The activity of the Portuguese Ombudsman is not limited to the defense of citizens’ rights at the national level, it extends, with equal intensity, internationally. One first expression of the international activity of the Ombudsman is expressed by the membership of this State body to a wide range of international organizations and bodies, of universal or regional scope, among which stand out those created within the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries and the Ibero-American space.
In this regard, the Portuguese Ombudsman is a member of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC), an organization that, with the United Nations, takes the responsibility for the accreditation and re-accreditation of National Human Rights Institutions. In close relationship with the activities developed together with this organization, deserves a special mention the participation in the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions, an association that is mandated by the ICC to monitor and support more closely the National Human Rights Institutions that exercise their activity in countries of the European continent. Also in this geographical space matter it is worth mentioning the intensive cooperation with the various conventional mechanisms and organizations that are under the aegis of the Council of Europe, as well as with the European Network of Ombudsmen and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.
Internationally, it is important to emphasize the strong commitment of this State body in enhancing the Network of Ombudsmen, National Human Rights Commissions and other Human Rights Institutions of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries. The intervention in the sphere of Lusophone space is particularly important for the maintenance of the mission of the Ombudsman in the defense and promotion of human rights, carrying out initiatives in order to reinforce the institutional ties that bind countries with whom we share language, culture and history.
Likewise, the participation of the Portuguese Ombudsman in the Ibero-American Federation of Ombudsmen deserves a special mention. The Portuguese Ombudsman is the 1st Vice President of this Federation and, alongside with the institutional work that derives from this fact, he also participates in the various thematic networks of this Federation.
The Portuguese Ombudsman also acts internationally through the cooperation with partner organizations, in view to protect and promote the strengthening of human rights and the reinforcement of the Ombudsman institution and the National Human Rights Institutions.
In addition to cooperating with other ombudsmen and similar institutions, being the National Human Rights Institution – in full compliance with the Paris Principles – the Portuguese Ombudsman is a key partner for several international bodies, working as a link between the Portuguese and the international human rights system. In this sense, within the United Nations, the Portuguese Ombudsman cooperates strongly with the High Commissioner for Human Rights and cooperates in the assessment of the Portuguese State’s fulfillment of its international obligations in matters concerning human rights.
In the Council of Europe, the Portuguese Ombudsman works together with the Commissioner for Human Rights and with the National Ombudsmen and Human Rights Institutions of other Member States. The Portuguese Ombudsman also provides support to the visits of the various committees of the Council of Europe to Portugal.
The Portuguese Ombudsman is also a member of other organizations, highlighting, amongst others: Association of Mediterranean Ombudsman (AOM) – dedicated to the promotion and defense of democracy, the rule of law and social peace within the Mediterranean – and the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI).