The Office of the Ombudsman is a statutory body independent from Government, originally set up under the Ombudsman Act 1989. Under this Act the Office dealt with matters of good governance i.e. to investigate and resolve complaints about the administrative actions, decisions or omissions of Samoan government ministries and agencies.
In 2013, the Office was given additional functions and the 1989 legislation was replaced by the Ombudsman Act 2013. The additional mandates of the Ombudsman Office included the role as Samoa National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) as well as carrying out of special investigations in relation to misconduct of law enforcement officials and agencies.
Overall, the Office of the Ombudsman/ National Human Rights Institution is tasked to carry out three main functions under its legislation dealing with matters of:
- Good Governance. This function is carried out by the Good Governance Unit. For more information on this role, please see here.
- Human Rights. This function is carried out by Vaega o Aia Tatau Mo Tagata Soifua. For more information on this role, please see here.
- Special Investigations. This function is carried out by the Special Investigations Unit. For more information on this role, please see here.
In addition to these three Units there is also the Vaega o Auaunaga Lautele which deals with the daily operations of the Office (for more information on the role of this Unit see here) and the Engagement and Communications Unit which supports the Office with regards to its engagement and communications with its partners and stakeholders (for more information on the role of this Unit see here).
The Office of the Ombudsman is part of the Law and Justice Sector and part of various task force/ steering committees as an adviser on good governance and human rights issues.