Ombudswoman Lora Vidović met on October 4th and 5th in Vienna with Gertrude Brinek and Gunther Krauter, heads of the Austrian Ombudsman Board (AOB) and Ulrike Grieshofer, head of the AOB's International Department and executive director of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI).
In the course of the working part of the meeting the ombudspersons presented the information regarding the authority and the competencies of the respective institutions they are heading, including the similarities and differences in the legislation regulating their institutions’ work. They shared information regarding the organization of their respective offices and the financial and human resources at their disposal.
In a separate part of the meeting the participants exchanged the experiences related to their activities in the fields of protection and promotion of human rights. The topics included the work of their respective institutions aimed at the protection of older persons with an emphasis on the activities of the National Prevention Mechanism (NPM), or, more precisely, on the visits to the older persons' homes. The representatives of the AOB showed interest in the details of the activities of the Ombudswoman of Croatia undertaken during the course of the current refugee crisis and were introduced with the organization of the Ombudswoman's actions from the period preceding the arrival of the significant numbers of refugees and migrants to the present day, as well as with their goals and results.
A separate meeting was devoted to a more detailed comparison of the authorities and work of the National Preventive Mechanisms of Austria and Croatia – a mandate the Ombudsman institutions in both countries received in 2012.
Austrian Ombudsman institution was established in 1977 and has since been monitoring the work of public administration. As part of that mandate, the AOB receives citizens' complaints and monitors the legality of government decisions. The institution investigates to find out whether there are any other irregularities present in the work of public administration and monitors the behavior of the government bodies towards the citizens. It co-operates with the National Council in the matters of petitions and civil initiatives submitted to the Council, informs the legislative body about the problematic legislative acts and provides suggestions for their modification.
International Ombudsman Institute is a global institution founded in 1978. The Institute gathers more than 170 ombudsman institutions from more than 90 countries, including the Ombudswoman of Croatia. Its activities focus on research projects and on the education of its members and the broader public on the human rights topics.
Along with the Ombuswoman of Croatia and the heads of the Austrian Ombudsman institution, the working meeting was attended by their associates, among which was Lidija Lukina Kezić, deputy of the Ombudswoman of Croatia and Michael Mauerer, chief of cabinet of Ombudswoman Brinek.