Statement of Ms. Louise Arbour, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Danish Ombudsman Office
It is with great pleasure that I convey my most sincere congratulations to the Danish Ombudsman Office on its 50th anniversary.
Traditionally, the classical Ombudsman has dealt with maladministration. However, we now recognize that rights are indivisible with the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights and civil and political rights of equal importance. We see that Ombudsman together with those of a broader mandate, such as national human rights institutions, form a national protection system to safeguard fundamental human rights including through facilitating access to justice and providing remedies. Effective administration and good governance are critical to ensuring the enjoyment of individual and societal human rights.
The promotion and protection of human rights is key to peace and sustainable economic and social development. Human rights law provides for minimal conditions to ensure a life of safety and dignity of the individual. Respect for these fundamental rights requires firm determination, dedication and cooperative efforts of all concerned. An institution such as the Danish Ombudsman is a defender of individual and public interests and is essential to uphold the rule of law.
The Danish Ombudsman Office has played an important historical role in protecting and promoting human rights through its leadership and advice. It has actively held public servants accountable. Since its establishment it has demonstrated an ability to protect and promote human rights, by bettering the provision of services by the public sector, which affect the enjoyment of human rights.
From an international perspective the Danish Ombudsman Office has played an important role in promoting the Ombudsman institution as a conscientious guardian of human rights by keeping a critical eye on how public administration ensures good governance and hence effective protection and promotion of human rights. Today, Ombudsman Institutions have been established worldwide and many of them were inspired by the Danish model.
My office commits itself to continue supporting the work of national human rights institutions, including Ombudsman institutions, which promote and protect human rights. I wish the Danish Ombudsman institution continued success in its efforts to ensure the implementation of human rights standards at the national level.