Since inception of the Islamic History, the concept of Mohtasib (Ombudsman) remained the hallmark of Islamic Civilization through the Great Caliphs and onward. The modern Ombudsman, in fact, is a variant of the Islamic era Mohtasib originated by the second Caliph Omar (RA) as the Institution of the “Qadi-al-Qadat”. Later on, the Institution got recognition as “Diwan-al-Mazalim” and the Turkish Mohtasib. The Mohtasib in the Islamic Jurisdiction, was a public official who conducted accountability of public officials. He enjoyed complete independence and performed his judicial duties within the documented framework. During the Abbasids era, complaint handling agencies, headed by a senior judge called “Diwan-al-Mazalim”, were established to hear complaints brought by the public against government officials. The Islamic era Mohtasib is thus the institutional precursor of the modern day Ombudsman – a Nordic accomplishment.
In pursuance of a pronouncement in the 39th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), held in Djibouti on 15 -17th November, 2012, a Conference on “Networking of Ombudsmen in the OIC Member States" was held on 28 - 29th April, 2014 in Islamabad (Pakistan) which was graced by delegates from 23 OIC Member States. During the deliberations of the Conference, the participants emphasized that Islamic concept of accountability should be the top priority and suitable institutional arrangement be devised for sharing knowledge, experience, and ideas for strengthening the institution of the Ombudsman in OIC Member States. To achieve these objectives, it was unanimously agreed by the participants that an Association, named “OIC Ombudsman Association (OICOA)”, be established with its Secretariat at Islamabad (Pakistan). Accordingly, a Steering Committee of 9 member countries was constituted for framing the Constitution, By-laws and Rules for the Association. The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) and President Forum of Pakistan Ombudsman (FPO) was elected as Chairman of the Steering Committee. In view of these decisions, Secretariat of the Association has been established, annexed to the FTO Office, at Islamabad and a senior civil servant, Mr. Abdul Khaliq, has been appointed as its Secretary so that necessary logistics and secretarial support could be ensured for furthering the cause of the OICOA.
Looking globally, out of 257 countries in the world, 144 countries have Ombudsman Institutions, including 29 OIC Member States. For keeping close coordination among these institutions in the respective countries, there are 19 Associations/Organizations of the Ombudsmen in the world so far. These are International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), International Ombudsman Association (IOA), Asian Ombudsman Association (AOA), Australian & New Zealand Ombudsman Association (ANZOA), African Ombudsman & Mediators Association (AOMA), African Ombudsman Research Centre (AORC), Asociación Defensores del Pueblo de la República Argentina (ADPRA), Association of Mediterranean Ombudsmen (AMO), Association of Ombudsmen & Mediators of the Francophonie (AOMF), Canadian Ombudsman Association (COA), European Ombudsman Institute (EOI), Coalition of Federal Ombudsmen, Forum of Canadian Ombudsman (FCO), Forum of Pakistan Ombudsman (FPO), Federación Iberoamericana del Ombudsman (FIO), Instituto Latinoamericano de Ombudsman (ILO), Ibero American Federation of Ombudsmen (IAFO), OIC Ombudsmen Association (OICOA), Pacific Ombudsman Alliance (POA), and United States Ombudsman Association (USOA).
All the worthy members of the OICOA are requested to appoint Focal Persons for efficient communication with the OICOA Secretariat and among the constituting members. A dedicated email address for each member will be posted on this website soon. Through this email, members may send their contributions to the OICOA Secretariat for posting on the website.
The Secretariat will welcome any advice/suggestions for the improvement of the website to make it a dynamic and effective vehicle of closer interaction.
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