The Ombudsman’s influence is informal. It is an office without any responsibility for authoritative decision-making; therefore, its power rests on cooperation with the public. The Ombudsman does not use the argument of power, but the power of argument. These arguments, however, are presented through various methods of communication with the public.
The employees in the Ombudsman’s Office make it a priority to establish relations with various stakeholders.
- The Ombudsman’s basic task is to address initiatives; therefore, initiators are among the most important target stakeholders.
- When addressing initiatives and resolving systemic difficulties encountered during this exercise, the Ombudsman enters into relations with national bodies, local government bodies, and public authorities.
- Civil society can serve as the Ombudsman’s source of information about violations and/or a partner in proactive campaigns. It is also a source of potential initiators and therefore it is the central point to which awareness-raising and empowerment campaigns are directed.
- Mass media are also a source of information that the Ombudsman’s office can use for its own initiatives; because both mass media and the Ombudsman are engaged in monitoring the activities of public authorities, the media are a greatly appreciated partner in awareness-raising. In performing this role, the mass media hold up a mirror to the Ombudsman; however, they themselves are also potential violators of individuals’ rights, particularly the right to privacy.
- In cooperation with similar foreign institutions and international and intergovernmental organizations, the Ombudsman acquires information and know-how in protecting human rights and liberties, and transfers this know-how and experience to other stakeholders.
The environment and human rights: panel discussion conclusions