The Ombudsman is a State body with constitutional consolidation, in its article 23, and legal support in the Law No. 9/91, April 9, which is his Statute.

The Ombudsman is a State body with constitutional consolidation, in its article 23, and legal support in the Law No. 9/91, April 9, which is his Statute.

Appointed by the Parliament – with a qualified majority of its members – the Ombudsman is mandated to receive complaints of all (natural or legal) persons who feel harmed by unfair or illegal public administration’s acts or when their fundamental rights are violated. The Ombudsman is elected for four years, with the possibility of being re-elected once for the same period.

The main function of the Ombudsman is the defence and the promotion of the fundamental rights and freedom and the citizens’ legitimate interests, ensuring, through informal means, the justice and the legality of the exercise of public powers. Fully independent and impartial, the Ombudsman is not liable for his recommendations, opinions or repairs that he emits or for others acts that he practices in the performance of his duties.

The Ombudsman is, since 1999, acting as the National Human Rights Institution, accredited with A-status by the United Nations, fully compliant with the Paris Principles. Consequently, his mission is to promote and to defend the fundamental human rights against all forms of aggression, not only against the administrative disrespect. As the National Human Rights Institution, the Ombudsman is attentive, among other issues, to the fulfilment of children’s, elder’s and persons with disabilities’ rights. This State body is a privileged interlocutor with international entities that have a legitimate interest in knowing the human rights situation in Portugal.

Following the ratification by the Portuguese State of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading, the Ombudsman was appointed as the National Preventive Mechanism. The Ombudsman visits reclusion places (such as prisons facilities or psychiatry hospitals), analysing the conditions of the places visited, especially if they do not offend the dignity of persons and, if they do it, he could do recommendations to repair the outrageous situation.

Finally, and by virtue of his office, the Ombudsman is member of the Council of State.

Head of institution

Maria Lúcia Amaral



Rua Pau de Bandeira, 9 1249-088 LISBOA

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Year of accreditation


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Regional offices



  • Ombuds
  • National Preventive Mechanism under OPCAT Art. 3 (NPM)

Core functions

  • Monitoring
  • Publishing research, recommendations and opinions
  • Reporting to international and regional human rights mechanisms
  • Complaints mechanism
  • Advising government, parliament and other public bodies
  • Supporting the work of human rights defenders
  • Cooperation with civil society organisations
  • Human rights education and training
  • Awareness raising activities