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Access to Information: An enabling and fundamental human right

Updates

APAI Statement on the Occasion of the International Day for Universal Access to Information

Avatar of MISA MISA 28. September 2017 - MISA

 

On the occasion of the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI 2017) the African Platform on Access to Information (APAI), a Working Group of leading freedom of information organisations in Africa, would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the fundamental importance of both this Day, and the right it seeks to protect and promote.

The right to access to information at its core is about knowledge, and power, and having the tools available to challenge and monitor power effectively. Having access to information not only allows citizens to know more, it allows them to participate more effectively – and as such it is a strong underpinning to any good democracy. It is also a powerful enabler of other rights. This is why Sustainable Development Goal 16 focuses on access to information and accountability as central to a development agenda, noting that it seeks to:

 “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”.

Campaigns such as APAI have made access to information a central human rights issue on the continent. And these activities are beginning to yield progress, with significant increases in the number of African countries with access to information laws, with around twenty currently having dedicated laws (more recent adopters include countries such as Kenya, Malawi and Tunisia) – many of which have been guided by the best practice contained in the African Union’s Model Law on Access to Information, 2013.

Yet access to information, to be a reality in Africa, cannot rely on laws alone. Implementation and systems, compliant with human rights principles, are incredibly important to making transparency ‘real’. This is why the APAI Campaign is devoted to realising the APAI Declaration – a document which is both an expression of access to information principles, and a guide to the practical application of principles for advancing a person’s right to know. 

To lend your support to access to information on this important day, we would encourage you to show your support by signing the Declaration here.

 

Gabriella Razzano

Chairperson of the APAI Campaign

 

Director of the Open Democracy Advice Centre

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African states with ATI laws

  • Angola (2002)
  • Burkina Faso (2015)
  • Ethiopia (2008)
  • Guinea (2010)
  • Ivory Coast (2013)
  • Kenya (2016)
  • Liberia (2010)
  • Malawi (2017)
  • Mozambique (2015)
  • Niger (2011)
  • Nigeria (2011)
  • Rwanda (2013)
  • Sierra Leone (2013)
  • South Africa (2000)
  • South Sudan (2013)
  • Sudan (2013)
  • Tanzania (2016)
  • Togo (2016)
  • Tunisia (2016)
  • Uganda (2005)
  • Zimbabwe (2002)