21th BOD Meeting at Baku, Azerabaijan

21st Meeting of the Board of Directors  Asian Ombudsman Association  Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan held on 30th October, 2018

21st Meeting of the Board of Directors (BOD) of Asian Ombudsman Association (AOA) was held on 30th October, 2018 at Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan. The meeting was presided over by the President AOA, Hon’ble Mr. Syed Tahir Shahbaz, Federal Ombudsman Pakistan. Mr. Abdul Khaliq, Executive Secretary of the AOA Secretariat, coordinated the Meeting.

Nine Members of the BOD participated in the Meeting who are :

  1. Mr. Syed Tahir Shahbaz  President, Federal Ombudsman, Pakistan
  2. Ms. Elmira Suleymanova ,Vice President, Commissioner for Human Rights, Azerbaijan.
  3. Ms. Connie Lau Yin-hing,Secretary,   Ombudsman Hong Kong.
  4. Mr.  Justice Naser Seraj, Treasurer, President,  General Inspection Organization Iran.
  5. Mr. Amzulian Rifai, Member Board, Chairman Ombudsman Institution, Indonesia.
  6. Ms. Sariya Saburskaya, Member Board, Commissioner for Human Rights, Tatarstan.
  7. Mr. Weiyao Yan, Member Board, Director General, Ministry of Supervision, China.
  8. Mr. Kiyotsugu Harashima,  Member Board, Director, AEB, Ministry of Internal Affairs & Communications Japan.
  9. Mr. Harjeet Singh, Member Board, Director General,  Public Complaints Bureau Malaysia. 

The Members welcomed Mr. Syed Tahir Shahbaz on his joining as Federal Ombudsman Pakistan and President of AOA and hoped that his varied experience will help further promote the cause of Ombudsmanship and strengthen the fraternity among the Members of the Association under his able guidance and patronage. In his opening remarks Mr President,AOA said

              “14th AOA Conference and General Assembly Meeting were held in 2015 in Islamabad, Pakistan where present Board of Directors was elected. As per Bye-Laws, AOA General Assembly meets every second year; thus the 15th General Assembly Meeting was the prime activity of the Pyeong Chang Conference in 2017. The General Assembly Meeting was preceded by 20th Board of Directors Meeting in PyeongChang. This is the 21st Board Meeting, the first meeting that I am participating as I took over as the Federal Ombudsman Pakistan after the 2017 PyeongChang Global Ombudsman Conference held in May, 2017. So I feel hounoured finding this great opportunity to learn from the rich experience of my learned colleagues.

                  The grand event set for today, here in Baku, the historic city and glorious capital of Azerbaijan will surely provide great opportunity for sharing experiences to strengthen the Ombudsmanship for the betterment of humanity in our region and beyond. I, on behalf the Association, especially the Members of the Board and the Secretariat, thank Hon’ble Professor Elmira and the Government of Azerbaijan for hosting the 21st BOD Meeting and making excellent arrangements for the Event. I am also thankful to respectable colleagues for accepting the invitation and joining us here for the noble cause of Ombudsmanship.

                  Before we may discuss the Agenda set for the meeting today I will mention a few actions taken during the last year. I will be very brief as their detail is already given in my Annual Report annexed with the Working Paper.

  • As a result of vigorous drive, Ombudsman Institutions of Turkey, Republic of Dagestan, Georgia and Jordon joined AOA as full members.
  • Amendments in the AOA legal framework on the issues like Electoral Reforms and easing of Entry Requirements for AOA membership were made.
  • Website and e- Newsletter of AOA were made functional.
  • A well equipped, free of cost and fully functional office premises of the Headquarter of AOA was established in the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat Islamabad.
  • A regular Executive Secretary of AOA is looking after the AOA’s Secretariat which has ensured continuity to the activities of the Association.
  • Establishment of AOA Alumni of retired AOA members is in process to ensure participation of retired members in the major events of the AOA.
  • State-of-the art paraphernalia and communication tools like webinar/video conferencing and an AOA Directory akin to the IOI Directory are also in the process of establishment.

