After his presentation and despite a heavy schedule of engagements Dr Mandela was in no mood to depart. He lingered over coffee, posed for photographs, shook hands and signed autographs, much to the delight of delegates vying with each other for his attention but trying hard to remain respectful and dignified. Coming back to the main business of the Conference, Dr Marten Oosting, former Ombudsman of the Netherlands and member of his country???s Council of State, in a very fine paper, described the rich diversity of ombudsman schemes throughout the world ranging from the classical Scandinavian model to the modern version embracing the additional role of human rights protector.
Indeed, the human rights dimension of ombudsmen???s work was an underlying theme of many of the papers ??? an issue which, perhaps, in these islands, we don???t tend to fully appreciate or recognize. He also emphasised the desire of the High Commissioner to work closely with ombudsmen and similar institutions. Corporate Website Design Sir Brian Elwood also picked up on this theme in an excellent paper in which he looked into the future and saw citizens across the world demanding ever increasing levels of accountability from their governments.
The information age would lead to new contractual arrangements between governments and citizens on sharing of information. Governments would be called upon to listen before acting and would be expected to proceed on the basis of consent rather than through the exercise of power. The way forward, he said was ???to combine human rights objectives with ombudsman skills. The human rights agenda received further emphasis through the participation of delegates in a ceremony to mark the inauguration of a Chair of Human Rights in the University of Natal ??? the first such chair in the Republic of South Africa.
ADR was also analysed by one of the panellists in a workshop chaired by Kevin Murphy, Ombudsman of Ireland and (at that time) European Regional Director of the IOI. A Bill has been published recently with a view to putting other private ombudsman schemes on a statutory basis. As might be expected of ombudsman-type candidates, canvassing for election to the four IOI European Region Director posts was low-key and restrained.