An important function of the Ombudsman is to receive and investigate complaints against state bodies of human rights violations and good governance violations. This includes public hospitals, schools, local government, police, military and any staff employed by the Timorese Government or state authorities.

When a complaint is received the Ombudsman responds to the complainant and carries out a preliminary inquiry to decide whether the complaint has sufficient grounds for further investigation and/or mediation. If not, the complaint is closed and no further action is taken.

As a result of Ombudsman investigations and recommendations, there have been a number of positive outcomes including the rights of people in police detention and a range of other areas. Those found to have acted improperly have been subject to criminal and administrative penalties.

As a young institution in a country with a largely rural population, the Ombudsman dedicates significant resources to education and outreach to ensure the community is aware of its role and empowered to make a complaint if needed.

Everybody living in Timor-Leste can make a complaint.


The Ombudsman is prevented by law to act on complaints where:

  • There is no involvement, as an omission or action, from a public authority; i.e. the problem raising the complaint is a problem within private individuals (e.g. land dispute, divorce, etc0
  • The decisions of a court or judicial process
  • To investigate the exercise of legislative functions, like the drafting of laws

This post is also available in: TetunPortuguese (Portugal)