What is the Ombudsman
The Greek Ombudsman is a constitutionally established Independent Authority. It was founded in October 1998 and operates under the provisions of Law 3094/2003. The Ombudsman provides its services to the public free of charge.
The mission of the Greek Ombudsman is to mediate between the public sector and private individuals, in order to protect the latter's citizens' rights, to ensure the former's compliance with the rule of law rights, and to combat maladministration.
In addition, the Ombudsman is concerned with the protection and promotion of children's rights. This mission has been undertaken by the Department of Children's Rights.
The Department of Children's Rights is one of the five Departments of the Independent Authority of the Greek Ombudsman. It was established by Law 3094/2003, which extended the Ombudsman's jurisdiction to the mission of defending and promoting children's rights, and operates in correspondence to the internationally acknowledged institution of the Ombudsman for Children. The Department of Children's Rights began to operate in July 2003.
The mission of the Department of Children's Rights is the defense and promotion of children's rights. As "children" we define all persons who have not yet reached the age of 18.
In the context of its mission, the Department:
- Mediates in specific cases in which a child's rights are being violated, following a complaint filed by a citizen, aiming at the protection of the child and at the restitution of his/her rights. If necessary, in cases of serious violations, the Ombudsman acts on its own initiative .
- The Department undertakes initiatives in order to monitor and promote the implementation of international conventions and of the national legislation on children's rights, to inform the public, to exchange views with representatives of other institutions and to elaborate and submit proposals to the government.
The Children's Ombudsman around the world
Twenty out of the twenty-five members of the EU have a Children's Ombudsman. It is an institution that was first established in Norway during the 1980s, and developed especially after the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by member states.
In 1997, 12 Independent Authorities for Children' Rights in Europe created the European Network of Ombudsmen for Children (ENOC). ENOC set the standards for all authorities calling themselves Children's Ombudsmen. In Greece, Law 3094/2003 introduced a Children's Ombudsman as part of the already Independent Authority of the Greek Ombudsman.