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Voorstelling en voorstel van akkoord

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Voorstelling en voorstel van akkoord



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Methods of operation

Within the framework of its operation, the national institution shall:

(a) Freely consider any questions falling within its competence, whether they are submitted by the Government or taken up by it without referral to a higher authority, on the proposal of its members or of any petitioner;

(b) Hear any person and obtain any information and any documents necessary for assessing situations falling within its competence;

(c) Address public opinion directly or through any press organ, particularly in order to publicize its opinions and recommendations;

(d) Meet on a regular basis and whenever necessary in the presence of all its members after they have been duly convened;

(e) Establish working groups from among its members as necessary, and set up local or regional sections to assist it in discharging its functions;

(f) Maintain consultation with the other bodies, whether jurisdictional or otherwise, responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights (in particular ombudsmen, mediators and similar institutions);

(g) In view of the fundamental role played by the non-governmental organizations in expanding the work of the national institutions, develop relations with the non-governmental organizations devoted to promoting and protecting human rights, to economic and social development, to combating racism, to protecting particularly vulnerable groups (especially children, migrant workers, refugees, physically and mentally disabled persons) or to specialized areas.
Additional principles concerning the status of commissions with quasi-jurisdictional competence
A national institution may be authorized to hear and consider complaints and petitions concerning individual situations. Cases may be brought before it by individuals, their representatives, third parties, non-governmental organizations, associations of trade unions or any other representative organizations. In such circumstances, and without prejudice to the principles stated above concerning the other powers of the commissions, the functions entrusted to them may be based on the following principles:

(a) Seeking an amicable settlement through conciliation or, within the limits prescribed by the law, through binding decisions or, where necessary, on the basis of confidentiality;

(b) Informing the party who filed the petition of his rights, in particular the remedies available to him, and promoting his access to them;

(c) Hearing any complaints or petitions or transmitting them to any other competent authority within the limits prescribed by the law;

(d) Making recommendations to the competent authorities, especially by proposing amendments or reforms of the laws, regulations and administrative practices, especially if they have created the difficulties encountered by the persons filing the petitions in order to assert their rights.


Bijlage III: Bestaande instellingen voor de bevordering en bescherming van mensenrechten in EU- lidstaten





Composition

Independence


Powers

Cyprus : National Organisation for the Protection of Human Rights (1998)

President : independent government officer appointed by the Council of Ministers for a renewable period of five years. Two committees : committee on the implementation of conventions, composed of representatives of ministerial departments; committee on guidance, composed of distinguished persons in the field of human rights proposed by diverse actors, including civil society.

Independence formally guaranteed under Sect. 1 of its Memorandum (representatives of the government in the committee on the implementation of conventions only have consultative voice); however the level and method of funding does not ensure independence

• Issues recommendations and reports to the authorities

• Prepares the State reports to human rights treaties bodies

• May examine human rights violations on its own initiative or on the basis of complaints

• Recommendations concerning compliance with international instruments in the field of human rights



Czech Republic : Ombudsman Office (1999)

Ombudsman office comprises the Ombudsman, one Deputy Ombudsman, and the staff.

Independence is guaranteed and effective, as the Ombudsman is placed under the responsibility of the Parliament

• Receives and examines complaints about cases of maladministration

• May investigate on his own initiative and address recommendations



Denmark : Danish Institute for the Protection of Human Rights (2002)

Director of the Institute, and four departments (research department; international department; information and education department; national department); a Council for Human Rights ensures that the work of the Institute conforms to its mandate

High degree of independence guaranteed under the Act on Establishment of a Danish Centre for International Studies and Human Rights of 6 June 2002

• Offers advice to the Parliament and Government on human rights matters

• Human rights training and awareness raising

• (Since May 2003) may hear complaints relating to alleged instances of discrimination


France : Commission nationale consultative des droits de l’homme (1984)

Composed of representatives of the government (which however have advisory powers only), as well as of two members of the Parliament (one from the National Assembly and one from the Senate), the members of the Council of State, magistrates, and the Mediateur de la République (ombudsman); as well as a large number of representatives of civil sociey organisations (NGOs and unions, experts, academics, e.g.)

Although its members are appointed by the Prime Ministers, the CNCDH is truly independent because of its pluralist composition and because the representatives of the executive have no voting powers

• Adopts opinions on parliamentary or governmental bills or proposals, as well as on compliance with human rights in the practice of the authorities

• Contributes to the reports presented by France to human rights treaties bodies



Germany : German Institute for Human Rights (2001)

Composed of one executive board; one advisory board composed of representatives of civil society and academia; and an assembly of members. Staff currently of 9 employees.

Independence is guaranteed under the responsibility of the Bundestag, although the funding is received from ministerial departments; the representatives of ministries and of the Bundesrat which are members of the Institute do not have voting rights

• Information and documentation on human rights matters

• Advises the public authorities on human rights issues

• Does not exercise forms of monitoring


Greece : Greek National Commission for Human Rights (1998)

Under Article 2 of Law 2667/1998, the GNCHR is composed of a large number of personalities from civil society organisations (including unions), from the media, from universities, from the Bar; two of the members are eminent personalities appointed by the Prime Minister

The independence of the GNCHR is ensured by the fact that the representatives of the participating institutions elect the president and vice-president of the Commission, and by the fact that the representatives of ministerial departments participate without a right to vote.

