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Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1959 (2013) - Strengthening the institution of ombudsman in Europe

‘4. The Assembly calls on the member States of the Council of Europe which have set up ombudsman institutions to:
4.1. ensure that such institutions fulfil the criteria stemming from its Recommendation 1615 (2003), the Committee of Ministers’ relevant recommendations and the Venice Commission’s work on the ombudsman, in particular as regards:
4.1.1. the independence and impartiality of these institutions, whose existence shall be enshrined in law and, if possible, in the constitution;
4.1.2. the appointment procedure: the ombudsman shall be appointed by parliament and report to it;
4.1.3. their remit, which should cover reviewing cases of maladministration by all bodies of the executive branch as well as the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms;
4.1.4. their access to documents and investigative powers as well as unrestricted access to all detention facilities;
4.1.5. their access to the Constitutional Court in order to challenge the constitutionality of flawed legislation;
4.1.6. direct access to the ombudsman for all persons, including legal persons, concerned by maladministration cases, irrespective of their nationality;
4.2. review, if need be, their legislation, in light of international and European standards on ombudsman institutions;
4.3. refrain from multiplying ombudsman-type institutions, if it is not strictly necessary for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms; a proliferation of such bodies could confuse individuals’ understanding of means of redress available to them;
4.4. strengthen the ombudsman institutions’ visibility, especially in the media, and promote an “ombudsman-friendly” climate, in particular by guaranteeing easy and unhindered access to the ombudsman institution(s) and providing appropriate information/documentation in this respect, especially where the ombudsman institution does not yet have a long-standing tradition; provide ombudsman institutions with sufficient financial and human resources, enabling them to effectively carry out their tasks, and, if need be, taking into account the new functions assigned to them on the basis of international and/or European law;
4.5. consider seeking ombudspersons’ accreditation at the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC) in light of the “Paris Principles”.‘