“The SCA still notes that Section 2 of the Ombudsman (Komesina o Sulufaiga) Act 2013 (the Act) defines human rights as those contained in the Constitution, other laws, customary international law and international human rights treaties listed in Schedule 1 of the Act, which does not include the Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. The SCA also notes that the mandate of the Ombudsman does not encompass the acts or omissions of private entities.

The SCA acknowledges that the Ombudsman interprets its mandate broadly to include economic, social, and cultural rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as customary international law, and implements activities to address issues surrounding these rights, including the right to education, health, employment, and the impact of climate change on the full range of rights. The SCA encourages the Ombudsman to continue to interpret its mandate broadly to include the promotion and protection of all human rights.

An NHRI’s mandate should be interpreted in a broad, liberal, and purposive manner to promote a progressive definition of human rights, which includes all rights set out in international, regional, and domestic instruments, including economic, social, and cultural rights.

The SCA further emphasizes that the mandate of an NHRI should extend to the acts and omissions of both the public and private sectors.

The SCA encourages the Ombudsman to advocate for the amendment of its enabling law to include the ability to address all human rights violations resulting from the acts and omissions of private entities.

In this regard, the SCA emphasizes that, where an NHRI has been mandated with additional responsibilities, it must be provided with additional resources to enable it to assume the responsibilities of discharging these functions.”