The Chief Ombudsman of Thailand has been elected as the new Asian Regional President of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI).
The official results of the election for the position of Asian Regional President were announced by the IOI General Secretariat. Somsak Suwansujarit, Thailand’s Chief Ombudsman, was elected by unanimous vote from regional agencies during a secret e-ballot held by the General Secretariat from April 22 to May 2 of this year.
According to the new regional president, he was proud as an ombudsman from Thailand to have received the confidence and trust of the other members. In his previous responsibility as the IOI Asian Regional Director, he emphasized the importance of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, expanded infrastructure networks to address injustice, and protected the rights of the people using the rule of law. The Thai ombudsman also strengthened relations with international communities, such as by signing Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on bilateral cooperation with the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC) of South Korea, the Ombudsman from Uzbekistan, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan.
The Thai ombudsman also recently signed a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) with the Ombudsman Republik Indonesia (ORI) and the Office of the Ombudsman of the Republic of the Philippines to establish the South East Asian Ombudsman Forum (SEAOF). The aim of this forum is to enhance multilateral cooperation among regional Ombudsman organizations in order to help people in the Southeast Asia region.
As a representative of IOI member agencies in the region, Somsak said he will prioritize strategic development in expanding bilateral and multilateral cooperation between Asia and other regions. Digital innovations will also be used in public communications to highlight the IOI’s responsibilities of alleviating hardship, eliminating injustice and protecting the rights of people.
Somsak’s first duty as Asian Regional President will be to chair the Asian Regional Meeting at the IOI Board of Directors’ Meeting in New York from May 10-12. He said this will allow him to discuss regulatory issues in the Asia region and forge regional cooperation, which will in turn lead to developments for Thai and regional Ombudsman members to fight corruption and ensure effective public administration in the future.