Letter of support from the municipal ombudspersons in the Netherlands

Date:

The Commissioner for Human Rights received a letter from the municipal ombudspersons in the Netherlands, who are concerned about the way the Polish government is handling the election procedure for a new ombudsman.

In the Netherlands the local ombudspersons come regularly together to discuss developments, best practices and also the situation of ombudsman in challenging times. During their last meeting they unanimously agreed that it was time to convey their support the institution of the Polish ombudsman.

- It is with great admiration that we see you fulfil the role as an ombudsman and human rights defender.

The present pandemic prevents us from taking more direct action as you so strongly described in your presentation during the webinar organized by IDEA (institute for democracy and electoral assistance) recently. Because indeed, it is in the cooperation between institutions, that lies our strength and the ideal way of learning from each other. As independent and impartial institutions we need each other to be strong and be effective.

Municipal ombudsman form an essential part of the checks and balances in the local democratic process. The local ombudsman too, hold the mirror to the government and must do so, no matter what the opinion of the others involved. We all underscore the human rights and democratic rights embedded in our constitution which are not to be discarded and for which we must stand firm under any circumstances.

We take your role in this situation as a example for our own practice and which we will need to follow whenever such times arise We will follow the developments in Poland very closely and where possible take action – we can read in the letter.