The Ombudsman is a member of various international organizations and entities, of global and regional scope, in particular those created within the framework of the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Union.
At the global level, it is a member of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), which, in the context of the United Nations, assumes, among others, the responsibility for the accreditation of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). It is also a member of the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) which more closely monitors and supports NHRIs operating in the countries of the European continent.
By being recognized as a National Human Rights Institution, accredited with an A statute, in full compliance with the United Nations Paris Principles, the Ombudsman simultaneously functions as a link between the Portuguese system and the United Nations international system for the promotion and protection of human rights. Accredited National Human Rights Institutions are essential partners for international bodies acting in the field of human rights. It cooperates with the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the evaluation of the Portuguese State’s compliance with its obligations regularly carried out by the Human Rights Council, submitting alternative reports, meeting with the various United Nations Committees and Working Groups, and formulating recommendations and statements.
The Ombudsman is also a member of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), the only organisation with a global vocation for cooperation between Ombudsman-type institutions, and the current Ombudsman, Maria Lúcia Amaral, was elected, in 2020, to the Board of the European Region of this body.
Within the Council of Europe, the Ombudsman cooperates with the Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as with ombudsmen and national human rights institutions of other member states, in particular through national ombudsman round tables and a network of contact persons. The Ombudsman also collaborates within the scope of visits to Portugal by the various Committees of the Council of Europe.
Within the European area, the Ombudsman also collaborates with the European Network of Ombudsmen (ENO) and with the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
In terms of its international activity, it is important to emphasize the fact that the Ombudsman is a founding and driving member of the CPLP – Human Rights Network, the network of Ombudsmen, National Human Rights Commissions and other Human Rights Institutions of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries.
Also noteworthy is the participation, since its genesis, in the Ibero-American Ombudsman Federation (FIO) and in its various Thematic Networks and Working Groups, as well as membership of the Mediterranean Ombudsman Association (AOM).
Finally, an important part of the international activity of the Ombudsman is the bilateral development of cooperation and dialogue with similar institutions in other countries. At this level, collaboration takes various forms, according to the needs felt at each specific moment, from support in handling complaints from nationals of the other State, to the exchange of information and experiences, the organisation of joint events and publications, or even the organisation of reciprocal working visits, among others. This bilateral cooperation is often formalised by the signing of Protocols and Cooperation Agreements.