Since July 2012 the Austrian Ombudsman Board (AOB) fulfills the mandate to protect and promote
human rights, granted to it under Austrian constitutional law. This report showcasts the activities of
the Austrian National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) in 2015.
The Act on the Implementation of OPCAT (OPCAT-Durchführungsgesetz, Federal Law Gazette I, No.
1/2012) goes far beyond the mere implementation of the OPCAT. This very broad preventive
mandate includes a mandate as NPM according to OPCAT (Austrian Federal Constitution, Art. 148a
subsection 1), a mandate as independent monitoring authority according to Art. 16 para. 3 CRPD
(Austrian Federal Constitution, Art. 148a subsection 2) as well as a mandate to monitor and
concomitantly examine the behavior of organs authorized to issue direct orders and carry out
coercive measures (Austrian Federal Constitution, Art. 148a subsection 3).
It was at the explicit request of civil society, that the task as an independent mechanism for the
prevention of violence in accordance to Art. 16 para. 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was included in this mandate. It is our clear intention to comply
with both, our mandate as NPM and as an independent authority according to Art. 16 para. 3
CRPD. The monitoring experience of the past years has shown that these tasks overlap as far as
facilities are concerned. Our annual report therefore intentionally includes the monitoring of
facilities dedicated to persons with disabilities, since they also fall within the scope of OPCAT (Art.
International cooperation is very important and active participation in various networks has further
increased in 2015. In November the AOB took over the presidency in the South-East Europe NPM
Network (SEE NPM). The main aim of this network that includes NPMs from Albania, Bulgaria,
Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia is to provide a forum in which
knowledge and experiences regarding human rights standards and monitoring are shared. After
a very stimulating first meeting of NPMs from German-speaking countries in 2014, the AOB invited
representatives of the German and Swiss NPM to a follow-up meeting in Vienna in October 2015.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the commissions for their commitment during the
numerous monitoring visits and the Human Rights Advisory Council for its continuous support. Our
particular thanks go to our employees, who contributed significantly to the fulfilment of our
constitutional mandate. Last but not least we would like to express our thanks to the Federal
Ministries and other federal, regional and municipal bodies for their willingness to cooperate.
Dr. Günther Kräuter
Vienna, June 2016
Dr. Gertrude Brinek
Dr. Peter Fichtenbauer