of the International Ombudsman Institute, and prior to his appointment as Ombudsman, a very longstanding and senior member of the Parliament.

When works are finished, the Parliament will not only retain all of the beautiful features that represent an ode to both ancient Roman and Greek architecture and governance, but also be ready for the 21st century. There has been great attention given to a range of ways that the Parliament will be accessible and available to the people of Austria. It will truly be a people’s Parliament; a great testament to a Parliament in service of its citizens.

I thank His Excellency for providing such an informative tour and sharing with me his depth of insight.

President Chris Field with Chief of Staff Rebecca Poole at the Parliament of Austria

Peter Tyndall awarded Golden Order of Merit of the Republic of Austria

Peter Tyndall came to Vienna this week to attend the celebrations of the 45th Anniversary of the Austrian Ombudsman Board. But he also came for another reason. To be the first ever recipient of the Golden Order of Merit, recognising his conspicuous service to the International Ombudsman Institute and the institution of the Ombudsman.

Peter was the Ombudsman and Information Commissioner for Ireland, and before that, the Ombudsman for Wales. He was also a true international leader and an outstanding President of the International Ombudsman Institute for five years. Peter and I worked together very closely during his Presidency. He is extraordinarily intelligent, thoughtful and supremely warm-hearted. I am proud of our close friendship over many years. This made the opportunity to give the speech in his honour, and bestow the Order to Peter, all the more meaningful.

Peter Tyndall receiving the Golden Order of Merit of the Republic of Australia

President appears before the People’s Advocacy Committee of the Parliament of the Republic of Austria

This week I was given the opportunity to appear before the People’s Advocacy Committee of the Parliament of the Republic of Austria. After providing an introductory statement, I was delighted to answer a series of deeply thoughtful questions from the Honourable Members of the Committee.

As an officer of the Parliament of Western Australia, I take nothing more seriously than my oath to serve the Parliament in good faith. And so it is when I travel. It was a great privilege to have the opportunity to address the Committee. I thank Chairwoman Martina Diesner-Wais and all Committee Members. I will not soon forget their level of engagement and the appreciation, warmth and generosity they extended to me during my session with the Committee.

IOI President Field at the People’s Advocacy Committee of the Parliament of the Republic of Austria

President provides address at the Parliament of the Republic of Austria on the occasion of the 45th Anniversary of the Austrian Ombudsman Board

I was deeply honoured to be the international guest speaker on the occasion of the 45th Anniversary of the Austrian Ombudsman Board held at the Parliament of the Republic of Austria. It was, in my view, a celebration of democracy, of the great Republic of Austria and of a treasured and trusted institution. His Excellency, Doctor Alexander Van der Bellen, Federal President of the Republic of Austria; Magister Wolfgang Sobotka, President of the National Council; Magister Christine Schwarz-Fuchs, President of the Federal Council and the three members of the Austrian Ombudsman Board also addressed the ceremony.

The Austrian Ombudsman Board is both an Ombudsman with all the gravitas that its history bestows upon it, but absolutely a modern Ombudsman institution committed to human rights. In April this year the Austrian Ombudsman Board was officially recognized as an ‘A status’ institution by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI).

I take great pleasure, both publicly and privately, and all around the world, to acknowledge the support that makes the International Ombudsman Institute Secretariat possible. But I have never had this opportunity in the one place that it is most meaningful to do so – the Austrian Parliament. On this auspicious occasion, I was able to acknowledge, and formally thank, the Parliament of the Republic of Austria and successive Austrian governments for their generous support of the IOI Secretariat.

The institution of the Ombudsman upholds the great principles of democracy, human rights, good governance and the rule of law. I thank the Austrian Ombudsman Board for being a champion of these principles for four and a half decades. It is an achievement of which the Austrian Ombudsman Board ought to be extraordinarily proud and, for which, I am profoundly grateful.

IOI President Field presenting at the 45th Anniversary of the Austrian Ombudsman Board

President provides address at the Parliament of the Republic of Austria on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the Austrian Ombudsman Board’s OPCAT mandate

This week I was honoured to provide an address at the Parliament of the Republic of Austria on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Austrian Ombudsman Board’s Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) mandate.

OPCAT is an incredibly powerful mechanism to prevent human rights violations. It is truly a system of human rights ennobled and enabled. It brings together international, national and subnational governments, offices of statutory remit, academic and non-government actors in a way that focusses our greatest attention to the areas of greatest need.