• Submits recommendations, reports and opinions on the legislative, administrative or other measures which could improve the situation of human rights in Greece

• Awareness-raising in the field of human rights

• Consultative opinions on the reports Greece is to submit to human rights treaties bodies

• Annual report on the situation of human rights in Greece

• Contribute by opinions to the implementation of international human rights law in Greece


Ireland : Irish Human Rights Commission (2001)

15 members, including the President

The Irish Human Rights Commission had demonstrated its independence despite initial fears after the government refused to appoint the members recommended by an independent selection committee

• May examine legislative proposals for their compliance with human rights, if requested to do so by Government

• May make recommendations either upon request or on its own motion on how to improve the situation of human rights in Ireland

• May conduct enquiries (sect. 9 of the Human Rights Commission Act 2000)

• Awareness raising in the field of human rights

• May assist individual victims of human rights violations or offer legal representation

• May institute legal proceedings in its own name based on the Irish Constitution or an international treaty in force in Ireland



Latvia : National Human Rights Office (1995)

The Director is appointed by the Saeima (Parliament) upon the proposal of the Cabinet of Ministers, and has a status equivalent to that of a Minister, which ensures his or her independence. The deputy director and staff are appointed by the Director.

Independence is effective, although not protected in the Satversme (Constitution) (the Office is a public institution whose independence is functional rather than institutionally guaranteed)

• May inquire about complaints for human rights abuses

• May react to allegations of human rights abuses

• Monitors the situation of human rights in the country

• Information and dissemination activities

• May examine the compliance of legal acts with human rights and where a conflict is suspected submit an application to the Constitutional Court


Luxembourg : Consultative Commission on Human Rights (2000)

The Commission is composed of 22 members with diverse backgrounds, appointed for terms of three years for their expertise in human rights or issues of general interest

Full independence

• Provides opinions and recommendations of an advisory nature to the government, either upon request of the government or on its own initiative

Poland : Commissioner (Ombudsman) for Civil Rights Protection (1999)

Ombudsman is appointed by the Sejm (lower house of Parliament) for a five-year term of office




• May carry out investigations on complaints and deliver opinions on the appropriate solution; may also request that disciplinary proceedings be commenced, or judicial proceedings initiated, with a right to take part in those proceedings and file cassation appeals against any final judgment reached

• May propose legislative initiatives

• May seek from the Constitutional Tribunal a decision on the compatibility of statutory laws, international treaties and other regulations with the Constitution


Portugal : Provedar de Justiça (1999)

Ombudsman elected by the Parliament for a four year period renewable once, and is supported by a staff (25 Assessors and 5 co-ordinators), including a technical and administrative staff


Independence is guaranteed under the Statute establishing the institution of the Ombudsman ; enjoys an immunity both civil and criminal for the recommendations or opinions adopted in the exercise of his functions. Budget of the office is adopted by Parliament, and the Ombudsman is recognized ministerial powers with regard to the authorisation of expenses

• May receive complaints relating to actions or omissions of the public authorities, and delivers recommendations to the competent bodies

• May make recommendations relating to legislative initiatives which might be adopted in order to improve the protection of human rights

• May deliver opinions upon the request of the Parliament

• May request from the Constitutional Court a ruling on the constitutionality or legality of any act adopted by the public authorities (Art. 281, para. 1 and 2(d) of the Constitution)

• Is recognized certain investigative powers in order to fulfil his function effectively


Spain : Ombudsman (Defensor del Pueblo) (2000)

Under the Organic Law 3/1981 of 6 April 1981 (BOE du 7 mai 1981), the Defensor del Pueblo is elected by the Cortes Generales (Senate and Congress) for 5 years, with a 3/5 majority

Independence guaranteed through the modalities of his/her election, requiring the support of a large group of political forces; is also independent in the exercise of the mandate and is recognized a certain immunity

• May supervise the administration for cases of maladministration (also with respect to the Autonomous Communities, since cooperation agreements have been passed with the Ombudspersons in the Communities)

• May file complaints on behalf of aggrieved citizens or on his/her own motion, including amparo before the Constitutional Tribunal ; and may challenge the constitutionality of a legislation adopted by the Cortes

• May adopt opinions on his/her own motion

• May request information from the Executive; any refusal to provide the information requested may be arbitrated by the Cortes



• Where he/she identifies indicia of criminal offences, may submit the information to the prosecutor or to the general council of the judiciary

Sweden : Ombudsman againt Ethnic Discrimination (1999).

