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Municipality Training Seminar for the protection of the human rights through the institution of the local public mediator in Shoumen
 
A municipality training seminar on the protection of the human rights through the institution of the public mediator took place on November 5, 2004 in Shoumen. The event was organized by the Center for the Study of Democracy and Coalition 2000, with the cooperation of the Bulgarian Association for Fair Elections and Civil Rights – Razgrad Club and the support of the Shoumen municipality in relation to the recent/current election of the local public mediator.

The aim of the seminar was to promote the important role of the ombudsman institution for the improvement of the quality of the administrative services and the countering corruption among the citizens of Shoumen municipality. Representatives of the local authorities, NGOs, medias and citizens participated in the seminar. It benefited from the participation of the Chair of the Municipal Council of Shoumen Ms. Daniela Ruseva, Ms. Valentina Mircheva, municipal councillor, the local public mediators of Kavarna and Shoumen Ms. Eli Mileva and Mr. Hristo Hristov, mayors of other municipalities in Shoumen district.

The seminar was opened by Mr. Georgi Milkov, Project Director, Bulgarian Association for Fair Elections and Civil Rights – Razgrad Club. The Chair of the Bulgarian Association for Fair Elections and Civil Rights – Razgrad Club Ms. Julka Boikova presented the experience of the organization in the implementation of three projects for the establishment of local public mediators in different municipalities in Razgrad district. She shared the good practices and underlined the importance of the personality of the office holder. Ms. Daniela Ruseva greeted the participants on behalf of the municipal council and shared her satisfaction with the successful election of the public mediator in Shoumen. Ms. Ruseva expressed the opinion that the establishment of the ombudsman institution at national and local level is a guarantee against arbitrary actions of the administration and for free enjoyment of human rights.

Mr. Plamen Petrov, attorney-at-law presented the legal framework of the institution of the local public mediator provided by the Law on Local Self-Government and Local Administration.

Ms. Valentina Mircheva, municipal councillor, shared the experience acquired during the process of the institutionalization of the public mediator in Shoumen district. The majority of the participants expressed their expectations towards the activity of the local public mediator and their support for the institution.

Different aspects of the process of the establishment of the institution of the public mediator in Shoumen and Kavarna were discussed. Mr. Hristo Hristov shared his views on his future activity as public mediator and plans for the development of the institution.

Ms. Eli Mileva, the first local public mediator elected after the amendments introducing the legal framework of the institution in the Law on Local Self-Government and Local Administration, delivered detailed presentation on her work.

Among the main topics of discussion during the seminar were the accumulated experience and practices in the functioning of the institution on local level before and after the amendments of the Law on Local Self-Government and Local Administration, the funding of the public mediators, the overall importance of the personality of the office-holder for the successful functioning of the institution, the mechanisms for the election of public mediator, providing prerequisites for quality nominations and elections, the powers of the public mediator and his/her interaction with the municipal administration, etc. The question of the public evaluation and the need of indicators for the efficiency of the public mediator were also issues of special interest.

The seminar took place on the same day along with the Round table “Citizens Participation and Transparency”, organized by the Local Government Initiative (LGI). The Model Rules on the Organization and Activity of the Public Mediator were presented at the Round table. The Rules are elaborated by a Task Force hosted by the LGI. Representatives of the CSD, Coalition 2000 and the Bulgarian Association for Fair Elections and Civil Rights – Razgrad Club were active participants in the Task Force.

 
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