The Austrian Ombudsman Board are rightly highly regarded for their work in the protection of human rights. Further, Austrian leaders have made hugely influential contributions throughout the history of the development of OPCAT and its preventative visiting paradigm.

In both my capacity as President of the International Ombudsman Institute, and as Ombudsman that has recently been designated in my country as a National Preventative Mechanism (NPM) under OPCAT, I can confidently say that we all owe a great debt to the people of Austria to have helped create both a principled regime, but also a wholly practical mechanism for the prevention of human rights violations.

IOI President Field presenting at the 10th Anniversary of the Austrian Ombudsman Board’s OPCAT mandate

President attends meeting with His Excellency Mr Wolfgang Sobotka, Federal President of the National Council of the Republic of Austria

It was a great honour for me to meet with the Federal President of the National Council of the Republic of Austria, Wolfgang Sobotka, yesterday. His Excellency and I discussed the work of Ombudsmen internationally with regard to their role in upholding democratic principles, good governance, the rule of law and human rights.

His Excellency was very generous to make time to meet with me given his extraordinarily busy schedule.

Our exchange was one for which I am deeply grateful.

I again express my sincere thanks to my close colleague and friend Werner Amon, Secretary General of the International Ombudsman Institute and Ombudsman for the Republic of Austria, for organizing the meeting and accompanying me.

IOI President Field with Federal President of the National Council of the Republic of Austria, Wolfgang Sobotka and Werner Amon, Secretary General of the International Ombudsman Institute

President has formal exchange with His Excellency Mr Karl Nehammer, Chancellor of the Republic of Austria

It was a singular honour, and absolute pleasure, to have a formal exchange with the Chancellor of Austria, Karl Nehammer, yesterday. I had the opportunity to discuss with His Excellency the role of the Ombudsman institution internationally in promoting and protecting democracy, good governance, the rule of law and human rights.

His Excellency was exceptionally gracious to provide time to meet with me given his extraordinarily busy schedule. I am deeply grateful for our exchange.

I express my sincere thanks to my close colleague and friend Werner Amon, Secretary General of the International Ombudsman Institute and Ombudsman for the Republic of Austria, for organizing the meeting with His Excellency and accompanying me.

It gives me great pleasure to share a photo from His Excellency’s twitter post regarding our meeting.

IOI President Field meeting with the Chancellor of Austria, His Excellency, Karl Nehammer

President provided private tour of the Feuerwehr Verband, the Fire Brigade Association and Museum St. Florian, as part of official visit to Graz

As the final part of my official visit to Graz, on Sunday 5 June, I was provided a private tour of the Feuerwehr Verband (Fire Brigade Association and Museum St. Florian). I am very grateful to the wonderful Directors of the Museum for being such generous hosts. I was particularly honoured to be at the museum as its President is Werner Amon, Secretary General of the International Ombudsman Institute and Ombudsman of the Republic of Austria. It was also an honour to sign their guestbook.

The museum is a quite exceptional combination of the history of firefighting in the province of Styria dating back hundreds of years, but also curated modern art exhibitions. The installed exhibition on my visit was one the most imaginative and compelling I have seen.

As I leave Graz for Vienna, I can reflect that the city of Graz (which I had not previously visited) is truly one of the most friendly and beautiful that I have had the good fortune to spend time. The countryside of Styria is magical. The people of Styria are proud of their province; it is truly easy to see why.

In addition to the exceptional graciousness of Werner Amon, I also pay particular thanks for the significant support of the outstanding Meinhard Freidl, Executive Director of the International Ombudsman Institute and my equally outstanding Chief of Staff, Rebecca Poole.

President Chris Field visits the Feuerwehr Verband Museum

President provided private tour of the Grazer Landhaus, home of the Parliament of Styria, as part of official visit to Graz

As part of my official visit to Graz, on Saturday 4 June I also undertook a private tour of the Grazer Landhaus, an exceptional Renaissance Palace dating back to 1527, and home to the Parliament of Styria. I was proud to stand next to mein freund, Werner Amon, Secretary General of the International Ombudsman Institute at the Speaker's podium.

President Chris Field visits the Grazer Landhaus

President provided guided tour of the Landeszeughaus, the world’s largest historic armoury, as part of official visit to Graz

As part of my official visit to Graz, on Saturday 4 June I was provided a guided tour of the Landeszeughaus in Graz, the world’s largest historic armoury. I am very grateful to the Director and our guide for sharing with us this superb museum. It contains artifacts of great historical value and of interest to the world, so much so that the museum has regularly provided curated exhibitions for world tours including Australia.

