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Chris Field, President of the International Ombudsman Institute and Western Australian Ombudsman, awarded the First-Grade CY Medal

  • PostDate:2023-08-02

Chris Field, President of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) and Western Australian Ombudsman, paid a visit to the Control Yuan (CY) on July 24th. During his visit, he was honored with the prestigious first-grade Control Yuan medal and delivered a highly significant keynote address.

In her opening remarks, President Chen Chu highlighted that both CY and the Western Australian Ombudsman are members of the Australasian Pacific Ombudsman Region (APOR) and previously met in New Zealand in October 2022. President Chen further emphasized that this meeting in Taiwan was characterized by an amicable atmosphere. President Field also remarked that the CY has been a longstanding supporter and active participant in the IOI, and that it remains dedicated to advancing good governance practices and safeguarding human rights, making it a valued and cherished member of the IOI.

President Chen highlighted that President Field, a former practicing lawyer, has been serving as the Western Australian Ombudsman since 2007. He holds the esteemed position of being the most senior Ombudsman in Australia and commenced his fourth term last year. In recognition of his long-term dedication to both Australian and international ombudsman affairs, he was honored with the Australia Public Service Medal this February.

Moreover, in recognition of President Field's dedicated efforts to promote the reform of the IOI's constitution and electoral system, foster international cooperation, and provide support to ombudsmen facing threats to their independence worldwide, the CY Medal Review Committee unanimously approved the awarding of the first-grade medal. This prestigious honor serves to commend him for his exceptional contributions to the field of international ombudsman affairs.

President Field delivered a keynote address titled "The Modern Institution of the Ombudsman and Good Governance, the Rule of Law and Human Rights." He expressed gratitude to the CY for awarding him the first-grade medal and conveyed his deep sense of honor. In addition to providing an overview of the Ombudsman's evolution and the role and responsibilities of the IOI, President Field discussed the ways in which the modern Ombudsman and IOI safeguard and advance good governance, the rule of law and human rights. He also highlighted the importance of supporting Ombudsmen through the Venice Principles and various UN resolutions.

Furthermore, in relation to the efforts of the IOI in safeguarding and advancing human rights, President Field has put forth a number of initiatives. These include extending support to the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights and the Office for the Protection of the Citizen of Haiti in their fights against unlawful criminal violence, as well as providing aid to refugees. Additionally, the IOI has allocated funds for research conducted by the Pakistani Ombudsman on malnutrition and its devastating consequences. The primary works of the Western Australian Ombudsman is the promotion of child well-being and prevention of child fatalities, alongside the advancement of aboriginal rights.

Following the keynote address, President Field, CY members and Secretary-General engaged in a lively discussion with various important topics. These included the rights of aboriginals, safeguarding of youth and children, striking a balance between pandemic prevention measures and the fundamental rights of individuals, essential elements of good governance, and the complexities of regulatory authority in the digital era.

During his time in Taiwan, President Field will be embarking on a visit to the National Human Rights Museum in Jingmei, with the aim of gaining insights into the development of human rights in Taiwan. Additionally, he will visit Southern Taiwan to see the efforts made by local governments in advancing human rights and implementing good governance policies, as well as experiencing Hakka and Indigenous cultures during his visits to Kaohsiung and Pingtung. The protection of aboriginal rights and cultures is one of the top policies of the Australian government, and we are committed to fostering deeper exchanges and cooperation on matters pertaining to this important issue.