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Ombudsman – Public Defender of Rights

photo:  (ochrance.cz)

The institute of the Public Defender of Rights does not have a long-standing tradition in the Czech Republic, yet it has already dealt with thousands of complaints as well as proposals for improving legal regulations in order to make them more humane.

Any natural person or legal entity, i.e. also foreigners living in the Czech Republic, is allowed to appeal to the Public Defender of Rights.

The Public Defender of Rights is supposed to protect people against the conduct of public authorities and other institutions engaged in public administration (except for local authorities) if:
  • this conduct contradicts the law,
  • it does not comply with the principles of democratic legal state and good   governance,
  • or if authorities and institutions are inactive.
The office of the Public Defender of Rights receives around 7,500 appeals every year. The Public Defender of Rights is an external, independent, free of charge, relatively operative and maximally informal institute. The Public Defender of Rights has virtually no direct enforcement powers in the Czech Republic. He requests redress from the authority which has perpetrated the defect. If the relevant authority fails to provide for such redress, the Public Defender appeals to a superior body or presents the matter to the government. His task is not to alter or substitute decisions made by the public authorities, but to request that these authorities employ their own control, remedies and sanctioned legal competences in order to rectify the fault.

The Public Defender of Rights also has to pay regular visits to locations where people’s freedoms may be infringed, i.e. not only detention facilities, but also X3 facilities for the detention of foreigners X3 (acceptance, stay centres as well as integration centres for asylum seekers). The Public Defender of Rights seeks to ensure that basic civil rights are respected. The Public Defender of Rights also promotes the right to equal treatment and protection against discrimination.

The first person to hold the office of the Public Defender of Rights in the Czech Republic was the highly respected lawyer JUDr. Otakar Motejl, who served from December 2000 until his death in May 2010. He was succeeded by JUDr. Pavel Varvařovský, who took charge of the office in September 2010.
Author: Andrea Kábelová
Source: www.ochrance.cz
Added: 11.04.2011

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