President Chris Field visits the Landeszeughaus Armoury in Graz

President attends meeting with His Excellency Mr Hermann Schützenhöfer, Governor of Styria

I commenced my official visit to the Republic of Austria on the occasion of the 45th Anniversary of the Volksanwaltschaft (Austrian Ombudsman Board) on Friday 3 June. As a guest of my very good friend and colleague Mr Werner Amon, Secretary General of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) and Ombudsman of the Republic of Austria, my visit began in Graz in the province of Styria. Werner is a proud Styrian and hugely accomplished representative, and dedicated servant, of the Styrian people for many years.

On Saturday 4 June, it was my great honour and privilege to meet His Excellency Mr Hermann Schützenhöfer, Governor of Styria. I was joined in this meeting by Werner Amon.

It was a genuine pleasure to discuss with His Excellency the vital work of the IOI in protecting and promoting human rights, good governance and the rule of law. I also discussed the very valued friendship of Austria and Australia, including our recently entered Strategic Cooperation Arrangement.

His Excellency has made an extraordinary contribution to public life over five decades. It was particularly generous of him to receive me as one of his last acts in office.

President Chris Field and His Excellency Mr Hermann Schützenhöfer, Governor of Styria

President provides Welcome Address to the General Assembly of the International Ombudsman Institute European Region

My friend and colleague, International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) Europe President and Greek Ombudsman Andreas Pottakis, organized this year’s General Assembly of the European IOI. The event was hosted on Thursday, 26th May 2022 at the premises of the European Public Law Organization in Legraina.  I was delighted to provide a welcome address to my valued colleagues attending the General Assembly. Greece is the birthplace of democracy; Europe the birthplace of the Ombudsman. I stand in strong support of my European colleagues and work that they are doing for both the Ombudsmen of Europe and the international ombudsman community, including leadership on independent peer review.


President returns from official visit to New York

Having just returned home, it is perfect time for me to record my appreciation for all those that made the International Ombudsman Institute’s week in New York possible. First, I thank each and every one of the members of the IOI World Board for their extraordinarily thoughtful contributions during the week. My job as President and Chair is easy due to them. Second, I thank my dear friend, Mr Werner Amon, Secretary General of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) and Ombudsman of the Republic of Austria. I could wish for no better colleague. Third, I thank another great friend, the Executive Director, IOI Secretariat, Meinhard Friedl. I have rarely seen someone so committed to an organisation being represented with utmost professionalism and abiding commitment to success. Fourth, to the staff of the IOI Secretariat, Karin Wagenbauer, Sabrina Lojnik and Hannah Suntinger - Danke meine Freunde. Fifth, the Austrian Cultural Forum very generously hosted our meeting and I thank Director Michael Haider for his warm hospitality. The wonderful Forum staff, including intern staff, could not have been more generous to me. My final thanks is reserved for my exceptional Chief of Staff, Rebecca Poole, for whom a commitment to human rights, good governance and the rule of law is only matched by an indefatigable work ethic.

Farewell Reception hosted by Australia’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, the Hon. Mitch Fifield on the occasion of the President’s official visit to New York

On 12 May, His Excellency, the Honourable Mitch Fifield, Australian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, hosted a Farewell Reception for the International Ombudsman Institute World Board on the occasion of my visit to New York.

Ambassador Fifield was a very generous host. Moreover, the Ambassador has made a very significant contribution to public life in Australia and internationally that I admire. It was a genuine pleasure to be with him on this occasion and for both of us to share the country of which we are so proud with the world.

President Chris Field and Ambassador Richard Arbeiter

United Nations Ombudsman Shireen Dodson attends International Ombudsman Institute World Board meeting in New York

While in New York, the Secretary General and I were delighted that United Nations Ombudsman Shireen Dodson made time to brief the International Ombudsman Institute World Board on her important work, including ensuring that all of her offices and staff globally are responsive to the most important human rights and equality for all.

President Field and Ambassador Richard Arbeiter

United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and United Nations Institute for Training and Research Executive Director Mr. Nikhil Seth and President of the International Ombudsman Institute, sign a Memorandum of Understanding

On 12 May 2022, at the meeting of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) Board of Directors in New York, I had the pleasure to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the IOI and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). UNITAR was represented in this virtual signing ceremony by United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UNITAR Executive Director Mr. Nikhil Seth, who joined the virtual ceremony from Geneva.

The work of UNITAR makes a vital contribution to better outcomes for citizens globally, particularly those in developing nations. There is significant alignment in the work of the IOI and UNITAR.