Appointed by the Parliament for a term of four years

Independence is ensured through the process of appointment (election by Parliament)

Offers advice in individual cases and may seek to reach a friendly settlement with the alleged wrongdoer



* Deze nota werd opgesteld door Olivier De Schutter, professor aan de Rechtsfaculteit van de UCL. Het ontwerp van samenwerkingsakkoord tussen de Staat, de Vlaamse Gemeenschap, het Vlaams Gewest, de Franse Gemeenschap, het Waals Gewest, de Duitstalige Gemeenschap, het Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest, de Franse Gemeenschapscommissie en de Gemeenschappelijke Gemeenschapscommissie inzake de oprichting van de Belgische Commissie voor Grondrechten, die door deze tekst ingeleid wordt, werd opgesteld door Gauthier de Beco en Olivier De Schutter. De voorstellen zijn een resultaat van verschillende bijeenkomsten, georganiseerd op initiatief van de Belgische afdeling van Amnesty International en waaraan verschillende niet-gouvernementele organisaties voor de bescherming van grondrechten deelnamen. Naast de Belgische afdeling van Amnesty International werkten de volgende verenigingen mee: de Ligue des droits de l’Homme (Franstalig België), de Liga voor Mensenrechten (Vlaanderen), Pax Christi Wallonie-Bruxelles, Justice et Paix de Belgique francophone, Netwerk Rechtvaardigheid en Vrede, la Coalition des ONG pour les droits de l’enfant (CODE), la Fédération des Associations de Gays et Lesbiennes (FAGL), l’Observatoire international des prisons (section belge), 11.11.11 - Koepel van de Vlaamse Noord-Zuid Beweging, CNCD - 11.11.11, Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen, Coordination et Initiatives pour et avec les Réfugiés et Étrangers (CIRE) et Peace Brigades International. Zij onderschreven allen deze tekst. De Kinderrechtencoalitie nam eveneens deel aan de besprekingen. Bijlage III werd opgesteld door O. De Schutter op basis van een vergelijkende tabel van nationale instituten voor mensenrechten in de EU, opgesteld in maart 2004 door het EU Netwerk van Onafhankelijke Experten op het gebied van grondrechten: zie ook advies nr. 1-2004 (enkel beschikbaar in het Engels). De documenten van het Netwerk kunnen geraadpleegd worden op http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/ justice_home/cfr_cdf/index_en.htm.

1 Document VN E/C.12/1998/25

2 Zie http://www.nhri.net/SixthConference.htm

3 Zie, naast het handboek van de Verenigde Naties hieronder vermeld, Europese Raad, De mechanismen buiten jurisdictie ter bescherming van de mensenrechten op nationaal niveau (Straatsburg, 1998); Commonwealth Secretariat, National Human Rights Institutions - Best Practice (London, 2001).

4 COM(2005)280, 30.6.2005. In het voorstel van de Commissie zijn de leden van de raad van bestuur ‘onafhankelijke persoonlijkheden’ aangeduid door elke Lidstaat (25-27, of nog meer als de derde Landen deel uitmaken van de structuur van het Agentschap), door het Europees Parlement (1), door de Raad van Europa (1); bovendien zetelen er twee vertegenwoordigers van de Commissie. De ‘onafhankelijke persoonlijkheden’ die door de Lidstaten naar voor moeten worden geschoven om deel uit te maken van de raad van bestuur van het Agentschap moeten personen zijn die op hoog niveau verantwoordelijkheid dragen binnen een onafhankelijke nationale instelling voor mensenrechten, of personen met een gedegen ervaring op het vlak van fundamentele mensenrechten verworven bij andere instellingen of onafhankelijke entiteiten (art. 11 § 1er, al. 2), hetgeen de visie weergeeft van de raad van bestuur als trefpunt voor de nationale instellingen of soortgelijke instellingen zoals ze bestaan in de Lidstaten. Het is nog te vroeg om in te schatten hoe de Raad zal reageren op dit voorstel, omdat de debatten in principe afgesloten worden in de loop van 2006.

5 http://www.nhri.net/ICCMembers.htm

6 Opgemerkt moet worden dat er in Zweden nog andere ombudsmannen zijn; Zweden beschikt in het totaal over zes instellingen van dit type: de Parlementaire Ombudsdienst (Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman (JO)), de Ombudsman Consumentenzaken (Consumer Ombudsman (KO)), de Ombudsdienst voor gelijke kansen (Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman (JämO)), de Ombudsman voor etnische discriminatie (Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination (DO)), de Ombudsman voor het Kind (Children’s Ombudsman (BO)), de Ombudsdienst voor Handicaps (Office of the disability Ombudsman) en de Ombudsman voor sexuele oriëntatie (Ombudsman against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (HomO)). De accreditering heeft in overweging genomen dat deze verschillende instellingen gezamenlijk het mandaat uitoefenen van een nationale instelling ter behartiging en ter bescherming van de mensenrechten. De ombudsman voor etnische discriminatie (Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination) is dus niet als dusdanig geaccrediteerd, maar als vertegenwoordiger van alle Zweedse ombudsmannen. Het staat overigens niet vast dat een dergelijke accreditering op vandaag nog zou vernieuwd worden.


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