The Ombudsman

Biography of Mr. Lionel Arzu, the Ombudsman of Belize

Mr. Lionel Arzu is the third person to have the privilege of serving as the Ombudsman of Belize since the office’s doors were opened to the public in August 1999.  He was first appointed as Ombudsman in January 1, 2013 by the Governor General of Belize, His Excellency Sir Colville N. Young, acting in accordance with recommendations of both houses of the National Assembly.  

As Ombudsman, Mr. Arzu investigates and has investigated numerous complaints received against governmental or public authorities. When investigating, he exercises powers similar to that of a Judge of the Supreme Court of Belize. However, when he presents his findings and makes recommendations, these are not legally binding. Also, he attends and has attended numerous meetings, seminars and conferences at local, national and international levels on human rights and related topics.  As Ombudsman, Mr. Arzu has signed four bilateral Cooperation agreements with human rights institutions/organizations as well as a government department/agency.  Likewise, in that capacity, Mr. Arzu has been an active member of the Central American Council of Human Rights Defenders and Ombudsmen.  He is proud to have served as the President of the Council. After the expiration of his term, the Presidency was transferred in 2017 to the Defender for the Republic of Panama.

Prior to his appointment as Ombudsman, Mr. Arzu was an English and Business teacher and Head of Business Department at Julian Cho Technical High School, Toledo, Belize. Mr. Arzu was also a member on the Julian Cho Technical High School Board of Governors and Toledo Community College Board of Governors. And he was an Adjunct Lecturer (Intro. to Economics and International Business), University of Belize, Toledo Campus. The Ombudsman spent more than ten years working as an Agricultural Extension Officer in the Toledo, Belize and Stann Creek Districts for the Ministry of Agriculture and the Citrus Growers Association, respectively.

Mr. Arzu earned a Bachelor of Science in Management and Computer Science (Summa Cum Laude) from Knoxville College, Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.A and a Master of Science in International Commerce and Policy, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana, U.S.A. The Ombudsman is a proud graduate of the Belize College of Agriculture, Central Farm, Cayo District and Toledo Community College, Punta Gorda Town, Toledo District.


Biography of Mr. Lionel Arzu, MSc.

Ombudsman of Belize

Office of the Ombudsman of Belize

June 20, 2018