Furthermore, I am so pleased that the IOI is forging even closer ties with the UN by signing this MoU, following on from the UN Resolution on The role of Ombudsman and mediator institutions in the promotion and protection of human rights, good governance and the rule of law.

This MoU is a strong foundation upon which we can, and will, continue to learn from each other to provide the most informed and effective work for the communities we have the privilege to serve.

President Field and Ambassador Richard Arbeiter

International Ombudsman Institute President Chris Field and Austrian Consul General in New York Helene Steinhäusl invite IOI World Board members to a Reception at the Austrian Consulate General

It was a singular honour to host, with the Austrian Consul General in New York, Ms. Helene Steinhäusl, and the Secretary General of the International Ombudsman Institute and Ombudsman of the Republic of Austria, Mr Werner Amon, a Welcome Reception in New York at the Consulate for the International Ombudsman Institute World Board.

The Austrian Consul General could not have been a more gracious or generous host. It was the perfect way for the World Board to commence our formal work and I express my sincere gratitude to the Austrian Government, the Consul General and Mr. Hubert Heiss.

President Field and Ambassador Richard Arbeiter

President Chris Field attends official dinner at the New Zealand Official Residence of the Ambassador to the United Nations in New York,
H.E Ms Carolyn Schwalger

In the course of my visit to New York, I was delighted to attend an official dinner at the residence of the New Zealand Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Ms Carolyn Schwalger, together with the Second Vice President of the IOI and Chief Ombudsman of New Zealand, Mr Peter Boshier and a number of distinguished guests, including the Secretary General of the International Ombudsman Institute, Mr Werner Amon.

Australia and New Zealand are great friends, and so it is with my office and the office of the Ombudsman New Zealand. Ambassador Schwalger not only warmly opened her home to us, but provided us deeply thoughtful insight to our work in New York. I am very grateful to the Ambassador and the Chief Ombudsman of New Zealand.

President Field and Ambassador Richard Arbeiter

President attends meeting with Hon. Mitch Fifield, Australia’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York

It was my great privilege this morning to meet with Australia’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, the Hon. Mitch Fifield. I am exceptionally grateful to Ambassador Fifield and the Australian Government for their ongoing support of my role as President of the International Ombudsman Institute (the IOI) and for the institution of the Ombudsman in its work in promoting good governance, the rule of law and human rights. The Ambassador and I were able to undertake an extremely useful dialogue regarding strengthening the relationship of cooperation and collaboration between the IOI and the UN. My work in New York will continue over the next week in a series of meetings with Ambassadors, meetings with the UN and chairing the annual World Board meeting of the IOI. Ambassador Fifield has also been extremely kind to host, on the occasion of my visit to New York, a Farewell Reception for the World Board on Thursday 12 May at the offices of the Permanent Representative. This will follow a Welcome Reception jointly hosted by myself, the IOI Secretary General Mr. Werner Amon, and the Austrian Consul General in New York, Mrs. Helene Steinhäusl, at the Austrian Consulate General on Tuesday 10 May 2022. I am also delighted that on Thursday 12 May, Mr. Nikhil Seth, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and I will sign a Memorandum of Understanding between UNITAR and the IOI. 

President Field and Hon. Mitch Fifield

President attends meeting with Ambassador Richard Arbeiter, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in New York

I was delighted this afternoon to meet with Ambassador Richard Arbeiter, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in New York with my valued colleague Paul Dube, Ombudsman for Ontario and IOI Regional President, North America. Canada and Australia are warm friends and it was an absolute pleasure to discuss with Ambassador Arbeiter the relationship of the IOI and the UN. I am most grateful for the generous time he provided to us.

President Field and Ambassador Richard Arbeiter

Secretary General of the IOI and Ombudsman for the Republic of Austria, Mr Werner Amon undertakes an official visit to the President of the IOI

On Sunday 13 March and Monday 14 March, Secretary General of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) and Ombudsman of the Republic of Austria, Mr Werner Amon, undertook an official visit to the President of the IOI and Western Australian Ombudsman, Mr Chris Field. The IOI is the global organisation representing 205 Ombudsman institutions from over 100 countries. The IOI Secretariat is domiciled in Vienna in the offices of the Austrian Ombudsman.

The Secretary General was accompanied by the Executive Director of the IOI Secretariat, Mr Meinhard Friedl. The President was accompanied by the Head of the International Secretariat and office of the President, Assistant Ombudsman Rebecca Poole.