Now coming to the Agenda of current meeting, I would like to seek your kind attention on the next Board Elections. As you know, last elections of the BOD and Office Bearers were held in 2015. As per Bye-Laws of the Association, next elections are due in 2019; therefore, present BOD meeting needs to work out an Action Plan for holding elections in the upcoming General Assembly Meeting, scheduled to be held in Turkey in 2019, in a fair and transparent manner in line with the procedure laid down in the Bye-Laws and in the light of suggestions made by Hon’ble Members in the AOA meetings held in Tokyo, Kazan and Korea. I will request the Members to especially focus on the matters related to: 

  • Procedure of Election laid down in the Bye-Laws.
  • Proposals contained in AEB, Japan, Letter.
  • Date of holding General Assembly Meeting in 2019, in Turkey
  • Timeframe for Nominations, Scrutiny of Documents, Procedure for Ballot.

                   I conclude my Opening Remarks with the hope that your candid suggestions on these Issues will make the election process even more transparent and participative and, with this, I request the Executive Secretary to proceed with the Agenda”.

    Responding on the President’s Remarks, the Members appreciated the services rendered by the AOA Secretariat, especially for managing efficient communication tools like AOA Website, e-Newsletter, online exchange of information and providing analytical reports to the Members for resolving the outstanding issues. They also thanked the President for ensuring cost free effective Secretariat support and successful drive for expansion of membership of the Association.

The Executive Secretary presented a detailed Election Plan containing the Timeframe for Nominations, Scrutiny of Documents, and Procedure for Ballot keeping in view the rule position given under the Bye-laws and Code of Conduct of Business of AOA and the proposals made by the Members. He suggested that the Election Process would start three months ahead of the scheduled date of the next General Assembly: first sixty days would be allocated for Nominations (documented intention of a contesting Member duly supported by a Proposer and Seconder); next fifteen days would be allocated for scrutiny of Nomination Papers by the Executive Committee and, thereafter, the final lists of contesting Members will be circulated among the AOA Members. Details of all these activities will be placed before the Board Meeting which would precede the General Assembly Meeting. As provided in the Bye-laws and Code of Conduct of Business of AOA, Elections will be conducted in the General Assembly Meeting under the chairmanship of a senior most Member, not himself contesting for a post, through a secret ballot and votes will be counted in front of the Members and results will be announced accordingly.

The Election Plan, proposed by the Executive Secretary, was appreciated by the Members and it was unanimously approved for implementation.

The Members were apprised on the initiatives taken by the General Inspection Organization (GIO) Iran, so far, for promoting the Academy as state of the art academic institution in the area of ombudsmanship. Hon’ble Justice Naser Seraj, the President, GIO, Iran,   updated the Board on the activities of the Academy and proposed to give it status of an affiliated body of the Association. He further shared with the Members that he desired AOA’s support in terms of operational interaction with the Members and patronage of the Association; however, the Academy, for its financial and logistic needs, will not be dependent on the Association’s support.

The Members unanimously supported the proposal for granting the Academy status of an affiliated body of the Association and also approved for its placement before the General Assembly for ratification.

The Board was apprised that in the 15th General Assembly Meeting (2017), Hon’ble Chief Ombudsman Turkey offered for hosting 16th General Assembly Meeting and AOA Conference in 2019. As per set tradition, a BOD Meeting precedes General Assembly Meeting; therefore, the 22nd BOD and 16th General Assembly Meetings will be held next year in Turkey.

The Board desired that the Secretariat should contact the Chief Ombudsman Office Turkey for seeking the date for the next General Assembly Meeting scheduled to be held in Turkey in 2019.

The Chair invited the Members to discuss any additional point, they feel like. Some Members proposed that Hon’ble Mr. Muhammad Salman Faruqui, former President AOA and Federal Ombudsman Pakistan, Hon’ble Ms. Connie Lau Yin-hing, Secretary AOA and Ombudsman Hong Kong (retiring in April 2019) and Hon’ble Mr. Abdur Rauf Chaudhry, former Federal Tax Ombudsman Pakistan (Full Member) may be granted status of Honourary Life Members, under the Bye-law of the Association. This proposal was unanimously supported by the Board.