The Ombudsman meets the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)

The Ombudsman, Judge Emeritus Joseph Zammit McKeon, held a cordial meeting with Dr Matteo Mecacci, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). Dr Mecacci visited Malta to participate in a conference on Addressing Anti-Semitism in the OSCE Region.

During the meeting, Mr Mecacci outlined the ODIHR’s mandate, which encompasses the full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, adherence to the rule of law, promotion of democratic principles, strengthening of democratic institutions, and fostering tolerance throughout society. He intended to explore avenues for collaboration between the two institutions on related issues.

The Office of the Ombudsman highlighted two specific issues that require support in advocacy:

  1. National Human Rights Institution: The Ombudsman’s Office proposed expanding its mandate to offer a wider range of human rights protections. Inspired by similar European institutions, the proposal includes the establishment of a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) in Malta. The Ombudsman’s Office could broaden its scope to encompass a more extensive human rights mandate, aligning with its capabilities under the Ombudsman Act 1995. This initiative is crucial as Malta is one of the few EU and Council of Europe countries without an NHRI, which underlines the importance of reinforcing the country’s dedication to human rights.
  2. Protocol 12 of the ECHR: Although Malta ratified Protocol No. 12 of the ECHR, focusing on equality and non-discrimination, it has yet to be fully integrated into national law. This gap hinders individuals’ ability to seek remedies for discrimination domestically, often necessitating recourse to the Strasbourg Court. The Ombudsman’s Office is advocating for incorporating Protocol 12 into Malta’s legal framework to ensure the enforceability of these rights at a national level.

The Parliamentary Ombudsman was joined by the Commissioner for Education, Chief Justice Emeritus Vincent De Gaetano, Dr Monica Borg Galea, Head of Investigations, and Mr Jurgen Cassar, Head of Communications and Research. Accompanying the Director of ODIHR was Mr Peter Mossop, Advisor.

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