The official visit commenced with an informal dinner on Sunday 13 March, followed by an official bilateral exchange on the morning of Monday 14 March. Following a tour of the office of the Ombudsman, a formal lunch was held in the Members’ Dining Room of Parliament House. The delegation was accompanied at lunch by Mr Wilfried Wimmler, Honorary Consul of Austria. The delegation then undertook a tour of the Parliament. The Ombudsman then accompanied his guests to visit two great Western Australian icons, Kings Park and Cottesloe Beach, including the annual Sculptures by the Sea.  

“I am deeply indebted to my friend and colleague the Secretary General for visiting me as a matter of first priority following the change in Western Australia’s borders. Nothing the IOI does would be possible without the generous support of the Austrian Government and the tireless efforts of the Secretariat of the IOI, led so incredibly well by the Secretary General” said President Field.

“It was a great privilege and pleasure for me to welcome both the Secretary General and the Executive Director to share, with great pride, our outstanding city with them. The official visit has further strengthened our exceptional working relationship. It has also fortified our resolve to ensure that we continue the vital work of the IOI in protecting and promoting human rights, good governance and the rule of law around the world” said President Field.

 

 

 

 

 

President attends webinar jointly organised by the African Ombudsman Research Centre and the International Ombudsman Institute

President of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), Chris Field, was very pleased to attend a webinar jointly organized by the African Ombudsman Research Centre (AORC) and the IOI. The webinar focussed on the benefits of membership of both the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AOMA) and the IOI for Ombudsman institutions in Africa. He was joined by fellow speakers IOI Treasurer and Public Protector of Zambia, Caroline Sokoni; President of AOMA, Chairperson of the AORC Board, IOI Board member and Public Protector of South Africa, Busisiwe Mkhwebane; IOI Secretary General and Austrian Ombudsman, Werner Amon; and former IOI President and former Ombudsman of Namibia, John Walters. The webinar was facilitated by President of the African Region of the IOI, Secretary General of AOMA and Ombudsman of Kenya, the Hon Florence Kajuju. Introductory remarks were provided by Dr. Freddy Mnyongani, Academic Leader for Teaching and Learning at the University of KwaZulu-Natal School of Law.

The President discussed the vision, values and work of the IOI. He also recognised the vital work of the AORC.

“It is my view that the AORC undertakes world leading Ombudsman research and training. As President of the International Ombudsman Institute, I am deeply grateful for the work they do for the Ombudsman of Africa, but also for Ombudsman all around the world. I also thank the University of KwaZulu-Natal, a world-leading university, for their support of the AORC.”

“I close by saying to my many friends and colleagues throughout the extraordinary continent of Africa, you have my greatest admiration and you will always have my strongest interest and support. The IOI stands with you each and every day. We are here to serve you and provide you with meaningful and direct benefits” said President Field.

“We should always remember that while individual offices may be relatively small, together, we are very large. Together, we can, and do, achieve extraordinary results.”

 

President provides opening address to the XII Virtual Assembly and Seminar of the Latin American Institute of the Ombudsman

Chris Field, President of the International Ombudsman Institute and Western Australian Ombudsman, provided an opening address to the XII Virtual Assembly and Seminar of the Latin American Institute of the Ombudsman, Human Rights and Transition: The Ombudsmen and their contribution to the future, held on 2 December 2021.

The Assembly and Seminar was dedicated to Berta Cáceres, a Lencar indigenous woman from Honduras and defender of the Lencar people, the protection of their territories and the environment.

“I am sincerely grateful to Professor Cristina Ayoub Riche, President, Latin American Institute of the Ombudsman, for inviting me to address this very important event and for allowing me to join in this celebration of Berta Cáceres - her life, her courage and her achievements and the extraordinary contribution of all the indigenous peoples throughout Latin America. The Latin America region, and its Ombudsman, Public Defenders and Human Rights Institutions are admired around the world for their passionate defence of the rights of women, the protection of the environment and for the fundamental human rights of the most vulnerable citizens” said President Field, “You have long had my utmost admiration and, in turn, you have humbled me with your great support for my role as the President of the International Ombudsman Institute.”



President greets delegates at the international conference commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the office of the State Comptroller and Ombudsman of Israel

Chris Field, President of the International Ombudsman Institute and Western Australian Ombudsman, provided an opening greeting to delegates at the international conference on Advancing the Rights of the Elderly in an Age of Longevity, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the State Comptroller and Ombudsman of Israel.

