Public Defender of Rights

Overview:

The institution of the Public Defender of Rights (Ombudsman) was founded in 2001. Its main task is to defend the good governance principles. Since 2009 the Public Defender of Rights is the National Equality Body and its vision is based on 3 pillars: “to inform, to educate and to help”. The Office of the Public Defender of Rights deals annually with approx. 8000 files, approx. 380 of them contain a discriminatory element.

Brief history

The Public Defender of Rights has been a national equality body pursuant to the law and applicable directives of the European Union since 2009. The Act on the Public Defender of Rights stipulates: ‘The Defender shall contribute to promotion of the right to equal treatment of all persons regardless of their race or ethnic origin, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, belief or opinions.’

The Ombudsman provides a complex legal support and assistance to victims of discrimination. The Defender cooperates with an NGO providing pro bono help (www.probonoaliance.cz) . The Defender cooperates with the inspection bodies. The Defender also holds educational events for the main stakeholders, experts, and general public. The Defender also publishes “Recommendations on non-discrimination”. The recommendations are focused on the public and are statements of the Defender to different phenomena related with discrimination. The Defender is also responsible for research activities.

Mandate Type

Predominantly promotion-type and legal support body

Litigation power:

  • Formally deciding on complaints (e.g. decision or recommendation addressed to the parties) Not legally binding
  • Challenging bylaws before Constitutional Court, Intervening as a party to the proceedings before Constituitional Court, Challenging decisions fo administrative bodies before administrative courts

Activities

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Activities aimed at supporting vulnerable groups ( e.g. through trainings )
Activities aimed at supporting duty bearers such as employers and service providers (e.g. through trainings, guidance material, practical support, etc.)
Communication activities (e.g. awareness raising campaigns)
Recommendations on discrimination issues
Publications and reports
Research projects (including surveys)

Our institution has a mandate to deal with:

  • National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), Monitoring of Forced Returns

Other statistics:

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Number of inquiries handled per year (all contact even if not resulting in a formal complaint)176271253360332379
Number of cases handled per year (case files opened and processed according to your procedures)
Number of media appearances per year (major newspapers/magazines/websites/blogs, TV + radio channels) - does not include social media562240344829448047934806

Management

  • Single headed equality body (led by director or ombudsman/commissioner)

Management details

The Head of the Czech Equality Body is the Public Defender of Rights (Ombudsman). The Defender has its Deputy Defender. The Defender may delegate part of his/her mandate to the Deputy. The Defender’s tasks are carried out by the Office of the Public Defender of Rights.

Additional details

The Office of the Public Defender of Rights has 130 employees. The protection against discrimination is ensured by the Division of Equal Treatment established within the Office. The Department has 11 employees – senior legal officers (one employee works part-time). One researcher (part-time) designs and undertakes surveys, one employee (part-time) is in charge of foreign affairs and social media. Two employees (full-time) work as spokespersons.

Procedure for nomination and appointment of management and board

The Ombudsman is elected by the Chamber of Deputies, the lower chamber of the Parliament. Two candidates are nominated by the President of the Republic and other two by the Senate. The term of office lasts six years. Two consecutive terms are possible.

Number of staff dealing with equality issues

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
666611.510.5

Grounds and fields of discrimination covered by the equality body

Grounds / Fields Employment Education Housing Social Protection & Healthcare Goods and Services Other
Gender
Gender Identity
Race and Ethnic Origin
Age
Disability
Sexual Orientation
Religion & Belief
Other grounds:

The list of protected grounds is broader in other legal Acts (language, political opinion, national or social origin). The protection against discrimination is entrusted to administrative bodies (Labour Inspectorate, School Inspectorate etc.) and the Defender can open an inquiery when administrative bodies do not protect other grounds sufficiently.

Mandate covers:

  • Public sector
  • Private sector

Operating budget in euros

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
34290003347000352800038660004332296

We are accountable to

  • National Parliament