Chile Ombudsman Chapter Integrates New Secretary General

He ombudsman An ombudsman is a public official whose function is to investigate government agencies that have violated the rights of individuals and allows individuals to lodge complaints about government actions affecting their rights.

Currently, 85 countries have an ombudsman and the countries with such an institution in Latin America are: Belize, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina.

In Chile, several attempts have been made to establish this institution in the country. One of these efforts has existed since 1985 and is the Chilean chapter of the Ombudsman, an NGO that has its origins in the Grupo de Estudios Constitutionalis or “Group of 24”, a group of jurists opposed to the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. The group’s aim was to produce an alternative draft of a constitution for the country, in contrast to the initial draft of the 1980 political constitution.

“In this project, the figure of the ombudsman was then considered as one of the constituent elements of the future democratic regime that would be established after the dictatorship,” he comments. Robinson FuentesCurrent President of the Chilean Chapter of the Ombudsman.

Recently, the institution has appointed its new secretary general, Carlos Reiser, a lawyer from the University of Chile, with a master’s degree in constitutional law from the Catholic University, a master’s degree in computer science, and an expert from the Complutense University of Human Rights. Madrid.

Racer has a long history. He was part of the Spanish Agency for Data Protection and has been a professor of transparency, procedural law, copyright and cyber security at various Chilean universities, such as the University of Chile, Universidad Mayor, Universidad Central, Universidad Diego Portales and Universidad Alberto Hurtado.

In addition, he has worked in Chile’s Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications, was advisor to Law No. 21,180 on the Digital Transformation of the State in the General Secretariat of the Presidency and legal advisor in the National Television Council. Currently, he is a counselor at the Chilean Institute of Law and Technology and a partner at the firm AltLegal.

“We have elected Carlos to our Board of Directors based on his outstanding academic, social and fundamental rights career,” Fuentes explains of the reason for Reuser’s election.

Reuser’s analysis

Some of the achievements that Robinson highlights from the Fuentes institution are various legislative projects, the National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation, the National Corporation for Reparations and Reconciliation and the recommendations of the “Engel Commission”. In addition, it highlights the priority by citizens of the subject of the Lokpal during the participatory phase of the constituent process of the second government of former President Bachelet, as well as the consecration of the institution that was presented in the constitutional resolution. The referendum last September 4th.

Despite this, the figure of Lokpal has not yet been established in the country. Carlos Reiser believes that there are several reasons for this failure and also mentions that there have been many opponents of the idea at different times in the organization’s history.

“Perhaps the most frequent enemy has been ignorance, and I am not talking about the lack of knowledge on the subject that the general populace may have, but more precisely what we call the “political class”: when they It turns out that the institution Lokpal also receives the name “ombudsman”, a series of indignation arises, sometimes with sadistic edges, in which they tell us that they would never support the creation of an institution with that name. will not, because in his hypothetical concept “the people have an ideological left”, Reusser explains, lamenting this simplification that limits itself to a division between right and left.

The new Secretary General also points to the circumstantial slander that has hindered the integration of the Lokpal. “Years ago a number of deputies told us that they would not support the idea of ​​making laws, as their special function was to oversee the conduct of public administration; We also found opposition from the Comptroller General of the Republic at that time, who held that the examination of the legality of the actions of public bodies was within its competence”, he added.

Some of Reusser’s plans in his new position at the organization include creating strategic alliances with organizations and groups that could strengthen the idea of ​​establishing an ombudsman in Chile, creating contact channels with legislators and prominent political leaders, and Can look for opportunities. Talk with representatives of the government.

“From my point of view, in order to achieve the goal of being an ombudsman, we need training and knowledge from our public officials as well as citizens, who often find themselves in difficulties and do not know how to act in a country. where issues such as access to legal services are beyond the reach of the majority of the population”, Reiser concluded.

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