President Field followed the President of the State of Israel, Isaac Herzog and Speaker of the Knesset, Mickey Levy in providing his greeting. Opening greetings were also provided by the President of the Association of Mediterranean Ombudsman and Ombudsman of Greece, Andreas Pottakis; State Comptroller and Ombudsman of Israel, Matanyahu Englman; Secretary General of the International Ombudsman Institute and Member of the Austrian Ombudsman Board, Werner Amon. A lecture was provided by keynote speaker, Chairwoman, Chief Technology Officer and founder of Diagnostic Robotics, Dr Kira Radinsky. Lady Globes magazine, “one of the leading financial magazines in Israel, selected Dr. Radinsky, when Chief Scientist and Director of Data Science for eBay Israel, as ‘Woman of the Year’. Dr. Radinsky was atop a distinguished list of the 50 most influential women in Israel.”

President Field told conference participants that: “It is a great privilege and honour to join you in commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the office of the State Comptroller and Ombudsman of Israel. It is an extraordinary testament indeed to the wisdom of the Knesset five decades ago that we are here today to celebrate this anniversary.”

“The institution of the Ombudsman upholds the great principles of democracy, human rights, good governance and the rule of law. Upon reaching this significant milestone, I take this opportunity to thank the office of the Ombudsman of Israel for championing these principles for half a century. Your work in service of the Knesset, the citizens of Israel and the global institution of the Ombudsman is deeply valued” said President Field.



President addresses the Caribbean Ombudsman Association webinar on how to be effective as a small Ombuds institution

Chris Field, President of the International Ombudsman Institute, addressed the Caribbean Ombudsman Association webinar How to be effective as a small Ombuds institution, on 25 November 2021.

“I am sincerely grateful to Dr Rosemary Husbands-Mathurin, Parliamentary Commissioner for Saint Lucia and President, Caribbean Ombudsman Association, and Rienier van Zutphen, National Ombudsman of the Netherlands, for inviting me to address this very important event” said President Field.

President Field told webinar participants that: “I recognise and respect the powerful nature of small Ombuds offices in the services they provide. No matter the size of an Ombuds institution, it is, in its national or subnational context, a bulwark against the misuse of the power of the state against its citizens, a protector of the basic dignities and fundamental human rights of our most vulnerable citizens, a promoter of the rule of law and democracy and a proactive agent for change so that governments continue to serve its citizens in the most fair, just and effective way. Where the significant powers of the institution of the Ombudsman are used with vision, with purpose and with passion, small Ombuds institutions can be transformative in terms of their impact on government administration and service delivery, and ultimately, the lives of citizens.”



President speaks at the Ukranian Network of Integrity and Compliance panel discussion "Compliance as a necessary component of investment protection in Ukraine", November 2021

Chris Field, President of the International Ombudsman Institute, joined a Ukrainian Network of Integrity and Compliance (UNIC) panel discussion "Compliance as a necessary component of investment protection in Ukraine", on 17 November 2021, as part of the Ukraine Business Integrity Month.

President Field was particularly pleased to speak alongside Vasyl Lozynskiy, the First Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Regional Development in the panel discussion moderated by Tetyana Korotka, Deputy Business Ombudsman in Ukraine.

  President Field and Deputy Business Ombudsman Korotka

President Field discussed the role of the International Ombudsman Institute and the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly, in December 2020, of the resolution, The role of Ombudsman and mediator institutions in the promotion and protection of human rights, good governance and the rule of law as the new global standard for Ombudsman institutions. He emphasised the fundamental importance of the rule of law and good governance in creating successful societies. He indicated that, in any country, the observance of the rule of law, good governance, integrity and compliance are all necessary pre-conditions to minimising sovereign risk, attracting foreign investment and giving confidence to the private sector in return on capital. He noted that the productive economies that ensue improve the lives of all citizens, including ensuring the greatest means to provide support for the most vulnerable citizens. He further noted that it is vital that states ensure independence of Ombudsman institutions.

“I was delighted, and honoured, to be invited by Antonina Prudko, Head of Secretariat, UNIC, to address this important event. The citizens of the Ukraine are well-served by the excellent work of UNIC and the Business Ombudsman” said Mr Field.

President delivers keynote address at the Plenary Session of the Forum for Institutions Supporting Democracy inaugural Virtual Conference on Constitutional Democracy, November 2021

The President of the International Ombudsman Institute, Chris Field, was honoured to be invited by Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, Public Protector South Africa and Chair, Forum for Institutions Supporting Democracy, to deliver a Keynote Address at the Plenary Session of the Forum for Institutions Supporting Democracy inaugural Virtual Conference on Constitutional Democracy, The need for collaboration on the promotion of good governance and ethical leadership in responding to the impact of Covid 19 and corruption on constitutional democracy, held in South Africa on 11 November 2021.

