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Impact of COVID-19 on Ombuds Institutions for the Armed Forces

26 May, 2021



New technologies simply cannot generate the insight and trust gained through personal interactions with a complainant or a witness, which allows for richer and more nuanced information gathering.

This is the second of a two-part series of briefing notes, informed by the discussions from the 12th International Conference of Ombuds Institutions for the Armed Forces (ICOAF) held in October 2020, as well as the results from the COVID-19 survey DCAF has distributed among ICOAF participants in the summer of 2020.

The first note published in February 2021 concentrates on the impact of COVID-19 on armed forces, whilst this note focuses on ombuds institutions for the armed forces. It presents an overview of how these institutions have responded to pandemic-related challenges, and how they have adapted to new circumstances in order to maintain their vigilance as watchdogs.

This note maps the impact of COVID-19 on ombuds institutions, from two perspectives. First, we examine how the pandemic has affected ombuds institutions as organizations. Second, we look at how the pandemic has influenced the work of ombuds institutions, especially in terms of complaint-handling and fieldwork, and how that has affected their ability to protect the rights of both armed forces personnel and the citizens with whom they have had contact during their COVID-19 deployments.