Ombudsman attends IOI Regional Board Meeting in Mexico City

GREAT BAY, The Ombudsman of Sint Maarten, Ms. Gwendolien Mossel, recently attended the Caribbean and Latin American Regional Board of Directors meeting of the International Ombudsman Institute’s (IOI), which was held from March 11-14, 2024 in Mexico City. Ms. Mossel is a Regional Director. The meeting was hosted by Ms. Nashieli Ramirez Hernandez of the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City, who is currently the Regional President. The other two Regional Directors, Mr. Gabriel Savino (Ombudsman of the province of Santa Fe, Argentina), and Keursly Concincion (Ombudsman of Curaçao) were also in attendance. The IOI, established in 1978, is the global organization for the cooperation of 205 independent Ombudsman institutions from more than 100 countries worldwide. The IOI is organized in six regional chapters – Africa, Asia, Australasian and Pacific, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America and North America. 

In photo seated: Keursly Concincion, Ombudsman Curaçao (second from left), Nashieli Ramirez Hernandez, Human Rights Commission of Mexico City, (fourth from left), Gwendolien Mossel, Ombudsman Sint Maarten (fifth from left), Gabriel Savino, Ombudsman of the province of Santa Fe, Argentina (sixth from left). Also included in the photo are support staff and various representatives of government and civil society.

Climate change, violence against women, poverty and migration

During the meeting follow-up discussions were held regarding the regional work agenda such as climate change, violence against women and poverty. Special emphasis was made on the current humanitarian crisis in Haiti. In this regard, the Ombudsman of Haiti, Dr. Renan Hédouville, who was initially scheduled to attend the meeting in-person but could not due to the escalation of the aforementioned crisis in his country, joined the meeting electronically and expounded on the challenges which are being described as post-apocalyptic by the international media.

Another primary topic on the agenda was the migratory wave that has reached Mexico City, whereby hundreds of foreigners, including children, primarily from Central America and Haiti, have settled in shelters and camps on the streets while waiting for a chance to cross into the United States seeking the prospect of a better future. To fully comprehend the situation one of the shelters and a street camp were visited. Meetings with civil society organizations that provide support to the migrant population as well as with some members of the Mexico City Congress and the Secretary of the Government of Mexico City were also held.

Humanitarian crisis in Haiti

At the conclusion of the meeting the Ombuds institutions of the Caribbean & Latin American Region issued a statement regarding the mobility crisis in the region and the crisis in Haiti. They also expressed solidarity with the Haitian people and their respect and support of the work carried out by the Office for the Protection of the Citizen of the Republic of Haiti, which is essential to achieve the respect and guarantee of human rights of the entire population in the country.

In this regard the Ombudsman reiterates her previously expressed concern vis à vis the ongoing humanitarian crisis and the interrelated detention and forced repatriation of Haitian nationals.

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