Sharing International Experience in Establishing the Ombudsman in TurkmenistanJul 13, 2015
The protection and promotion of human rights and the rule of law is a vital aspect of human development, not least because good governance is key to the successful implementation of sustainable projects aimed at improving people’s lives.
UNDP worldwide has a wealth of experience and expertise to draw upon in helping countries to promote good governance and has been working closely with the Government of Turkmenistan to improve the democratic processes in the country, supporting the alignment of national legislation with international standards related to human rights and helping build the capacities of institutions to ensure that people can exercise their fundamental rights and freedoms.
Bringing international experts to share their knowledge and experience with local decision-makers in Turkmenistan is a core component of a project launched in 2015 by UNDP in partnership with the National Institute for Democracy and Human Rights under the President of Turkmenistan for ‘Strengthening legal capacity and institutional mechanisms’.
The overall aim of the project is to support the implementation the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review. These recommendations have included the establishment of an Ombudsman to help investigate cases related to the exercise of human rights.
As part of this capacity-building project, UNDP in Turkmenistan has recently worked with the Parliament of Turkmenistan and the National Institute of Democracy and Human Rights in organizing a capacity-building seminar and roundtable on the ‘Best world practices on Institute of Ombudsman’.
Held over two days from 17-18 June this year, the seminar and roundtable provided training for twenty members of the Inter-ministerial Committee on Treaty Bodies and fifty members of the Parliament of Turkmenistan, enabling the participants to familiarize themselves with first-hand experiences of the best international practices related to the effective functioning of the Institute of Ombudsman – an institution that has a major role to play in the realization of people’s basic human rights.
The participants of the training were given a valuable opportunity to learn from the extensive experience of Dr. Laura Diez, the Deputy Ombudsman of Catalonia in Spain. Dr. Diez is a professor at the University of Barcelona and an international consultant who has participated directly in the establishment of ombudsman offices in Turkey, Serbia, Albania and other countries.
‘I am very happy to be helping Turkmenistan to implement its important decision to establish an Ombudsman,’ says Dr. Diez. ‘I was really impressed by the professionalism, commitment and expertise shown by the Turkmen specialists at the seminar. It was an honour to be working directly with the people who are developing the new legislation on the Institution of the Ombudsman.’
The participants of the seminar were highly appreciative of the chance to share and expand their existing knowledge of the legal provisions of the structure of the ombudsman office and its functions. ‘Learning about the ways the Ombudsman has been legally instituted in other countries was very useful,’ says UNDP’s Yelena Butova. ‘Dr. Diez also provided with some extremely helpful examples of good practices adopted by Ombudsmen offices in Europe.’
The comparative debate that took place within the framework of the training also proved of great interest to all the participants, who took an active part in roundtable discussions exploring innovative approaches in the establishment of the Office of Ombudsman in Turkmenistan.