Advocate Mkhwebane is an esteemed colleague as a Director of the African Region of the IOI World Board. It was a particular privilege for the President to be able to share the platform with the other keynote speaker, former Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, The Honourable Mogoeng Mogoeng. Mr Werner Amon, Secretary General of the International Ombudsman Institute and Member of the Austrian Ombudsman Board provided Opening Remarks to the Conference.

“As President of the International Ombudsman Institute, it was a great privilege to be invited by the Public Protector South Africa to address the Forum and to be in the presence of agencies of such a range of expertise and experience. It is, in my view, beyond question that the Forum is, and will continue to be, of enormous value to the people of South Africa” said President Field.

“Constitutional democracies are resilient and robust, but this does not mean that they are perfect and it is unlikely that we will ever reach a stage where every single person or institution within the democratic state is completely incorruptible. The Public Protector, and the other agencies who comprise the Forum, are key institutions in promoting and protecting the rule of law, good governance and democracy. Each institution is in its own right powerful, but together when they intervene collaboratively, they represent an even more powerful force again for fundamental honesty, transparency and integrity in the delivery of public service and the expenditure of taxpayer’s money.” said President Field.



Peter Tyndall awarded Honorary Life Membership of the International Ombudsman Institute, November 2021

Peter Tyndall was elected to the IOI Board as European Director in 2012. He held the position of European Regional President for one year, until he was elected IOI 2nd Vice-President in 2014 and IOI President two years later; a position he held until May 2021.

Peter has been highly committed to the institution of the Ombudsman promoting the IOI and its mission, principles and services. He was dedicated to the establishment of internationally recognized universal standards for Ombudsman institutions and he contributed significantly to the development of the Council of Europe’s “Principles for the Protection and Promotion of the Ombudsman Institution”, which are now better known as the Venice Principles. As Chair of the IOI’s UN Working Group, Peter worked tirelessly to ensure that the Venice Principles were strongly endorsed in the amended version of the UN Resolution on the “Role of Ombudsman and Mediator Institutions in the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights, Good Governance and the Rule of Law”, (adopted in December 2020). The international recognition of these universal standards was an important step to strengthen independent and autonomous Ombudsman offices around the world and has ensured that the IOI has become a respected international body.

Peter also made very strong contributions to the affairs of the IOI, including personal stewardship of IOI electoral reform that has resulted in all Voting members in good standing electing the Officers of the IOI (i.e. President, Vice-Presidents and Treasurer), thus making the IOI and the election of its governing body more democratic and transparent in the future. Peter and his office also hosted the 12th IOI World Conference and General Assembly. Peter showed a high level of personal commitment, as well as great flexibility and readiness for organizational change, when the Covid-19 pandemic required that the event be first postponed for a year then held online in May 2021.

“Not only is Peter an extremely warm and good-humoured colleague, he was an exceptionally distinguished President, who transformed the IOI to what it is today. I could wax at Joycean length about Peter, but it simply suffices to say that IOI Life Membership is an honour rarely given and no one has ever been more worthy than our former President, esteemed Ombudsman of both Ireland and Wales and my good friend, Peter Tyndall”, said IOI President Chris Field.

On 15 November 2021 the IOI World Board of Directors therefore approved by acclamation that Mr Peter Tyndall be awarded IOI Honorary Life Membership. Mr Tyndall will resign from the office of the Ombudsman and Information Commissioner of Ireland on 31 December 2021.

President delivers Welcome Address to the working seminar on the Manchester Memorandum, November 2021

Chris Field, President of the International Ombudsman Institute, delivered a Welcome Address to the working seminar on the Manchester Memorandum hosted by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman of the United Kingdom from 9-10 November 2021.

Participants in the working seminar included Andreas Pottakis, President of the European Region of the International Ombudsman Institute, Rob Behrens, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman of the United Kingdom, along with Ombudspersons and representatives of international organisations.

“As President of the International Ombudsman Institute, it was a great privilege to be invited by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to address the Manchester Memorandum working seminar on the development of national Ombudsman institutions” said President Mr Field.

President Field told seminar participants that: “The matters you will consider in the sessions of this seminar will, I think, be at the very core of the next stage of the development of the Ombudsman institution: How do we reach and assist the most vulnerable and marginalized members of our societies, including first nations peoples?; How do we review and reflect on our own capability and performance, including through the very positive trend of peer review?; and How do we ensure we capture the momentum of both the Venice Principles and the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2020 of the resolution on, “The role of Ombudsman and mediator institutions in the promotion and protection of human rights, good governance and the rule of law”?”

“Through what has been a period of sustained global tragedy and hardship, Ombudsmen have sought to ensure that the rights of the most vulnerable citizens have been upheld wherever and whenever it has been necessary. Emboldened by our continued commitment to defending human rights in any context, empowered by the Venice Principles and ennobled by the UN Resolution, the Manchester Memorandum is an outstanding initiative at exactly the right time.” said President Field.



International Ombudsman Institute Secretary General Amon attends Ombudsman conference in Colombia, October 2021

IOI Secretary General Werner Amon followed an invitation from the Ombudsman of Colombia, Carlos Ernesto Camargo Assis, to participate in an international Ombudsman meeting on “Migration and Refuge – Rights at Risk”, which took place in Cartagena (Columbia) from 19 – 21 October 2021.

The international exchange put a specific focus on the problematic situation of migrants and refugees. Opening remarks were presented by Colombian Ombudsman Camargo Assis and the Ombudsman of Guatemala, Mr Augusto Jordan Rodas Andrade, who attended the meeting in his function as President of the Federation of Ibero-American Ombudsman (FIO).

Secretary General meets colleagues at Cartagena conferenceSecretary General meets colleagues at Cartagena conference

In different plenary sessions and round table discussions, delegates exchanged information and experiences around topics such as human trafficking, labor exploitation, mixed migratory flows with a specific focus on vulnerable groups, as well as the effects of climate change and changing economies.  

IOI Secretary General Werner Amon took the opportunity of this international event to present the IOI and its principles, visions and services. Furthermore, Mr Amon met Colombian President Iván Duque, and exchanged experiences with colleagues and representatives from countries effected by migration flows.

 

President delivers Official Statement on the occasion of the Fifth International Conference on human rights protection in Eurasia, held in Moscow

Chris Field, President of the International Ombudsman Institute and Western Australian Ombudsman, delivered a statement in support of the Fifth International Conference, Human rights protection in Eurasia: exchange of best practices of Ombudspersons, held in Moscow on 12 October. President Field participated in the conference on the invitation of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation, Tatiana Moskalkova.

Participants in the conference included members of the Eurasian Ombudsman Alliance, Human Rights Commissioners, Ombudspersons, representatives of international organisations, public authorities and non-government organisations.

“As President of the International Ombudsman Institute, it gives me great pleasure to offer my strong support to the success of the Fifth International Conference on human rights protection in Eurasia” said Mr Field.

“This Conference, by ensuring an examination of human rights protection by a wide range of institutions, drawn from many countries, represents the very best way for us to advance our collective understanding, and collaborative work, to support human rights in Eurasia and globally.”

The President’s Official Statement can be found here.

The statement has been published by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation and can be found here.

President attends virtual presentation of the 2020 Annual Report of the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City

Chris Field, President of the International Ombudsman Institute and Western Australian Ombudsman, attended the virtual presentation of the 2020 Annual Report of the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City on 29 June. President Field was invited as a special guest to the presentation by the President of the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City, Ms Nashieli Ramírez Hernández.

The virtual presentation was held in the presence of the Head of Government of Mexico City, the President of the Superior Court of Justice of Mexico City, the members of the Human Rights Commission of Congress and representatives from civil society organisations. The presentation also included a speech by Dr Raúl Lamberto, Ombudsman of the Province of Santa Fe and Regional President, IOI Caribbean and Latin America region.

“The Human Rights Commission of Mexico City undertakes extraordinary work for the people of Mexico and it was a great privilege to attend this event” said Mr Field.

President addresses opening ceremony of the Third Latin American Congress on Restorative Justice

Chris Field, President of the International Ombudsman Institute and Western Australian Ombudsman, delivered an opening address to the 3rd Latin American Restorative Justice Congress. The Congress was held over three days, with more than 60 presenters from 15 countries, including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Australia, Honduras, Uruguay, Bolivia, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Great Britain. More than 4000 people registered for the Congress.

The President’s address can be found here.

President's closing address at the 12th International Ombudsman Institute World Conference


Closing Address by the President of the International Ombudsman Institute to the 12th International Ombudsman Institute World Conference, 27 May 2021

The President’s address can be found here.